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Byron Brewer

Wayback Machine: Total Recall (1990)


With the Wayback Machine, M.E. Byron Brewer takes us "way back" with a look at various television series and their respective characters from years past.


1192 As Columbia Pictures prepares to release a Total Recall reboot August 3, 2012, directed by Len Wiseman and starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, let’s take a ride back in my Wayback Machine to 1990 and another film by that name.

And do not worry. We’ll be back! (lol)

Of course, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall was a 1990 sci-fi film which revolved around a construction worker, Doug Quaid (Das Governator) who is either a victim of a failed memory replication operation OR a relocated Martian freedom fighter, we really do not know which. (Now you see some of the difficulties of the film.)

Anyhoo, Arnold tries to restore law and order by overturning the villainous influence of commercial Powers-That-Be, all the while faced with the likelihood that not a single one of these events are real and pursuing them just could 86 his grey matter.

And they are doing a remake of THIS?


Oddly enough, although I abhorred the film, Total Recall was No.1 at the box office. The movie grossed $261,299,840 worldwide, a box office success. Critical reaction has been mostly -- positive? It currently holds an 81 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 42 reviews. Metacritic reported, based on 17 reviews, an average rating of 57 out of 100.

Even more unbelievably, the great and respected Chicago critic Roger Ebert awarded the film three and a half stars (out of four), calling it “one of the most complex and visually interesting science fiction movies in a long time.” He musta been watching a Disney short and got mixed up.

It may not be generally known, but due to the success of the film a sequel in fact was written with the script title Total Recall 2, and with Schwarzenegger’s character still Quaid, now working as a reformed cop. The sequel was based on another Philip K. Dick short story, The Minority Report, which theorizes about a future where a crime can be solved before it is committed. (Person of Interest anyone?)

The sequel was not filed, but the script did survive and was changed drastically into the sci-fi thriller Minority Report by Steven Spielberg. It opened in 2002 to box office success and critical acclaim.

Now that one I understood!