The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13/Unrated
Feature running time: 118 minutes/130 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring:Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Music by: Harry Gregson-Williams
Written by: Kurt Wimmer and Mark Bomback
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 18, 2012
Prepare for non-stop excitement and pulse-pounding thrills in this “smart, sexy and action-packed” (Scott Mantz, Access Hollywood) action thriller. Colin Farrell stars as Douglas Quaid, a factory worker who visits Rekall, a revolutionary company that can turn his superspy fantasies into real memories. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, the line between fantasy and reality blurs as Quaid becomes a man on the run and the fate of his world hangs in the balance.
Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he's got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life - real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police – controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world – Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate.
Total Recall is inspired anew by the short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. I am a fan of the original 1990 film and really looked forward to seeing what this re-imagining had in store. I was hoping that there would be enough of a deviation from the original so as not to feel like a rehashing and I happy to report that is the case. Being based on the short story there are going to be more similarities than not involving the plot however the script omits and adds elements that establish a satisfying variance. The question is does it pay off?
The answer in my opinion is that it does. The story takes place at the end of 21st Century, after World War 3 devastates the Earth, with the remaining habitable territory divided into two, the United Federation of Britain (UFB) and the Colony (Australia). A Resistance that operates in the UFB seeks to improve life in the Colony and at every turn has been a thorn in the side of UFB Chancellor Cohaagen who has targeted their leader Matthias. The narrative’s foundation is similar, revolving around protagonist Doug Quaid, his life suddenly thrown in to turmoil when he visits Rekall and inadvertently disrupts the memory wipe/cap placed on him leaving him unsure of his past and on the run. In this case he is running from the law, more specifically a Federal Agent that was posing as his wife. She was put in place undercover by Chancellor Cohaagen after Doug’s memory wipe. After the incident at Rekall she and pretty much every law enforcement member at her disposal is searching for Doug with orders to bring him in alive.
From there the plot continues with Doug meeting up with Melina, a member of the resistance whom he recognizes from a recurring dream. He learns the part he played in the goings on prior to his memory wipe which included their love affair. The last piece of the puzzle is that Doug finds out that hidden in his subconscious is the key to what the resistance needs to thwart Chancellor Cohaagen’s plans. The question is, is Dough Quaid the solution or the problem?
There are a few things worthy of note when comparing this to the original film. The plot points involving Mars and mutants have been changed and the characters of Richter and Lori have been rolled into one. I didn’t have a problem with either and thought that is worked well. I watched the extended director’s cut which adds roughly twelve minutes to the theatrical cut’s runtime. The primary focus/elements involving Doug and his ties to both Cohaagen and the resistance work well enough. I think that the script is a bit too broad which opens unnecessary plot holes that are left dangling. Luckily none are integral to where things eventually end although there is one in particular that left me questioning why it was put in to begin with.
Regardless there is action galore and the first rate production elements are underscored by slick execution and well placed cast selection in Kate Beckinsale, Colin Farrell and Jessica Biel (in that order). Is this as good as the original film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rachel Ticotin, Ronny Cox and Michael Ironside? No, but it’s a satisfying rush of adrenaline for action fans that enjoy the concept and appreciate good old fashioned popcorn entertainment.
The rating is for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language.
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 comes to Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 1.7 Mbps.
This film’s visual style doesn’t lend itself to eye catching color or infinite levels of dimension but this is a creative decision that doesn’t reflect negatively on its presentation. The bitrate above is indicative of the fact that both versions of the film share disc one but that isn’t a problem as resolution is excellent with clearly rendered images that exhibit refined levels of detail during close ups and discernible depth of field in wide angle shots. The filtered chromatic range is purposefully limited to muted primary colors and softer secondary hues. That coupled with the drab lighting schemes and dark cinematography makes for a visually pallid but thematically affecting look. Skin tones among the cast vary and range from Rosy to pale while appearing textural and predominantly lifelike. Blacks are deep and dynamic and shadow detail is excellent. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts in this whistle clean high definition presentation that looks spectacular.
This is the first Dolby TrueHD soundtrack I have seen on a new release Sony Blu-ray in a number of years and it’s all that I hoped it would be. This 5.1 channel surround mix i demonstration quality and sure to please those who like to play their systems loud. The recording has wide dynamic range and boasts superlative clarity and high level detail that is noteworthy. Dialogue is definitive and appreciably lucid through the center channel as it reaches far into the room. It’s located just slightly in front of the left/right speakers within the acoustic space it occupies in the soundfield. I never had any trouble distinguishing even the slightest changes in the pitch or inflection of voices. Front channel separation and imaging is excellent. This drew out both large and small sound elements and allowed their directional correlation based upon the onscreen events to be definable. The soundtrack makes effective and often aggressive use of the surround channels to elongate the front soundstage to reproduce the spatial and discrete sounds in the recording. At times the listening position is submerged in a 360 degree web of sound that bombards the senses with a combination of well placed sound effects and musical ambience. Low frequency effects are applied authoritatively and effectively underscore the bombastic and dramatic aspects of the audio. This mix delivers bass response that can be room shaking as it extends down to lower frequencies that approach skin tingling regions. This is an active sound design that is loaded with various sound effects, spatial cues, music, and dialogue. Each is represented with enriching clarity, detail and appropriate sound field placement. The end result is a reference quality audio presentation that truly enhanced the enjoyment of this film. Crank this one up, sit back and enjoy the ride. Just don’t blame me if your neighbor three houses down complains!
EDIT: **It should be noted that numerous reports have sprung up from consumers that have experienced varying degrees of audio dropouts when bitstreaming the lossless audio over HDMI. During my evaluation of the extended director's cut I noted a single non-repeatable audio dropout. There are many users that have reported no issues with playback. At this point there has been no acknowledgement from the studio, player manufacturers etc. In the meantime the work around would be to set the player to output the audio using the LPCM (PCM) setting which would internally decode the lossless audio.**
- Extended Director’s Cut – Total Recall
- Theatrical Cut – Total Recall
- Audio commentary with director Len Wiseman (Extended Director’s Cut
- Total Recall Insight Mode (Theatrical Cut) – Interactive scene specific look behind the curtain at the production
Disc 2: Bonus Features:
- (HD) Gag reel – 8 minutes
- (HD) Science Fiction vs. Science Fact – 9 minute featurette
- (HD) Designing The Fall – 3 minute production featurette
- (HD) Total Action (7 segments totaling 18 minutes)):
- Colin Farrell
- The trapping den
- Destroying Rekall
- Kate Beckinsale
- Lobby escape
- Jessica Biel
- Quaid vs. Cohaagen
- Colin Farrell
- (HD) Stepping in Recall – 5 Previsualization Sequence
- Interactive Movie Touch iPad App
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
Total Recall is inspired anew in this re-imagining based on the short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. While it doesn’t quite live up to the 1990 film this makes for a satisfying rush of adrenaline for action fans that enjoy the concept and appreciate good old fashioned popcorn entertainment. It explodes onto Blu-ray in this superb offering from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment that features reference quality audio/video and a strong supplement set that includes Blu-ray exclusive content and both versions of the film. If you’re a fan of the genre this one belongs in your collection.
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Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 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)
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