Total Recall: My Opinion on the Remake vs. Original

Total Recall is about a man living a mundane blue-collar everyday existence who dreams of something more….Literally.  He is awakened in the night by dreams of running away from something dangerous and failing a secret mission with a beautiful accomplice.  But is it just a dream…or a latent memory erased by the evil and manipulative forces of Earth’s corrupt government?

So dramatic, so entertaining! I did break the cardinal rule of movies when I saw the 2012 Total Recall first in cinemas this weekend.  That said, I’m glad I did because, after watching the original I don’t know that I would have been brave enough to see the remake!  Unlike most originals, when compared to the modern day remake, the 1990 version is more graphic, more bloody and just more gross!


There are BIG differences between the original Total Recall and the Colin Farrell-starring remake.  Firstly, Arnold Schwarzenegger ends up going to MARS for his adventure involving saving the colony from the grasp of the govt. leader Cohaagen. I wonder, with all of the incredible technology we have today, why the 2012 filmmakers chose not to go outside the planet?  In the Colin Farrell version, the ‘colony’ is located in Australia (a nod to history repeating itself?) and the ‘baddie UFB govt.’ is in England.  Yes, perhaps Americans still want brits to be the baddies?

The second big difference is the fact that, in the original, the colony is made up of many mutants.  They are quite grotesque and a product of the govt allowing dangerous exposure to Mars’ non-oxegenated atmosphere.  I won’t spoil everything, but the part played by Bill Nighy today is quite disgusting in the original film.  I had to look away a couple times ugh.

It’s not often that I find I like the remake much more, but in this case it was no contest…the original Total Recall has a great ‘cult-film’ feel about it.  It’s not realistic, you’re not transported but you have a somewhat surreally funny and wild ass-kicking time with Arnie.  The 2012 Total Recall is much more slick.  There were quite a few nods to the Matrix I noticed including (use of subway systems, characters with long blond dreadlocks, the outfits, and Bill Nighy playing a Morpheus-like character wanting Colin’s character to ‘find his own destiny inside himself’.  Love it.

All in all, Total Recall is a fun ride about destiny, protecting the innocent and learning who you can really trust when avoiding being killed on a moving floating-elevator grid.  Well worth it for action-movie fans!

Ruby x

PS:  I think the best part of both movies is Sharon Stone (1990) and Kate Beckinsale (2012)…they kick serious butt.