Movie Talk

Exclusive: ‘Total Recall’ trailer shows a big shift from the original version

There's a new "Total Recall" headed to theaters, and while it takes its cues from the 1990 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and directed by Paul Verhoeven, it departs from the original in some big ways.

Most notably, this version is entirely earthbound, while the first spent the majority of the film on the planet Mars. Removing the Martian element not only breaks away from the previous movie, but also the Philip K. Dick short story that inspired it, "We Can Remember It For You Wholesale."

The set-up of the film is still fundamentally the same, though. In the future, Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell, in the role originated by Schwarzenegger) has a seemingly normal life with a loving wife (Kate Beckinsale). But he's compelled to visit Rekall, a service that implants memories of wonderful experiences you never really had. In Quaid's case, though, it unlocks secrets that have been erased from his brain.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Colin Farrell (Photos: Everett Collection/Columbia Pictures)

Quaid discovers that his entire existence is a lie, and the truth of his past as a secret operative has been wiped away. The woman he thought was his wife is actually a spy on a mission to monitor him, and when he gets too close to the truth, she tries to kill Quaid. Through messages he recorded before his memory was erased, Quaid begins to reconstruct who he was and why he is a wanted man.

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It's at that point when the story takes a big shift from the original. Rather than head to Mars to uncover the truth about an uprising of mutants, Quaid stays on Earth. A resistance force is fighting against the oppressive government, and Quaid joins up with one of the rebels (Jessica Biel) to find the leader of the movement.

There looks to be plenty of nods to the original sprinkled in through the movie. The woman Quaid encounters at the beginning of the trailer, for example, tells him, "You're going to wish you had three hands" (if you've seen the original, you know exactly what she's referring to).

However, this new version has plenty to distinguish it. The character of Richter (played by Michael Ironside) has been removed, giving Quaid's "wife" Lori a bigger role as the main pursuer. It makes sense that director Len Wiseman would want to give Kate Beckinsale a more substantial part, since the two have been married for eight years. Also, advances in digital effects give this movie the flying cars, robotic cops, and epic skylines that would not have been possible in the original.

"Total Recall" opens August 3.

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