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With its lifeless tone, the new Total Recall is the Hollywood prototype of how bad a remake can be. One month after the release of Len Wiseman’s Total Recall, actor Colin Farrell, who played the lead Douglas Quaid and his alter ego Carl Hauser, is coming to terms with the film’s critical and commercial disappointment.
In an interview with the Huffington Post to promote his new film, Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths, the Irish actor spoke candidly about the wasted potential of all the people who worked on Total Recall and his lack of connection with the movie itself. Farrell admitted:
“But it’s really disappointing when a bunch of people — 150 or 200 people — work on something for six months and it doesn’t find the audience that it’s designed to find. But I think, personally, I identify less with the results of films than I used to, which is a good thing.” Farrell continued, “So it’s just a case of dilution — because I still do, a little bit, as an actor. But not a lot. I didn’t read the reviews for “Total Recall” — and not reading them was a huge thing. And it didn’t take much effort. I just didn’t end up reading them, which means I didn’t need to, which means I don’t identify with it that much. But it was disappointing that it didn’t work out.”
When it comes down to it, it was probably smart for Farrell not to read the middling reviews of Total Recall. The film was lifeless with no pulse or personality. It didn’t want to do the “heavy lifting” of actually making a clever movie, but it pretended to be “smart” by merely pointing out what made the original 1990 film successful and referenced that. The movie made far too many shortcuts this way. It was too safe.
Many hope the fate of the new Total Recall wouldn’t fall on other popular rebooted or remade sci-fi franchises including Dredd, RoboCop, and (Teenage Mutant) Ninja Turtles but it’s really up to audiences to tell Hollywood that we’re not going to pay for mediocre movies. So far this year, the people have spoken by not seeing movies like Total Recall and the ho-hum Battleship and would rather pay to watch quality movies like The Avengers and Prometheus.