Movie Review: Total Recall (2012)

Total Recall (2012)

3 out of 5 stars

I find myself drawn to movies inspired from PKD short stories.  I was a bit disappointed when the Adjustment Bureau did not win the Nebula Award (Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation) in 2011.  And I suppose it’s time I watched Minority Report and Bladerunner, but first I’m going to read the original stories as written by the incomparable Phillip K. Dick.  In the case of Total Recall, the short story is entitled ‘We Can Remember It For Your Wholesale.’  Since I have not read the original short story, I will refrain from making comparisons and questioning the adaptation as portrayed in this latest re-imagining.

I will however compare this 2012 version to the other 1990 edition, which I’ve watched many times.  Off the top of my head, I didn’t care for the excision of Mars from the plot.  The Colony became Britain’s Penal Colony continent (Australia) and the world is toast, chemically speaking, except for the British Isles and Australia, connected by a super-fast (17 minutes one-way) tunnel through the Earth’s core called the Fall.  I remain skeptical and would like to see a bit more science and less fiction explaining that setup.

I actually found it hard to watch this remake because I knew, before hand, some of the key plot points that would occur.  No, they didn’t coincide completely with what I suspected, but enough doubt remained in my mind that I did not enjoy the film as much as I probably could or should have.  For example, I really hoped that the ending would return us to Rekall and leave us wondering if it was ‘real’ or ‘Memorex’ but this adaptation preferred to alter reality and continue with less ambiguity.  I think I would have preferred the more thought-provoking ending.

I guess the best thing I can say about this movie is I didn’t fall asleep while watching it.  I know, that’s not saying much, but it happens to me quite frequently.  But it didn’t knock my socks off as I expect when you’re adapting material from one of the 20th century’s most lauded science fiction authors.

Turn the Page on Time

FBCSlogoAt the Fantasy Book Club Series group on GoodReads, we are approaching the end of time, or rather the Wheel of Time series.  We will start reading the final book in that series in May.  On the first day of March, I started a nomination thread, confusingly entitled ‘Life After the Wheel of Time‘ soliciting suggestions for our next series group read.  I remembered to send a spam-like e-mail to group members this morning, since I’d only seen a handful of series nominated in the first few days.   My marketing efforts must be paying off, as two more series were nominated and seconded within an hour of the mass mailing.

Here are just a few of the series that will make it into the first round of voting:

Nominations will remain open until the Ides of March.

The first round of polls will whittle the nominations down to two or three (depending on how close the voting is) for the final deciding vote towards the end of March.  You must be a member of the group to vote (and the group will close to new members once the first poll is open for voting).

Postcards from Mars and Beyond

I skim a plethora of feeds daily, either on my smartphone or my laptop.  A headline really needs to grab my attention in a microsecond before I’ll bother to follow through with a click to drill into the meat of an article.  I almost missed last week’s post by the Kansas City Science Fiction & Fantasy Society about a review challenge gauntlet they’ve thrown down before us.   But I stopped, looked and decided, ‘Why not?’ because I’m wrapping up the Adult Winter Reading Program with the KC Library and need something else to set my sights on.

Writing shorter reviews (between fifty and a hundred words) of science fiction or fantasy books, movies, games, graphic novels, podcasts, etc. should take me less time than my normal longer-winded ones.  I’ve submitted a half dozen of these mini-reviews in the last few days, and will continue to due so until the challenge ends at ConQuest in late May.  I’m disappointed to report I will not be able to attend the con this year (at least I’ve already met the author guest of honor so I have some small consolation there) do to conflicting travel arrangements.   Perhaps 2014 will be less hectic for the Memorial Day weekend.

For more information about the challenge, follow this link and start sending in your submissions today:

KCSFFS 50-Word Review Challenge