Total Recall: The remake is missing the most important plot point of the original

The Remake with Colin Farrell flopped at the box office

Total Recall (1990) by Paul Verhoeven with iconic Arnold Schwarzenegger has hunted bad guys on mars in this action-packed thriller of the early nineties.
The remake by Len Wiseman which aired in 2012 starred Colin Farrel, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckinsale. Despite these star names the movie with a budget of 138 Mio $ has earned only 139 Mio $ in total. This financial flop made the fans hate the remake even more.
But why did it flop? What was so bad about this movie?

The overall story is pretty much the same. Low-cost worker Quaid lives with his pretty wife on the lower end of the income ladder. Nightmares are haunting his sleep and so he pays Rekall a visit. A company that offers the memories of holidays, saving you the money for the trip. But during the procedure, a hidden identity in Quaid’s mind awakens and he finds himself in a mixture between reality and dream, trying to figure out whom to trust.
And there is a colony on Mars, by the way.

Meanwhile the original besides the action-focused a lot on the social sphere between poor and rich, the new one draws his main screentime from car chases and parkour scenes.
The action sequences are well made and easy to follow, sadly the dubstep soundtrack will forever imprint early 2010 in this movie.
But the main mistake is the screenplay itself.

Total Recall Movie Poster 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger Paul Verhoeven
Total Recall 1990 Movie Poster – Courtesy of STUDIOCANAL GmbH

A small screenplay change alters the overall plot

In both movies, Quaid reveals that he is the resistance’s biggest supporting Agent, Hauser. The bad governor held him captive. They erased his memory to send him on a double-agent mission into the heart of the resistance. On arrival, his mind bears a secret code to defeat all of the resistances infrastructures at once.
In addition, the original movie shows that Hauser himself is a double-double agent. He has been working for the government all along and we the audience as well as Hauser/Quaid are shocked. In the 2012 remake, Hauser is used by the government. In this way, they destroy his character’s development and therefore deconstruct their own concept.
Earlier on Hauser and Matthias, leaders of the resistance, talk about memories and the past. Stating, that man should not be measured by his past, but by his actions in the present.
Nevertheless, in the original, we can see Hauser turning from an evil-resistance-destructing agent to a people-supporting system fighter. He undergoes a development!
The remake instead presents Hauser as a good guy who has just forgotten that he is even better and was used. He is a tool! When he fights shoulder to shoulder for the resistance, nothing has changed in contrast to the Hauser he has been before his brain was manipulated by Cohaagen (Brian Cranston).
The screenwriters of the remake destroyed their own storyline by making this little switch.

What are your thoughts?


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