REMAKES, REDOES, AND REDON’TS
Let’s call the “Total Recall” remake exactly what it is: a disaster. Maybe not up there with “John Carter”, but after taking a beating from “The Dark Knight Rises” and facing the fourth “Bourne” movie in a couple of weeks, chances of the movie turning a profit are looking pretty slim. On top of that, the reviews and general consensus of moviegoers have been middling at best, with more than a few negative responses.
Why is “Total Recall” failing? Just a few months ago, audience interest was incredibly high after the release of the first trailer. Where did the movie go wrong? A general agreement seems to be that the remake was unnecessary, as it added nothing to the popular original film and was reduced to long action scenes and uninteresting, unexplored characters.
While so many people wonder what merit there is to remaking “Total Recall”, many others are also wondering why the film ultimately ended up being a PG-13 pic. There are obviously studio executives hoping to appeal to a wider age range that makes the film an eligible option for a family movie night, but beyond that, there is an essence to an R-rated film that is lost when measures are taken to make it “more appropriate”.
One of the most iconic film images from the 90’s was the bizarre and intriguing “Tri-Boob” assuring Arnold Schwarzenegger “He would wish he had three hands” as she pulled back her top revealing a third breast delicately snuggled between the other two (yes, we know it was paper mache!). Original reports indicated that the breasts would be covered and not fully seen in the remake, which would make many an audience member question, “Why even have this character in the film?” Although ultimately this proved not to be the case, it challenges the integrity of the remake that the original content is not (potentially) honored.
This is a subject matter that goes beyond nudity. It’s a matter of asking the question, “If you’re going to make a remake, why not (re)make it right?” If a studio is concerned that an R-rated film (in this case a remake) will not gross as much at the box office, and take the appropriate measures to make it PG-13, they must also consider that the fans of the original may not want to see a film tailored to specific requirements. Instead of “Total Recall” they are getting “Diet Total Recall”.
When Dennis Illiadis remade Wes Craven’s “Last House On The Left” in 2009, he very much set out to make a hard-R film, and while the finished product was no masterpiece, credit must be given for paying homage to the original by not cutting corners in the age-appropriate department.
As is this case with many remakes, there will always be those who question whether “Total Recall” needed to be remade, and in our opinion, it probably did not. We have yet to see the film and thus our opinions should be taken with a grain of salt, but at the end of the day, we here at Tracking Board are interested in the movie that ultimately doesn’t sacrifice integrity for financial gain.