The word is still out whether fans will love or hate the rebooted film Total Recall. So far, even the movie critics can’t totally agree.
What made the original film so intriguing and fun could be summed up in three things. The first was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s campy take on the film’s hero. The second was watching Sharon Stone kick some serious booty. The third was the film’s special effects and production design.
Schwarzenegger was at the top of his game in the 1990 version. He’d honed his acting skills enough to play it as believable without losing any of his innate charm and sense of humor.
This time around Colin Farrell takes over the lead role and apparently plays it more for dramatic impact. Film.com calls him “likeable” but Allison Willmore of Movieline says the movie is “humorless”. In other words, both the film and Farrell lack the fun factor brought to the original movie by Schwarzenegger.
Prior to Recall, Stone primarily played simpering heroines who depended upon a man to get out of trouble. The actress offered a real revelation with her rather athletic and savage turn as Douglas Quaid’s pretend wife, Lori.
As for Kate Beckinsale’s interpretation of Lori, the reviews are okay so far. Jordan Hoffman (Film.com) calls her a “hoot”. That seems to show she may have captured some of Stone’s original magic while adding in a bit of her own.
Biel, as Melina, may not play as strongly. Hoffman calls her less than a master at her craft, but admits she knows how to bat her lashes with the best of them.
When it comes to special effects and production design, they are garnering mixed reviews as well. Variety’s Justin Chang admits there are crazy new gadgets and that the production design change is good. However, while he thinks the picture is “slicker” than the original film, he’s quick to point out it isn’t nearly as “sleek”.
The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Philips seems to agree. He didn’t think there was anything particularly original about the reboot. He did, however, note that the movie manages to move at a fast pace.
Acclaimed film critic, Roger Ebert, has a completely different take. He said, The ingenuity of the plot, inspired by a Philip K. Dick story, is handled well…”. He went on to add that, “Total Recall is well-crafted,” and had “high energy”. He admitted, however, that the new version didn’t touch him the same way the original film did. But he also said the emotion wasn’t necessary.
HitFix’s Drew McWeeny liked what he saw, noting “the movie is a reaction to the original film as much as it’s a remake, and because of that, I think it manages to carve out its own identity.”
If the fans are as divided as the critics, the movie’s box office numbers could prove disappointing. Luckily, they’ll get a quick answer when the movie premieres today.