Kontraband Know It All
This week: An enlightening trip to them brain butchers at Recall. Come on, do the Kuato, "Open your mind..."
Who originally came up with the idea for Total Recall?
Total Recall is a seminal science fiction film from 1990 starring oak-like actor Arnold Schwarzenegger; oak-like because he is as big as a tree and his acting is as wooden. The film was directed by Paul Verhoeven, who also directed the equally seminal RoboCop and the semen-full Showgirls and was mostly written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett. But like all good Hollywood creations, it wasn't entirely their idea, they ripped off an author. In this case, it was the American writer Philip K. Dick who inspired them, with his short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. The name change was probably a wise marketing move as Total Recall fits movie posters better.
The 1990 film follows Dick's story loosely; it is based on an ordinary man wanting to get his hands on some extraordinary memories. However, the story is less linear than the film and involves an alien invasion, whereas the film follows a typical plot: get the girl, kill the bad guy and save the world (in this case, Mars). Sci-fi fans will be aware that Blade Runner was based on Dick's novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? Other films based on Dick's work include Minority Report, The Adjustment Bureau and A Scanner Darkly. It is unlikely the short story he wrote as a 7 year old, I Like Jelly Babies But Do They Scream When I Bite Off Their Heads, will make it to the big screen.
Was the original Total Recall successful? How much money did it make?
The original Total Recall, featuring the Austrian Oak, Sharon Stone, Rachel Ticotin, Michael Ironside and Ronny "yes I was the bad guy in RoboCop too" Cox was released in 1990, when Schwarzenegger had cemented his position as Hollywood's leading action hero. It was a runaway success, grossing over $261 million worldwide after costing the studio around $60 million to make. For the 2012 remake to have the same level of success it will need to gross over $530 million on its $125 million budget, quite a tall order for a film with 21st Century action hero not quite at the top of his game: Colin Farrell (at least it wasn't Colin Firth).
The original was a hit with audiences and critics alike, although there were many criticisms aimed at the amount of violence in the film and the portrayal of women in general. But the film does contain many iconic moments such as the taxi driver with the nasty mutant arm, the wide variety of ladies of the night on offer on Mars (midget, multi-breasted etc), Arnie's eyes almost popping out as he suffocates and of course who will ever forget the surprising appearance of Kuato, who frankly looked like a mound of belly button fluff that had mutated horribly into Chucky from Child's Play.
What are the main differences between Total Recall 2012 and Total Recall 1990? Is the infamous 3-breasted prostitute going to be back?
It seems that Len Wiseman, who directed Underworld, has extensively re-imagined Total Recall for 2012. He has chosen a less stereotypical stoic male lead with Farrell and the action takes place on Earth, not on Mars like the original film. The main story of a bored man with an incredibly hot wife looking to spice up his life by having memories of another incredibly hot woman is still in place though, as is the struggle between resistance and authorities. The new film is based after a Third World War that somehow results in Britain becoming one of the world's superpowers, albeit renamed as the United Federation of Britain (they must have cloned Margaret Thatcher).
One of the highlights of the original film was the rather sexist but still entertaining appearance of a character called Mary, better known to fans as the triple-breasted prostitute. Such was the impact of this character that Wiseman has brought her back for the remake, but this time she has a tasteful red belt-like top to cover her nipples in case that was offensive. Apparently the actress who plays the three breasted woman in the remake, Kaitlyn Leeb, has been asked by some fans if the prosthetic mammaries are her real cleavage. It might sound a ridiculous question, but as most hardcore Klingon-speaking science fiction film fans have never seen a cleavage in real life it seems like a fair assumption for them to make.
Who would win a 4-way catfight between the Total Recall ladies: Sharon Stone, Rachel Ticotin, Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel?
Total Recall (more so the 1990 version) provides nourishment for our baser urges: ridiculous gore and violence, monsters and spaceships and sexy actresses pulling each other's hair. The original film featured Sharon Stone in her early 30s and looking incredible fighting "Melina", played by the sultry Rachel Ticotin (who was also in Con Air). The remake has British hotty Kate Beckinsale laying down the law on Jessica Biel's perfectly formed behind.
In a 4-way catfight with all the actresses in their fighting prime, Stone would come out on top. Ticotin is tough, but she doesn't fight dirty. Biel may have one of the most fabulous figures in the film world at the moment, but just like Ticotin she wouldn't have that burning desire to win the fight and will end up stuck in rom com purgatory alongside Jennifer Aniston sooner or later. Beckinsale would be Stone's greatest opponent, but even though she looks amazing killing werewolves whilst wearing a sublimely tight catsuit it is Stone that emerges the victor, distracting Beckinsale by telling her she was just awful in Van Helsing before delivering an uppercut to her challenger's exquisite chin. Sharon Stone was always going to win, after all this is a woman who was in Police Academy 4, Action Jackson, Catwoman and Basic Instinct 2... and still keeps getting work!
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