The new TOTAL RECALL is a fun movie. It’s nowhere near as gratuitously gory and twisted as Paul Verhoeven’s great Arnold Schwartzenneger version, but it makes up for that with performances, visuals, and pacing that match and in some cases surpass the original.
This movie has plot holes galore, the graphic concepts and technologies are derivative, and the characters are oddly un-engaging. Still, it moves along at a very fast clip, the story itself is unusual, and some of the action sequences are spectacular.
This is a worthy continuation of the Terminator franchise. There’s enough new stuff here to keep your attention, the action is spectacular, and the characters are sufficiently differentiated to create some dramatic tension despite being frequently out-staged by the savage action sequences.
I grew up with the science fiction of Clarke, Asimov, and Heinlein. At their best they wrestled with humans coming to terms with very large ideas and concepts in stories that spanned years and vast distances. I especially loved depictions of the far future.
This 1927 film contains two of the most spectacular transformational scenes ever committed to film: 1. The giant machine’s transformation into “Moloch” 2. The robot’s transformation into the false Maria
I especially liked the battle sequence at the end with its darkness, its massed robotic antagonists, and the feeling I was seeing some real cartoon malevolence the likes of which I haven’t seen since Oogie Boogie in Nightmare Before Christmas.
At the end of Steamboy the credits roll over a series of detailed pictures that project the main characters of the movie into the future. We see Ray Steam’s inventions unfold even further, and they include flight and airplanes. And we see Scarlett defiantly staring into the camera as well as she shares Ray’s future.
In 1957, Toho Studios released Akira Kurosawa’s epic The Hidden Fortress, a film that George Lucas has stated strongly influenced his creation of the Star Wars saga. I wasn’t paying attention. That was also the year that Toho released Inoshiro Honda’s sci-fi epic The Mysterians.
Mamoru Oshii (Avalon) does it again, this time with a sequel to Ghost in the Shell. Some of the same characters continue. The world of the future is even more detailed and incredible than in the original. There are more philosophical musings about the nature of humanity and technology. Plus, this may be the most incredible piece of animation I have ever seen. But it is not a favorite film of mine, for a couple of reasons.
The house was packed. The movie was terrific. We had a great time. Another Pixar triumph.
So what is so great about this movie? It’s funny, the action is nonstop, the characters are memorable, the animation excellent, the dialog is witty, the satire is clever.