The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 1990
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 113 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/German DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, French, German
Starring: Arnold Schrwazenegger, Sharon Stone, Rachel Ticotin, Michael Ironside, Ronny Cox
Directed by: Paul Verhoeven
Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
Written by: Ronald Shusett, Dan O’Bannon, Gary Goldman inspired by the short story “We can remember it for you wholesale” by Philip K. Dick
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 31, 2012
Arnold Schwarzenegger explodes out of the year 2084 A.D. with gut churning, white knuckle, non-stop action, as he smashes his way through a horrifyingly real fantasy world, complete with a gorgeous but deadly wife (Sharon Stone), and into a mind-twisting, nightmarish reality of a Martian mining colony ruled over by a terrorizing dictator (Ronny Cox), who can alter reality to suit his whims. The red planet erupts with rebellious mutants, the fire of an alluring and mysterious woman (Rachel Ticotin) and a vicious and savage enemy.
Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as Doug Quaid, a construction worker haunted by dreams of Mars in the year 2084. Against the wishes of his sexy wife (Sharon Stone), Quaid goes to Rekall, a company that implants artificial memories so he can “remember” visiting the red planet that is now being settled by human inhabitants. However, Quaid soon learns he is actually an amnesiac secret agent from Mars – or is he?
Set to coincide with the 2012 release of the theatrical remake, Total Recall: Mind-Bending Edition comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring an all-new Director approved, high-definition transfer from the original film negative and exclusive bonus materials. I saw Total Recall in the theater back in the day and liked the film’s concept which was based upon a 1966 short story called “We can remember it for you wholesale” by Philip K. Dick.
As a blockbuster action film junkie I cut my teeth on the genre in the early nineties. Arnold was on top of his game and this was among my favorites at the time. I enjoyed not only the sci-fi/action but the thrills/twists associated with plot as you tried to figure out what was reality, what wasn’t and who could be trusted. The effects were impressive and the visceral pace kicks in early and doesn’t let up. I love Rachel Ticotin, the perfect blend of sexy and tenacious. I first saw her in “Fort Apache the Bronx” but she didn’t catch my attention until she played Melina. Sharon Stone was memorable as well but we know this wasn’t the role that made her a star. Michael Ironside can role out of bed and play a credible tough guy, good or bad and Ronny Cox gets the job done as the villainous Cohaagen. I have owned it in its various home video forms over the years and find that it holds up well under repeat viewings.
Total Recall won a Special Achievement Academy Award® for its groundbreaking visual effects, as well as Oscar nominations for Best Sound and Best Sound Editing. I love Jerry Goldsmith’s memorable theme/music score. In addition to the all new video transfer this Total Recall: Mind-Bending Edition is highlighted by an exclusive, never-before-seen interview with director Paul Verhoeven and restoration comparison. It also includes previously released supplemental material that looks behind the scenes at the production.
Total Recall isn’t what I consider to be mindless entertainment (per se). It’s thoughtful, over the top sci-fi action that is just plain ole fun to watch. It’s a movie that I like to revisit it from time to time and this Mind-Bending Edition has made the journey a bit more enjoyable.
The rating is for violence, language and brief sexual content.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Total Recall Mind Bending Edition comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2 Mbps.
This second high definition Blu-ray release of Total Recall sports a brand new video transfer which was minted from the original camera negative and supervised by Director Paul Verhoeven. I own the original Blu-ray release and my overall reaction to this presentation is favorable. Resolution is very good to excellent and didn’t leave me with the impression that that video was definitively lacking in that regard. The level of detail present gives the video’s 1.85:1 framed image good dimension. Images are reasonably sharp with discernible texture that is appreciable during close ups, mid level and most wide angle camera pans. In comparing some scenes here to the 2006 Blu-ray release the differences aren’t subtle. Here I had no trouble making out the thread patterns in clothing/furniture, the texture on surfaces or the physical features on members of the cast. Take the scene where Doug visits Rekall for example. When Bob is summoned into the implant chamber (while Doug is freaking our in the chair) I could clearly see the tweed type pattern in his jacket. During that sequence this was the case regardless of the camera’s perspective. In the 2006 version the pattern is really only discernible during close ups.
The tweaks to the color timing and contrast are obvious although not beneficial in every instance. This film has never boasted vivid levels of chroma and that continues to be the case. While I occasionally thought that red leaned a little too much toward orange my overall opinion is that comparing this version to the 2006 release favors this one as colors are a little richer. Fleshtones are warmer but not unnaturally so.
Contrast is boosted which overdrives whites/lighter areas of the image. It isn’t noticeably problematic other than during one or two scenes like the one during chapter two as Richter and Cohaagen talk near the fish tank in Cohaagen’s office. When the camera pans both of them with the big window in the background their faces are bleached out. That same scene in the 2006 release doesn’t exhibit the same behavior. Brightness is affected as well (meaning blacks are slightly elevated). Looking at the sequence where Doug is at the abandoned cement factory the differences in the black levels between this and the 2006 release are noticeable. The dark/night background areas here are less delineated and appear a bit washed out. The bump in apparent resolution does impart more dimension which depending on your display may make this less of an issue.
The print has been cleaned up although there are some minor flecks/areas of visible wear. I only noticed one instance where noise/artifacts was an issue. During chapter two as Doug sits near the screen wall talking to Lori. To the right above his head there is digital/mosquito noise visible here that isn’t noticeable in the 2006 Blu-ray release. Grain is present and imparts a filmic texture that is consistently rendered over the course of the presentation. If digital noise reduction has been applied its effects aren’t deleterious in my opinion. While this new transfer isn’t perfect its improvement outweighs its shortcomings and gives fans the opportunity to see Total Recall in a complimentary new light.
** The restoration comparison included as a bonus feature provides little perspective in my opinion. It begins with a washed out and nearly colorless image that is then comparatively transformed with a vertical scrolling line showing the newly transformed image.**
The lossless DTS-HD MA encoding makes the most of the soundtrack’s recording. The film’s active elements don’t have the feeling of authority and quantifiable dynamics that you find with today’s digital soundtracks but that is to be expected. The surround mix imparts a fair level of extension however the majority of the time the presentation retains a front oriented perspective. Low frequency effects are palpable but don’t consistently deliver tight bass response that engages the room or senses. Dialogue is crisp and effectively prioritized within the front soundstage. Comparing this to the DTS-HD High Resolution sound on the 2006 release I detected little difference. The end result is a faithful audio presentation that coincides with the film’s soundtrack and sounds fine.
- Audio commentary with Arnold Schwarznegger and Paul Verhoeven
- (HD) Exclusive: Interview with director Paul Verhoeven – 34 minutes
- (HD) Exclusive: Restoration comparison – A look at the high definition transfer from original film negative – 5 minutes
- (HD) Models and skeletons: The special effects of Total Recall – 23 minute featurette
- Imagining Total Recall – 31 minute behind the scenes documentary
- Making of featurette – 8 minutes
- Photo gallery
- Theatrical trailer
Here is an exclusive video clip featuring director Paul Verhoeven:
Set to coincide with the 2012 release of the theatrical remake, Total Recall: Mind-Bending Edition comes to Blu-ray Disc featuring an all-new Director approved, high-definition transfer from the original film negative and exclusive bonus materials. I am happy to report that this release is a solid effort that features improved high definition video quality and several exclusive features that provide further insights into the making of the film. It has found a place in my Blu-ray collection and is well worth the upgrade/purchase for fans. Enjoy!
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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
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Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package