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Len Wiseman talks Total Recall's box office bust

Dec. 27, 2012by: Eric Walkuski
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The world was not impressed with Len Wiseman's TOTAL RECALL remake. It got slammed by critics and dismissed by the general public. (It grossed a tepid $200 million worldwide against a budget of $125 million.) Why did it have such trouble? (Besides the fact that it's not very good.) Wiseman has an idea.

"I felt like we were really battling nostalgia," the director told Digital Spy. "To remake nostalgia is quite tough. I was surprised by the amount of love there was for Arnold's portrayal of that character. While I was in college I read Philip K Dick's story and it was shocking to me how different that character of Quaid came across in the story to the film that I watched when I was a kid. So I was excited by the idea of not in any way trying to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger but to present a new type of Quaid not a new type of Arnold."

He goes on to talk about how much love the original still receives: "Well, I gotta say I was blown away by that. I was ready for a comparison because it's a remake, so you have to shoulder a lot of that or you're an idiot going into it if you just complain about that aspect of it. But how much people were really getting upset that it strayed from the Arnold Schwarzenegger version, which is already a departure from the original source material. There are two things that people really got upset about - that Arnold was not there and that we didn't travel to Mars."

Apparently Wiseman's director's cut of the film, which is out now on DVD and Blu-ray, is a much more in-depth experience than the theatrical version, but you can't fix the overall problem with the film, which is that it's humorless, bland and unexciting. Aside from Kate Beckinsale, there's almost nothing in the film worth seeing again.

Extra Tidbit: Are you going to give the director's cut of TOTAL RECALL a shot on Blu/DVD?
Source: Digital Spy

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8:53PM on 12/28/2012

Great REview

Thank you so much for the article. Since there are just a few movies to choose when I go to the Redbox, I started using Blockbuster at Home from DISH. With over 100,000 different selections to choose, I needed a way to narrow down all these amazing choices; and your interview was a great start. I have read Phillip K Dicks short story also, so I know exactly what Wiseman means about representing a Quaid. Even though the guys in my office at DISH were bit upset about that decision, I appreciate
Thank you so much for the article. Since there are just a few movies to choose when I go to the Redbox, I started using Blockbuster at Home from DISH. With over 100,000 different selections to choose, I needed a way to narrow down all these amazing choices; and your interview was a great start. I have read Phillip K Dicks short story also, so I know exactly what Wiseman means about representing a Quaid. Even though the guys in my office at DISH were bit upset about that decision, I appreciate the bold move. I cant wait to see what Wiseman delivers this weekend!
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2:25PM on 12/27/2012

He was wrong on both counts with the problems...

Like you said Eric, it was bland and not very exciting. If the film had been like what Kate Beckinsale's performance was which is just fun and engaging, it would have been so much better. I'll admit the movie had some cool ideas like the core elevator, etc but the reason the original has stood the test of time is because it's just a blast and every actor just ate it all up. The remake had the same problem as LIVE FREE AND DIE HARD had.
Like you said Eric, it was bland and not very exciting. If the film had been like what Kate Beckinsale's performance was which is just fun and engaging, it would have been so much better. I'll admit the movie had some cool ideas like the core elevator, etc but the reason the original has stood the test of time is because it's just a blast and every actor just ate it all up. The remake had the same problem as LIVE FREE AND DIE HARD had.
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