Look, it’s not like I expected Total Recall to be good. The 1990 original isn’t really good, but at least it’s fun in that way that bad movies can be. So while I didn’t expect the remake of Total Recall to be good, per se, I was looking for it to be fun and enjoyable anyway. But no, it was awful. And you know what was really annoying? All the lens flare. There was way too much of it and often, it actually interfered with the ability to see what was happening in the scene. That’s just sh*tty filmmaking. Director Len Wiseman (Kate Beckinsale’s husband and employer) is not a great director, but he’s always been technically proficient. He’s not someone I associate with excessive amounts of lens flare (unlike Michael Bay and J.J. Abrams, kings of the flare). But this movie was lousy with the stuff. And also, just plain lousy.
Something worth talking about: the hotness of Colin Farrell. He’s very, very hot. Looks healthy and really great. It’s just too bad this movie did not take advantage of the huge amount of charm he has at his disposal. I maintain that Farrell is at his best when he’s being mouthy and witty and brash, none of which was one display here. If you’re thinking of seeing Total Recall just for Farrell, might I recommend In Bruges instead? How about Tigerland? Or Ondine? Or anything not Total Recall? Please don’t waste your time and money on this movie. It’s not worth it, even for the Farrell.
Also, we need to address Jessica Biel’s delusions. I recently described her to a friend as a “wall of self-delusion”, and I stand by that. Let’s play “What Biel said, what really happened” with some of her quotes about Total Recall. On her fight scene with Beckinsale, Biel said: “[It] is absolutely not pseudo-sexual whatsoever—it’s completely gender neutral.” What really happened: Two women known for their physical attractiveness dressed in tight clothing and engaged in a fight over a man. Men throughout the audience cheered, taking pleasure in the sight of two beautiful women smacking each other around. Not sexual? Right. (Also I think she meant “psychosexual” because “pseudosexual” refers to specific sex acts, not the mental sublimation of sexuality. Unless she meant to say that the scene wasn’t about the two women getting each other off.)
Here’s another one. Biel said: “This character is really developed.” What really happened: I cannot tell you anything about her character beyond she was not a robot and had a past with Farrell’s character. I don’t remember her name or any significant details beyond those that pertain directly to Farrell’s character. Her character did not exist in a world outside of Farrell’s. IMDB tells me her name was “Melina” and the movie’s press kit says she is a “prostitute/freedom fighter”. Well I definitely didn’t get the prostitute part. That was totally non-existent in the film. It wouldn’t have fixed anything about the overall awfulness of the movie, but at least it would have given the character a trait independent of Farrell (although it still leaves her dependent on sexuality as a defining factor).
A wall of self-delusion, see?
So yeah, Total Recall was awful and I’m kind of angry at myself for sitting through it. Have I spared you from the same fate though?
Attached - Colin Farrell goes to yoga on Friday.