Having seen the Total Recall remake trailer in the theatre and having heard an internet persona that I hold up quite high talk smack about it, I wanted to check out what it was all about. Having seen the original and the remake trailer earlier today, with fresh memory of them I will try my best to reason the existence of the remake. Yes, it’s true that I can’t compare the two as I haven’t seen the remake, but that is not important here as all I will try to do is justify the remake and not do a comparative review.
The original is a great, cheesy Arnie action-flick that is a minor mind-fuck as far as uncertainty of what is really real goes, with cool dialogue and pure R-rated goodness. I cannot deny what a great action movie it is, but it is certainly not serious. And all studios, developers and the media in general have decided that viewers need to have everything completely straight-faced and devoid of fun and cheesy action.
The mindless majority of contemporary consumers would much rather see a reasonable badass tear through squads upon squads of faceless henchmen grunting and huffing, performing minimalistic but nonetheless badass martial art and pulling off headshots left and right rather than a humorous beefcake with an awesome German accent riddling people with bullets and stabbing them with any elongated object lying around to send gallons of blood spraying out.
In the 20 years since the release of the original Total Recall the entertainment preferences of the consumer majority have changed. Most people don’t like mindless fun anymore and they are all about the realism and badassery just because they’ve been spoon-fed that for years by development teams of whichever media outlet. A good analogy for this is 90’s most popular awesome action fuck-yeah shooter vs today’s: Duke Nukem 3D vs Call of Battlefield Medal Whatever. Duke Nukem sold because then the market wanted silly uncensored, ridiculous fun, now it demands realism and grounded plot because the majority of consumers grew up with the uncensored fun and now stupidly consider it childish.
Of course a soulless remake is a kick in the crotch for the fans of the original, but it makes sense for the company to try to cash in on a premise of a movie that would sell well if it was made to fit the mold of today’s consumer demands. The wrapping of the original would cater to a very small percentage of consumers today, but if amended to what the average consumer wants it has the possibility of being a big hit.
Surely some will go home and forget about this movie, but some will also be exposed to the original through the internet or friends and having seen the remake will be more likely to see Arnie’s Total Recall. The increased amount of exposure would mean that more people could see the original and love it for what it is, while they would never have otherwise.
Most remake-bashers will argue that this is unnecessary; the first movie is perfect as it is and yes, that is true. The latter, at least, because as I have said above: no matter how perfect it is for the fans, the dumb majority of population now would not find it as appealing as the cool and gritty counterpart. So while this remake is equivalent to the studio spitting in the face of fans it will also lean in to whisper “I did it for us. For US, buddy.” and wipe it away with its personal handkerchief as the evil overseer leaves.
I am in no way on a high horse, I suppose that I can just view it more objectively as I’m not a long-time fan of the original and therefore have no attachment to it. And so, I would like to wrap it up by saying that instead of stubbornly hating the entirety of the situation one could calm oneself down by reasoning it with change in consumer base and trying to uplift one’s spirit with hope of bigger exposure of the original in the light of the remake.