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Total Recall (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 243
Thread Starter 
700
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
94





Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13/Unrated
Feature running time: 118 minutes/130 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi/Action

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


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







"What is real?"


Film Synopsis:

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.

My Take:

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.


Parental Guide:

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.**


Audio: 96

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 92

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692


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.**

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1:


  • 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)):
    1. Colin Farrell
    2. The trapping den
    3. Destroying Rekall
    4. Kate Beckinsale
    5. Lobby escape
    6. Jessica Biel
    7. Quaid vs. Cohaagen
  • (HD) Stepping in Recall – 5 Previsualization Sequence

  • Interactive Movie Touch iPad App

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy
700



Final Thoughts:

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.





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


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-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)
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)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 243
Can't wait to pick this up.
post #3 of 243
Missed it in the theater. Unsure if it would be any good. But your review has conviced me. This will be a buy for me.
post #4 of 243
I'm a big fan of the original version with Arnold. I'll rent this one from Netflix and then decide if I should buy it.

Cal68
post #5 of 243
Thanks Ralph will be definitely viewing this if its good it will make my collection.
post #6 of 243
It's a great Blu-Ray and the extended cut is much more involving than the theatrical release. More charachter interaction that gives good actors more to do and makes the movie more than just chase after chase. I'd like to know how to get ahold of AVS encoding, becayse there was a lot of visual quality in the 17mbs transfer. Thanks again Ralph, "Total Recall" is a real treat in the director's cut.
post #7 of 243

I didn't get to see this in cinemas.

I wasn't to sure about it, but after this review i'm going to blind buy it.

 

:D

post #8 of 243
Will most likely rent it.
post #9 of 243
Agree with Ralph on all points! Being a fan of the Schwarzenegger version (and a lover of all things Verhoeven) I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed this. My only quibble is that I wish they'd have found a better lead than Farrell for this, as an actor with a broader range of emotion could have made this thing a slam dunk. As it stands though, it's a solid sci-fi actioner chock full of some cool and imaginative future-tech that delivers on the eye candy in a big way and definitely keeps things moving. Definite rewatch value and easily worth a blind buy if not a cold rental.

biggrin.gif
post #10 of 243
Great review Ralph! Fully agree with your ratings.. Saw it yesterday and makes it perfect for a popcorn night...
post #11 of 243
Kate beckjnsale and Jessica biel two of the finest women in the budiness kicking a$$ need I say more lmao biggrin.gif
post #12 of 243
Hi guys, I posted this on the OPPO 93 thread hoping to get some answers

I rented this yesterday on BD and for the FIRST TIME EVER, I had numerous audio drop outs, about 15!!!! If I tried to play the scene again, the drop-out could not be duplicated.
The drop outs were "split second" and the video was never an issue. One thing I did notice, is that at one point when the audio dropped out and it came back on again, the voices were barely audible and the gun fire in the scene was completely gone. I had to skip back a few seconds and then it played fine through that scene.
I am going to chalk this one up to just a bad disk press......but I was wondering if anyone had this issue.

PS. I started playing the movie after having watched the new "Resident Evil" and 2 other BD concert disks, with no issues whatsoever. (OPPO 93, latest FW, no Mods)

Thanks

Paul
post #13 of 243
Thanks for the review Ralph, I can't wait to watch the film again. I really liked it when I saw it in theaters and I'm curious about the director's cut. Have you watched both? Are there some "big" differences between the two (I guess not but still...)? I've never been much of a fan of the original, although I do enjoy it, so I didn't try to make comparisons. I just enjoyed the ride, good action and quite an entertaining little sci-fi flick! smile.gif
post #14 of 243
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hidefpaul View Post

Hi guys, I posted this on the OPPO 93 thread hoping to get some answers
I rented this yesterday on BD and for the FIRST TIME EVER, I had numerous audio drop outs, about 15!!!! If I tried to play the scene again, the drop-out could not be duplicated.
The drop outs were "split second" and the video was never an issue. One thing I did notice, is that at one point when the audio dropped out and it came back on again, the voices were barely audible and the gun fire in the scene was completely gone. I had to skip back a few seconds and then it played fine through that scene.
I am going to chalk this one up to just a bad disk press......but I was wondering if anyone had this issue.
PS. I started playing the movie after having watched the new "Resident Evil" and 2 other BD concert disks, with no issues whatsoever. (OPPO 93, latest FW, no Mods)
Thanks
Paul

Greetings,

Paul, I had one audio dropout but when I backed up and tried to replicate it, nothing, so I didn't find it was an issue. I didn't have any other playback problems.


Regards,
post #15 of 243
Thanks Ralph,
Like I said, I never had an audio drop out, EVER with my set up, regardless of source or media!!! BTW, video was never an issue even when the sound drop out occurred.

Problem disk or problem encode on the disk????? Strange indeed.

Paul
post #16 of 243
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hidefpaul View Post

Thanks Ralph,
Like I said, I never had an audio drop out, EVER with my set up, regardless of source or media!!! BTW, video was never an issue even when the sound drop out occurred.
Problem disk or problem encode on the disk????? Strange indeed.
Paul

Greetings,

It's hard to say Paul. I will run through a few sequences to see if there are any more occurrences but as I said it only happened once for me and wasn't repeatable.

Regards,
post #17 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,
It's hard to say Paul. I will run through a few sequences to see if there are any more occurrences but as I said it only happened once for me and wasn't repeatable.
Regards,

Hi Ralph, I just checked the OPPO 93 thread where I had also posted my original comments......and it seems that another poster "Yang001" has also confirmed audio drop outs on his Sony BD players (Sony s470&s790),.

The plot thickens.

Paul
post #18 of 243
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hidefpaul View Post

Hi Ralph, I just checked the OPPO 93 thread where I had also posted my original comments......and it seems that another poster "Yang001" has also confirmed audio drop outs on his Sony BD players (Sony s470&s790),.
The plot thickens.
Paul

Greetings,

Gotcha. Thanks for letting me know Paul...


Regards,
post #19 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,
Paul, I had one audio dropout but when I backed up and tried to replicate it, nothing, so I didn't find it was an issue. I didn't have any other playback problems.
Regards,

I've seen a report from an "industry insider" that this release is causing audio dropouts on multiple brands of players. Sometimes repeatable, sometimes not. Supposedly, Sony is aware of this and looking into it, but good luck getting them to admit it.
post #20 of 243
I had high expectations for the a/v quality of this film, its subject matter being what it is. I am glad to know that I will not be disappointed in my purchase tomorrow. Thanks Ralph.
post #21 of 243
Is it worth a blind buy ?
post #22 of 243
Only you can truly answer the question to that 1 Frank. wink.gif
post #23 of 243
Well I decided to rent will watch tonight and if its good will buy.
post #24 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Is it worth a blind buy ?

For those who like action/scifi and given that we're getting an extended director's cut on the Blu-ray, I would say yes. Of course the fact that I'm in love with Kate Beckinsale has nothing to do with it biggrin.gifwink.gif. ....I saw it in theaters and liked it, if I hadn't I'm sure I would have gone for a blind buy though... smile.gif
post #25 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by gridbug View Post

Agree with Ralph on all points! Being a fan of the Schwarzenegger version (and a lover of all things Verhoeven) I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed this. My only quibble is that I wish they'd have found a better lead than Farrell for this, as an actor with a broader range of emotion could have made this thing a slam dunk. As it stands though, it's a solid sci-fi actioner chock full of some cool and imaginative future-tech that delivers on the eye candy in a big way and definitely keeps things moving. Definite rewatch value and easily worth a blind buy if not a cold rental.
biggrin.gif

Just Curious, what actor do you think would have been a better fit for this part? JUST CURIOUS.
post #26 of 243
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrolicBeast View Post

I had high expectations for the a/v quality of this film, its subject matter being what it is. I am glad to know that I will not be disappointed in my purchase tomorrow. Thanks Ralph.

Greetings,

Sure thing BrolicBeast. Be sure to post back with your impressions once you have had the opportunity to check it out. smile.gif


Regards,
post #27 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Well I decided to rent will watch tonight and if its good will buy.


Just remember that rental copies do NOT include the director's cut. (i.e. lost sale at my end) The disc is labelled UNRATED but the included movie is only PG-13. To add insult to injury, the DC is only available on rental copies with INSIGHT MODE...so you can see the DC but with interruptions. _sigh_ Thanks Sony. Guess I'll save some money and just pay VuDu to see it..
Edited by cinema13 - 12/18/12 at 1:23pm
post #28 of 243
I also have multiple audio drop outs on the Oppo 93.
Hope it's a firmware issue and that it gets resolved soon, otherwise it's a great disc !
post #29 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

Just remember that rental copies do NOT include the director's cut. (i.e. lost sale at my end) The disc is labelled UNRATED but the included movie is only PG-13. To add insult to injury, the DC is only available on rental copies with INSIGHT MODE...so you can see the DC but with interruptions. _sigh_ Thanks Sony. Guess I'll save some money and just pay VuDu to see it..

Thanks for that. I enjoyed it anyway and will buy when cheaper.
post #30 of 243
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donmonte View Post

I also have multiple audio drop outs on the Oppo 93.
Hope it's a firmware issue and that it gets resolved soon, otherwise it's a great disc !

Same it happened quite early ( a few times )on the oppo so I put the disc in my trusty Denon 2500bt and played well, no dropouts.
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