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Old September 23 2013, 05:27 PM   #693
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Re: TCM Genre movies schedule...

I decided to DVR Total Recall, which I haven't seen in many years. I came to find the violence distasteful for a while, but it's been long enough that I decided to take a fresh look. It actually holds up better than I remembered; gratuitous violence aside, it's an effective thriller that gives you some things to think about, and its visual effects were really cutting-edge stuff for the day, just before CGI started taking over everything. They had extensive computer assistance with the motion-control cameras and animatronics, but what we saw onscreen was all real physical models and puppets and conventional animation, except for the CGI "x-ray" skeletons at the subway checkpoint. And the FX really hold up extremely well; they did things with miniatures and animatronics that were on a par with a lot of modern CG.

Although I can't say the designs hold up as well. It's hilarious to me how people in the '90s assumed that telephones would get bigger in the future. In this movie, Back to the Future Part II, and "Lisa's Wedding" on The Simpsons, futuristic phones were these massive wall- or table-mounted units with screens and elaborate controls. And the playback unit for Hauser's message to Quaid was this big briefcase. And this is supposed to be 71 years from now, IIRC.

Of course, the big question in this film is, are Quaid's experiences real or hallucinated? Here are my thoughts, spoiler-boxed for length:

Granted, the whole point is that there is no obvious right answer to whether it's real or imagined, and either interpretation has its problems. But I have my preference, so there it is.
Written Worlds -- Christopher L. Bennett's blog and webpage
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