Wednesday, January 15, 2003

The Movie I Watched Last Night L
Total Recall
Arnold Schwarzenegger's flawed 1990 adaptation of Philip K. Dick's short story "We Can Remember It for You Wholesale" is an excellent example of how Hollywood can manhandle and mangle an originally psychologically sensitive and surprising story. The movie strips away all of Dick's nuance and nervousness, replacing it with an over-the-top action-movie ambience lacking all subtlety. In fact, the movie's almost a catch-all for because-we-can special effects: the exploding pneumatic mask, the deformed "mutant" extras, and the scene at the end in which Arnie and his rebellious love interest are ejected into the not-so-harsh atmosphere of Mars. Bulging eyes again? Please. Given Arnie's girth, it's no surprise that his reluctant secret-agent recall is employed as a construction worker instead of as a clerk, and the movie's founding flaw is that lack of distance between the past and the present -- which only makes the outcome of the resulting self-realization less important. That said, the s-f concept of subterranean engines designed to maintain Mars atmosphere by converting an underground glacier into breathable air -- air volcano! -- was intriguing.

Soundtrack: Crimpshrine, 1987 demos

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