The differences between Total Recall circa 1990 and Total Recall circa 2012 (starring Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale) are vast. And according to Time magazine, the differences between the two movies tell us a lot about the way that our society has changed in the last 12 years, as well as telling us a lot about how the expectations of the movie-going public have changed.
Contrast, for example, the two men cast in the lead role of Douglas Quaid. Take Arnold Schwarzenegger, with his muscular body of He-Man-like proportions, his monosyllabic delivery, "the go-to guy when you (need) someone uncomplicated who, when faced with a problem, would rather shoot it and sneer over its corpse with a wisecrack than waste time figuring it out." Then take Colin Farrell, the widely-respected actor with a body that screams 'conscientious movie actor,' rather than 'former weightlifting champion,' with his acting school background and his Golden Globe-winning acting career. Compare Sharon Stone, with her late 90s vampish glamour and Kate Beckinsale, with her slightly-more-restrained British sexiness. Just two of many indicators that modern cinema goers expect a little more in the way of intellectual stimulation in their science-fiction action movies.
"Where the original Total Recall was glib to the point of distraction - no surprise, perhaps, coming from Paul Verhoeven," says Graeme MCMillan, for Time magazine, "the new version seems to go almost too far in its desire to suggest some deeper meaning and emotional resonance to the idea of fictionalized memories and nature versus nurture versus implanted personalities." Coming hot on the heels of Prometheus and Inception, it looks as though Total Recall is pandering to our desire for a bit of a cerebral challenge when we settle down with our popcorn.