Movie Review: Total Recall (2012)

The good thing about movie reviews is that you don't need to be an experienced film critic to write them. So without further ado, here is my first ever movie review of Total Recall (2012) that was recently released.

The main question worth answering is: "Did I enjoy myself?" Yes, I did. But looking at some other reviews online, it does help that I could not compare this remake to the original movie.

I actually happened to be at the UK premiere in Leicester Square, London on August 16. It was interesting to see the stage being built and to see the crowds swell as the actors started arriving. To be honest I had to look up who the actors were as most names did not really ring a bell. This fact should not worry you: I often know singers or actors but not by name or work of art that they have produced.

Nonetheless it was nice to see an actual movie premiere: I don't remember having been to one before. Or is it just that I can't recall one - get it?

Futuristic technology

What I liked about the movie was the futuristic environment in which it was set and the concept of a divided planet with two habitable regions. These happen to be in Britain (United British Federation) and Australia (The Colony) and they are connected by The Fall, a huge transport system that allows you to travel through the center of the Earth.

From a technological perspective this does raise some interesting questions. If we were to actually build this device, how would we do it? Not just the financial costs and construction efforts but it seems safety is a major problem? I mean, an elevator automatically locks up if the ropes fail and an underground tunnel has a safety pedestrian tunnel next to it in case of fire or emergency.

But if you get stuck near the center of the Earth you're not going to take the fire escape stairs back to the surface. Given the number of passenger decks it would also require quite a few emergency elevators to bring people back. I happily "suspended my disbelief" in this regard as it was otherwise very well portrayed.

Another thing: at what point should the gravity switch occur before it becomes problematic for the passengers? In case you have not (yet) seen the movie: this is where the passenger seats are turned upside down to make sure you arrive in proper position at your destination. It makes sense to do it at the center of the Earth because that is where you switch from traveling towards the core to traveling away from the core.

But happens if you do it at three-quarters of your journey (i.e., you have traveled beyond the Earth's core and you are about to arrive at your destination)? Would you experience hanging upside down with half the normal gravity? What if we gradually turn the seats starting when we are at the Earth's core and finishing when we are at three-quarters of our journey?

I have to say The Fall was the most interesting aspect of our supposed future environment together with Rekall's technology to implant memories (Inception anyone?). The rest was rather common with flying cars, many levels of construction and visual displays for communication purposes.

Hollywood as usual

The movie is certainly not bad but it does follow the well-known Hollywood approach of "lots of action, little story". For example, the movie leaves the viewer rather clueless about the protagonist's sidekick whose role is never really explained (other than fighting for the same cause).

The movie entertained me until the end which is a good thing (not like the Batteship movie earlier this year where I had to remind myself not to fall asleep). However, this careful phrasing also tells you that the movie did not blow me away.

Contents © 2014 Simeon Visser