Total Recall (2012) DVD Review

Today, we cannot escape from endless movie remakes of what only seems to be barely old. Total Recall falls under that category. It tries to convey a new face for this 1966 novel adaptation and separate itself from its 1990 Schwarzenegger’s unforgettable heavy sci-fi take, but just doesn’t seem to work all that well.

In a future where a company called Rekall can turn your dreams into real memories, Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) finds himself fascinated by the idea and decides that, with the frustrations of his life whom he shares with his beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale), this mind-alternation is what he considers like the perfect escape.

Along the lines, the procedure goes wrong and finds himself chased by the police, who is under Chancellor Cohaagen’s (Bryan Cranston) control, and becomes a wanted man. Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to escape from the vicious leader of the free world. He now finds himself torn in what he thinks to be real and fantasy, and what his true identity is.

Sounds pretty close to what we’ve seen in the original, although a lot of the strings to Mars and dream sequences are almost non-existent and it takes most of the pulp out of the story. There is no mention of Mars and even though it could’ve been understanding if the point of the movie was maybe to keep the action grounded to earth while playing with reality and fantasy in a heavier way instead. That is hardly the case here, so when the character seems to struggle in rationalizing what would be true or a falsification of reality to him, your only reaction would be to roll your eyes and yell at the TV.


Taking so many small elements out of the original story left it so thin that it became one of those interchangeable action movies with a sci-fi background. The actors are there, but they merely make a real difference in the storytelling process. We all know they only wanted pretty faces kicking each other’s asses while posing to be the main premise of the movie. To be fair though, Farrell is a little more believable in these settings than Schwarzenegger was due to his stature and the physical demographic he fits in.

The special effects and visuals in it are not bad at all, considering that was probably their sole salvation to attract people. But pretty lights and clean-looking robots are not enough to make this a good sci-fi flick in the end.

The Theatrical Edition of the DVD offers the feature in 2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, which is standard for any DVD nowadays, and offers the original English audio track in 5.1 Dolby Digital as well as the French version, dubbed in Quebec.

Unfortunately the DVD doesn’t hold up on special feature content. You will find a version of the movie with “Insight Watch”, which gives you the option of screening the movie with behind-the-scenes insights mostly hosted by Director Len Wiseman. Honestly, not a bad thing to watch , since you will find some interesting facts behind the making of the movie and movie buffs usually enjoy a second watch of the movie with such an option.
Then, you can find your typical Gag Reel, nothing impressive though really, a short featurette “Designing the Fall”, which gives you a neat little look on how the creation of some settings and some concept art were born. At last, a featurette called “Science Fiction vs. Science Fact”, which I honestly would’ve preferred to see much more of. It is an interesting look at what science can truly offer today compared to what we think is unachievable and only exists in movies. A neat little addition, but too short.

I don’t think Total Recall with strike a chord with everybody, but I’m sure it will speak to a big demographic: teenagers, and action-movie-lovers. It doesn’t resonate as much as a movie with such deep and interesting concepts can be, but it can be watchable if you’re running out of ideas for your movie night.But honestly, why remake this movie at all? I has been a while since the original, but people are still very aware of its existence,and special effects were bad-ass considering its time and so the reason behind remaking it hasn’t been clear to me.

Studio: Sony
DVD/Bluray Release Date: December 18, 2012
Run Time: 118 minutes
The Rating:
5 – The Movie

8 –  The Video

7.5 – The Audio

6 – The Extras


Thanks to Sony Canada to have provided the DVD for review purposes.
Review by Emi Bonaffini

2 Responses to “Total Recall (2012) DVD Review”
  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review. This one may have been fairly predictable in spots but at least it kept me glued to the screen with it’s fun, sci-fi look and action. Also, Beckinsale seemed like she was having a ball with this role and it’s probably the best I have seen from her so far.

    • I could agree with that. Although I really think they went too easy on the premise of the movie and gave it too much awe to look at instead. You’re right about Beckinsale, no doubt!

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