Total Recall

Total Recall. Carolco Pictures 1990.
Total Recall. Carolco Pictures 1990.

Before watching the movie:

Why is it that Hollywood seems to like Phillip K. Dick more than any other SF writer? Off the top of my head, there’s Minority Report, Paycheck, A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. Looking it up, I was surprised to learn that the recent The Adjustment Bureau is another adaptation of his, as well as almost as many more I hadn’t even heard of, including two television series.

I recall the short story this is based on “We Can Remember it For You Wholesale” as a cerebral thriller, while this movie seems to be positioned as an action-packed blockbuster. To be fair, I can certainly see the room to open up the plot with action sequences.

I feel like this is one of those movies that if it wasn’t rated R I would have seen it ages ago. It came out only two years after I was born and its staying power has only been diminished by having a recent remake. If I’d been 17 in the 90s, I probably would have been invited to watch it with someone before the decade ended, or been invested enough to make the effort myself. However, in the last ten years it’s just been on a shelf or digital shelf somewhere, with no particular reason to make “I’ll watch it someday” into “I’ll watch it now”, until well, now.

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