The Total recall
Paul Verhoeven’s adaptation of a short story by Philip K. Dick from 1990 is now an ice-cold classic. As if on a challenge, the director transformed the larger than life Arnold Schwarzenegger into a meek worker with big dreams. After the Rekall procedure for implanting a false memory “went wrong” – Verhoeven lets the audience question everything well after the end of the film – Schwarzenegger’s Quaid stumbles into a futuristic Whodunnit / Wheredunnit / Howdunnit that takes him from Earth to Mars brings. The film uses shoot-em-up set pieces, eye-catching special effects, and some of the finest miniature work ever built to bring Quaid’s spy adventure Red Planet to life. It’s a prismatic, often hilarious miracle and everything the “gritty” gray remake wasn’t. The people who did it probably meant well, but Verhoeven said it all idea
Or that’s what I thought before I looked at the above excerpt from the featurette “Dreamer in a Dream: Developing a Total Recall” that appears on Total recall‘s new remastered 4K UHD release. In this exclusive clip for Polygon, the movie’s illustrator Ron Miller describes his and Verhoeven’s plans for Kuato’s headquarters and the Martian Hilton Hotel. The plans were great – probably to great for what they were really designed for. As with any conceptual art, one wonders what the visionaries of the 1990s could have done with the budget and special effects of 2020. Probably not what the remake would have done. (Although, as Miller describes, the hotel should be made up of a series of cubes, this is one direction the 2012 film took for Quaid’s lower-income city life – maybe I haven’t forgotten about this film entirely!)
Check out the clip above to see the designs. Total recall arrives on December 8th on 4K UHD Blu-ray.
Vox Media maintains partner partnerships. These do not affect the editorial content, although Vox Media may earn commissions on products purchased through affiliate links. You can find more information in our Ethics policy.