What’s So New About This? A Side By Side Comparison Of Total Recall 1990 and 2012

By Brent McKnight | 9 years ago

If you’re among the many people who wonder why the hell they needed to remake Total Recall, and are curious what exactly this new version brings to the table, you’re not alone. A new video bouncing around the internet shows some of the more obvious similarities between Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 version and Len Wiseman’s take that hits theaters later this summer.

A certain likeness is going to be unavoidable. You are telling the same story after all. The creator of this compilation, however, does a point, there are some almost shot for shot recreations going on here. Even many of the quips and remarks are word for word the same from movie to movie.

In both versions Doug Quaid—played by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Colin Farrell, respectively—uses a goon as a human shield, employs a fake head to sneak past Martian security, and has a gun-toting prostitute spring to his rescue.

Wiseman’s Total Recall definitely has the slicker production values of the two. The modern special effects, sweeping camera moves, and intricate set design make Verhoeven’s film look flat and cheap by comparison. While that’s not everything, it is certainly worth something. The update is visually darker, moodier, and while I love Ronnie Cox, if someone else has to play Cohaagan, Bryan Cranston is a damn fine choice. But no matter how many vampires she slays, I’ll never buy that Kate Beckinsale is tougher than Sharon Stone, and you’ll never replace Michael Ironside.

Sure there are some similarities, and a remake of Total Recall is definitely unnecessary, but that’s a moot point at this stage. If you can get past that—which isn’t easy by any means—this looks like it could potentially be fun. It isn’t going to be earth shattering, and will most likely lack all of Verhoeven’s wicked satirical sense of humor, but it could entertain you for a few hours if you let it. Then again, maybe it will crush all of our spirits.