A fan video showed up on Youtube this week, uploaded by CinestirTV, which pokes fun at the apparent similarities between the original Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger and the reboot starring Colin Farrell.
Of course, it’s only looking at the trailer. There is a lot about the new film which differs from the original, mostly that it does not take place on Mars, and the subplot about Martian terraforming and aliens or whatever was going on at the end of the first one has been completely removed, leaving more breathing room for the mistaken identity plot, and allowing more twists.
Any time a film is remade, the director like to include some visuals which are similar to the original, as an homage, not a rip-off. If you were to remake Gone with the Wind, you would definitely need a grand staircase, you would see a dramatic fire, and it would be absolutely essential that, at some point, someone says he ‘doesn’t give a damn’. Audiences expect these connections, as it creates a link between the two works, both culturally and artistically.
It’s also likely that many such visuals were included in the trailer specifically to allow the audience to make these connections (not because, as Cinestir implies, the whole film is a rip-off).
The official synopsis is thus:
Total Recall is an action thriller about reality and memory, inspired anew by the famous short story 'We Can Remember It For You Wholesale' by Philip K. Dick. 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.
The rebooted Total Recall hits theaters on August 3, 2012.