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From Mars to Earth: The Tech of Total Recall
Both the now-classic Schwarzenegger film of 1990 and the modern remake debuting today are filled with sci-fi tech, some of which we’ve come to actually use.
Total Recall (1990), directed by Paul Verhoeven of Robocop, Basic Instinct, and Showgirls fame/infamy and starring the former governor of California (you know the one), is considered by many to be a sci-fi classic.
Looking at it now, one might deduce that the film is a campy, over-the-top bit of crazy captured on celluloid, especially when compared with the ultra-realistic science fiction films of Verhoeven’s contemporary, Ridley Scott. His work on Blade Runner alone set the standard for how “into-the-future” sci-fi films would look for a long, long time.
(Um, Blade Runner is also a much, much better movie. At least I think so.)
This time around, expect Total Recall to get a serious reboot from director Len “Underworld” Wiseman. The new film keeps things earthbound in the year 2084 rather than taking the main character, Doug Quaid (played by Colin Farrell), to Mars. He now lives on an earth split into two giant nation-states, New Asia and the United Federation of Britain.
Both Total Recall and Blade Runner are based on stories by author Philip K. Dick. Very loosely based. Total Recall comes from 1969′s “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” which is also about Mars, memory implanting, and recording. Blade Runner is taken from 1967′s tale of android hunting, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?“
The remake swaps Arnold Schwarzenegger one-liners and over-the-top mutant animatronic special effects—which actually won an Academy Award back in 1990—for a realistic-looking future that resembles a blend of Blade Runner, The 5th Element, and Minority Report. (The latter is also based on a PKD story.)
Here’s a quick look at the coolest technology from the original and the remake of Total Recall. The original has a few very interesting pieces of tech that are practically commonplace today—and a lot more that aren’t. Here’s hoping the remake’s tech starts becoming a reality soon, too.
All images are from Total Recall (Copyright 1990 TriStar Pictures) and Total Recall (Copyright 2012 Columbia Pictures).
By Eric Griffith, PCMag