WASHINGTON, July 31, 2012 – With no disrespect to the cast and crew of the current cinematic adaptation of science fiction author Philip K. Dick’s story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” when I’m looking for the ultimate film version of the tale, give me ‘Ahnold.’
Specifically, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the pre-governor star of the 1990 blockbuster, “Total Recall,” the tale of Dough Quaid, a man looking for the ultimate virtual vacation before ending up in a real nightmare.
Or did he? The line between reality and virutal is quickly blurred.
Back in the Blu-ray format, fans get to relive Quaid’s truly memorable, and now remastered, adventure in Total Recall: Mind-Bending Edition (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, rated: R, $14.99).
Director Paul Verhoeven took a brilliant but loosely crafted script by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett (who also wrote the “Alien” screenplay) and gave movie fans a hard core dose of a spectacle, speckled with some fun one liners (“consider that a divorce”), an odd alien leader named Kuato, some oxygen sucking horror and a three-breasted woman.
It is not hard to like our hero, Doug Quaid, a c.2084 construction worker with a treacherously gorgeous wife (played by the very young Sharon Stone) and haunted by dreams of Mars.
Looking for some relief from his normal banal existence, Quaid visits Rekall Corporation to order memories of the “vacation of a lifetime” only to get much more than he bargained for.
when he ends up on the Red Planet and saving its human working class from the greedy evils of Vilos Cohaagen. Or does he?
That’s all I am revealing as this movie takes many a twist and turn, never offering what might be real and what might be an implant.
The violence is always bloody and brutal using practical effects and puppets to offer some bizarre moments. It is for sure a foreshadowing of Mr. Verhoeven’s upcoming gore fest “Starship Troopers.”
Viewers will ultimately need to decide whether Quaid is experiencing a pricy vacation memory package or really fighting for his life.
Either way, “Total Recall” is a popcorn munching and mind bending event for older sci-fi movie fans.
Extras worth a look: First, a new, 35-minute interview with our director Paul Verhoeven who offers fond memories of the film. He starts with the eyebrow raising epiphany that he accepted a project that already had gone through 42 versions of a script that never solved the last act.
Of course, the problem was fixed.
He also talks about his favorite scene of the film in which Dr. Edgemar (an extended casting decision that took weeks to find actor Roy Brocksmith) visits Quaid in his Mars’ hotel room to convince him he is not a secret agent.
On the lighter side, Mr. Verhoeven describes shooting in Mexico and a serious outbreak of Montezuma’s Revenge on the cast and crew.
Overall, it’s fun to watch the older director as he touches on casting, building vehicles, sound effects, make-up designs, practical effects and his relationship with Arnold during the shoot.
Viewers also get five minutes worth of examples comparing the final negative version of the film next to the remastered and Mr. Verhoeven approved restoration of the film.
Additionally, the disc also includes extras recycled from previous releases including an optional commentary track with Mr. Schwarzenegger and Mr. Verhoeven and the must-see, 30-minute documentary “Imagining Total Recall.”
Blu-ray revolution: The latest remastered version of the film looks better than ever with rich colors, and a clarity worthy of the widest screen in home entertainment centers.
However, I would not call this release mind bending when considering its lack of extras and innovation to the format. For an example of mind-blowing extras, I’ll reference Lionsgate’s 2009 Blu-ray title Terminator 2: Skynet Edition ($14.99) for its load of onscreen interactives (trivia challenge, mini-games and pop up visual commentary to name a few).
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