Thursday, August 2, 2012

Blu-Ray Review: "Total Recall: Mind-Bending Edition" by Ben Foutch

Release: 1990
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Writers: Philip K. Dick (short story) Ronald Shusett, Dan O'Bannon, Jon Povill, Gary Goldman
Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Rachel Ticotin, Marshall Bell, Ronny Cox and Dean Norris
Rated: R
Run Time: 113

So, in preparation for the release of the re-imagining of Total Recall with Colin Farell, I decided to purchase this new release of the original classic on Blu-ray. If you haven't seen this before, look forward to an epic Schwarzenegger and Verhoeven team up. Lets hope the remake can live up to the legacy, or at least make the fight scene between Quaid and Lori better choreographed...

Inside you can find a review of the original film and my thoughts on the Total Recall: Mind-Bending Edition Blu-Ray.
 

Film:

Total Recall is considered a classic entry into the sci-fi/action genre. If you haven't heard of it by now, get with the program. The special effects and set designs, which are the highlight of the film, become characters in their own right, elevating the screenplay from the standard run and shoot formula. Now, I haven't read the short story that this is based on ("We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" by Phillip K. Dick), but I don't believe for a second that it was intended to be portrayed as a gory, violent, action romp.

However, like Verhoeven's other classics, it is a smart film wrapped in a campy package. It's actually an intriguing concept, not knowing who you really are, who you can trust and being scrutinized around every corner; having your sense of reality and perception completely askew. What exactly is reality? In that respect, I think Paul Verhoeven kept the integrity of the source. He just made it for the time period, as a violent summer blockbuster. The graphic quality of the bullet wounds, broken body parts and glass diving is so exploitatively blatant, that you just can't help but laugh.

What makes this film so memorable, aside from the brilliant art direction, is that we are going through this journey with Quaid (Schwarzenegger) from his beginnings as a construction worker to the underbelly of corporate corruption and ethically questionable technology. Does it really matter if it was all "real", or is the memory of the events solid enough to be considered true. There is enough evidence and plot holes on both sides to believe either scenario. But, like most challenging, intelligent material, the outcome is sometimes irrelevant.

In some aspects, Total Recall can be considered dated by today's standards as it is certainly cheesy. I still think that it shows more ambition, imagination, innovation and intelligence than a lot current blockbusters. It's also just plain fun, in an over the top, goofy sort of way. Kuato lives!


Video (10/10)


Wow. This film looks great. Sporting an AVC encoded 1080p transer in a 1.85:1 ratio, this bad boy was restored from original camera negatives and approved by Paul Verhoeven himself. There is even a restoration comparison on this disc that shows the difference. Noticeable detail, color saturation and deeper blacks will give you the best visual experience this film has ever given.

Audio (10/10)

The audio is presented in a DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 mix, which is completely immersive when cranked. Jerry Goldsmith's killer score is well preserved, highlighting the various gun shots and bone cracking Arnie dishes out during his adventure.

Extras: (10/10)

Plethora of informative and interesting looks into the production. Most of these have been ported over from previous releases, but I believe that the "Models and Skeletons" segment is a new edition that is definitely worth checking out (shows early motion capture technology for the x-ray scene).
  • Audio Commentary: Arnold Schwarzemegger amd Director Paul Verhoeven 
  • Interview: Director Paul Verhoeven  
  • Making-of Featurette  
  • "Models and Skeletons: The Special Effects of Total Recall"  
  • "Imagining Total Recall" Documentary  
  • Restoration Comparison  
  • Trailer  
  • Photo Gallery
Final Thoughts:

This should be a staple for sci-fi and action aficionados, and especially for Schwarzenegger fans. This is the best representation of this film that I've ever witnessed and will probably be my definitive purchase for this film. It doesn't get much better than this people.