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Total Recall movie reviews: leave a classic alone

I had low expectations for the remake of"Total Recall,"one of my favorite movies. And it appears that they have been met.

The movies are based on the great Philip K. Dick's 1966 short story "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale." Dick was asci-fi master, and his works have been adpated for many other movies, including "Minority Report," "King of the Elves" and"The Adjustment Bureau."

The original, 1990 "Total Recall," which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone, dealt with the blurred line between memory and reality as the hero confronted an improbable plot. For my money, it's atop the Schwarzenegger oeuvre with "True Lies." I guess it was irresistable to try as a remake, with bigger, flashier special effects. But the early reviews are disheartening, and make me reluctant to shell out more money, as opposed to just watching the original again or reading some more Dick short stories. Here are some sample movie reviews:

-- Tribune newspapers: "Total Recall" may depend on memory implants and ominous surveillance techniques to imperil our hero, played by Colin Farrell, but that stuff gets chucked out the window ... for the film's most gratifying stretch, an expansion of the hover car chase in "Minority Report."

-- Roger Ebert: The two biggest differences between this new "Total Recall" and the 1990 original are that no scenes are set on Mars, and it stars Colin Farrell instead of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Mars we can do without, I suppose, although I loved the special effects creating the human outpost there. ... But Schwarzenegger, now, is another matter. ...  "Total Recall" is well-crafted, high energy sci-fi. Like all stories inspired by Philip K. Dick, it deals with intriguing ideas. It never touched me emotionally, though, the way the 1990 film did, and strictly speaking, isn't necessary.

-- McClatchy-Tribune News Service: despite all the effects, the action and the showcase performance created for his wife, Kate Beckinsale, director Len Wiseman never lets us forget that he's no Paul Verhoeven, director of the original film. He doesn't have [Paul] Verhoeven's limited inventiveness or his kinky and wicked wit.


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