Power Rangers

Vampire Owl: I don’t really know these people. Are they from the shooting range?

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you haven’t watched the 1995 Power Rangers movie? I thought we all had.

Vampire Owl: I already have too many superheroes, and they all have better names.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that you don’t remember Gabrielle Fitzpatrick as Dulcea.

Vampire Owl: Who in a ranger world is she?

Vampire Bat: I believe that you liked her a lot.

Vampire Owl: You talk about the girl in green.

Vampire Bat: Yes, she is the one. I see that you remember now.

Vampire Owl: You mean to say that she was no Poison Ivy of Batman.

Vampire Bat: Your superhero encyclopedia surely needs some special attention, and so does your memory.

[Gets three cups of special tea with Tiger biscuits].

What is the movie about? :: A high school football star Jason Scott (Dacre Montgomery) gets dismissed from the team and has to go for detention after a prank fails miserably. It disappoints his father Sam Scott (David Denman) that he wasted his opportunities and reached this miserable state of life. There he comes up against Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler), a nerd whom he saves from a bully. Billy asks for his help, and offers to deactivate his ankle monitor as well as lend him his van in return. Jason decides to help him even as he is doubtful about it. There, after providing some help to him at an old abandoned gold mine, he runs across Kimberly (Naomi Scott), his crush from the school, who is taking a bath in the nearby river – she tells him that she often goes through the place, as her home is on the other side. At the same time, Billy uses some explosives to break part of the rock in the quarry.

So, what happens next? :: The blast gets the attention of Jason and Kimberly, as well as two other students, Trini (Becky G) who is spending her lone time away from the family, and Zack (Ludi Lin) who lives nearby, taking care of his sick mother. There they pick up five pieces of rock, each having a different colour. They are chased by the mine’s security, and their car gets hit by a train, but they wake up at their houses, feeling different, and rather a lot powerful. They five teenagers return to the mine to find answers to what they are going through, and they find a space ship and inside, Alpha 5 (Bill Hader), a robot. He introduces them to the consciousness of the person known as Zordon (Bryan Cranston) who is supposed to have been a power ranger until he and his team of rangers were betrayed by another team member, the Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) who is also on Earth. He tells them that they are chosen.

And, what is to follow next in the adventure? :: With the new power rangers being chosen, he tells them that it is only a matter of time until Rita finds her full strength, gets to the Zeo Crystal which will help her to destroy all life on Earth. The teenagers leave, but reluctantly come back as Jason convinces them that they need to try so that their powers don’t go wasted. They keep training with Alpha 5 and the simulations of Rita’s minions, but they are unable to morph, which means that they will have no power ranger suit or armour. Zordon is disappointed that the chosen ones are acting more like kids, and have no sense of purpose. Meanwhile, Rita awakens and goes on a killing spree, collecting all the gold that she can on the way, looting people and places, hoping to summon her favourite minion, the giant winged monster known as Goldar (Fred Tatasciore) made of gold. Can the rangers be good enough to stop her before she gets what she wants?

The defence of Power Rangers :: The new version is surely an improvement from the tales which have been going through, and with the improvement, this brings the nostalgia from the childhood, when we watched the rangers and felt that they were so good. The movie is light-hearted, and would appeal to kids more than anyone else. The movie does have the right cast at the top though, with Dacre Montgomery as the hero and leader, bringing the charm, while Naomi Scott, brings a beautiful presence supported by the right performance – we see more of Power Rangers in these two than anywhere else. RJ Cyler provides the comedy along with an emotional side. There are some nice action sequences, especially in the end, and we see another grand battle between the good and evil, with destruction all around. There are also some messages in the movie about superpowers and responsibilities, like the ones you find in an earlier Spider-Man, a later Iron Man, or even in the ideology book of Captain America.

The claws of flaw :: One has to admit that the nostalgia related to Power Rangers is applicable to less number of people. Not many people were qualified enough to get this deep into superhero stuff of Hollywood during that time, as some thought that it was for children, and other felt Hollywood to be clearly beyond them. This movie also has a tale which has been going on and on with not just this movie, but also with many others, whether it is of Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or that long list of superheroes from Marvel and DC – Power Rangers won’t sound that good, and will never be that effective with lesser known cast and teenagers there in the suits. When Avengers and Justice League will fight to save the world from alien trouble with better budget, one has to feel that this one will struggle forever – to go with it, the yellow and black rangers are not likable at all. The villain also seems to have replaced her fiery elements with something else – wonder what it is.

How it finishes :: The world has surely changed from those times when Power Rangers were there earlier. Now we have a long list of superheroes, and there is no shortage of people with superpowers wandering around on the screen – this would be the cause of Power Rangers no longer being an effective franchise at the box-office here. There is the nostalgia for sure, but this is just one of those lesser group of heroes to whom people have that feeling for. Power Rangers: The Movie of 1995 might be the one thing which would have gotten these superheroes those fans, especially considering the fact that this along with Starship Troopers, Waterworld and Vampires were a few of those Video CDs available during those times – also, a lot of the youth of that time liked Gabrielle Fitzpatrick more than the movie, as for some, she was more joy to watch. Therefore, Power Rangers had that less power here, but it is an entertainer, and can be watched without going too deep.

Release date: 24th March 2017 (US) 31st March 2017 (India)
Running time: 121 minutes
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Starring: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Becky G, RJ Cyler, Ludi Lin, Elizabeth Banks, Bill Hader, Bryan Cranston, David Denman, Caroline Cave, Anjali Jay, Patrick Sabongui, Erica Cerra, Kayden Magnuson, Fiona Fu, Sarah Grey, Emily Maddison, Jaime Callica, Matt Shively, Garry Chalk, Fred Tatasciore

<— Click here to go to the previous review.

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Kung Fu Panda 3

Vampire Owl: You remember the secret which I had told you earlier, don’t you?

Vampire Bat: Everything you talk about sounds like a secret. Which one exactly are we talking about here?

Vampire Owl: That the Vampire Panda is actually Kung Fu Panda?

Vampire Bat: It was not a case of secret being revealed. It made no sense.

Vampire Owl: Dude, they are both the same. You can see them do Kung Fu in the same way.

Vampire Bat: But the Kung Fu Panda has more fat.

Vampire Owl: He has hidden them all using Kung Fu magic.

Vampire Bat: You mean to say that he is a wizard who knows Kung Fu.

Vampire Owl: It is exactly what I am talking about. This movie should have even more clues about him.

Vampire Bat: I am having more clues about you.

[Gets three cups of masala tea with Kerala samosa].

What is the movie about? :: Master Oogway (Randall Duk Kim), as he passes through the spiritual realm, meets Kai (J.K. Simmons) who had defeated all the Kung fu masters in the realm, and had taken their chi, or life force, making him stronger than he had ever been in the land of the living. Oogway also gives in, providing him with his chi, but does warns him that the great dragon warrior will stop him one day. Meanwhile, Po (Jack Black) is once again not having the best of times as the dragon warrior. Taking over the role of Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) with kung fu training go all wrong, and he decides to question himself as the one whom the world claims that he is. Master Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Master Mantis (Seth Rogen), Master Crane (David Cross), Master Viper (Lucy Liu) and Master Monkey (Jackie Chan) are all there, but Po is still disappointed.

So, what happens next? :: He once again returns home to find solace in noodles as well as his adoptive father, Mr. Ping (James Hong). There he finds out that another panda, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston) has broken his record of eating dumplings. This unexpected visitor is recognized as Po’s biological father, and there is the father-son re-union much to the dismay of Ping who becomes afraid of losing his son, the one person whom he held close to heart more than anyone else. But this re-union is troubled as they are attacked by zombies who resemble the dead kung fu masters. These masters sent by Kai awakens the need for the dragon warrior to master chi, and to do the same, he will have to go to the secret panda village, as they have always been the experts in healing using the power of chi. But a long time has passed, and the enemy is nearby – can Po master the same in time to save everyone?

The defence of Kung Fu Panda 3 :: Just like the previous two movies, this one is also a movie that will appeal to everyone, from the little kids to people of any age as far as one can watch a movie on the screen. It is undoubtedly the movie that the fans of the franchise will love to watch, and it is the animated movie that one can go for, without thinking twice as the minimum guarantee is still there. The visuals are once again great, and the characters continue to have an impact on the viewers. This continues the legacy of kung fu on the animated screen, and as it was for the earlier movies, there is nothing much that can prevent another sequel from coming up. Kung Fu Panda 3 is indeed fun as expected, and delivers the messages to everyone – a feel-good animated movie that can provide lessons for life might be what the family audience wants to have, not just now, but for many years to come, in a complex situation with new generation of chaotic kids.

The claws of flaw :: The one problem with this flick is that this is the third movie of the franchise, and the protagonist has to go through the same thing again and again, with failures and disbelief followed by all the belief and success in the end. Our hero is the dragon warrior, and he still can’t believe it after so much has been done – we have to wonder how many more movies it will take him to really believe and keep the belief within him; maybe another person would have cost less to make believe. This one doesn’t live up-to the high standards the first two movies had, which might be why the flick had to go to the spirit world to bring the dead ones back. It is surprising that such a creative and successfully franchise doesn’t try to bring something different and something less predictable – maybe they just know that this is going to be a success with these characters and people who love them; maybe they are not done providing tablets of belief yet.

Soul exploration :: The tale of the dragon warrior has always been about making the viewers believing in themselves – it was best shown with the realisation that there is no secret ingredient as it is about the person himself to have faith and make things work. As Alice thinks about six impossible things before breakfast, Po has already had three, all of which he has accomplished – it took him only three movies to do the same; so the lesson remains there for all of us that the dragon warrior is just about being ourselves, and working hard to achieving our dreams which might be closer than we think that they are. Still, the best of the franchise will always be the first movie, which had gone on to become the highest grossing animated film of the year worldwide, and also the one animated movie that everyone mentioned more than any other in the last decade, along with Ice Age, Madagascar and Finding Nemo.

How it finishes :: There is something about Kung Fu Panda that will keep having the viewers watch more and more of it. I was not able to write about the first two movies as this blog didn’t exist when the two flick released, in 2008 and in 2011. This third movie took rather too long to release, and this five year gap might have affected its chances to do even better at the box-office. It should also be one of the reasons why this flick didn’t get that much of the collection as the earlier movies of the franchise. Unlike the 2010 movie, The Karate Kid which had kung fu instead of karate, this one sticks to teaching what is in the title, and even though so many award winning animated movies have come to the front, from Frozen, Inside Out and Big Hero 6 to even Zootopia and Moana in the last one year, Kung Fu Panda is the franchise that everyone will want to watch – lets not have that much of a gap between two movies of the series though.

Release date: 29th January 2016 (USA); 1st April 2016 (India)
Running time: 95 minutes
Directed by: Jennifer Yuh Nelson, Alessandro Carloni
Starring: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J. K. Simmons, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, James Hong, Kate Hudson, Randall Duk Kim

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Godzilla

godzillaa

From W.B. Yeats’ The Second Coming
“The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?”
The first thing that came to my mind while looking at that Godzilla poster was this poem, and not Pacific Rim or that movie of the same name from 1998. The same was rather justified by watching the movie, as there was something special about this creature this time, and the deviation from the master of destruction which it was supposed to be, is something which adds more mystery to the same. The mystery about the beast which is mentioned in this poem has kept me thinking throughout my studies of English Literature, and now there is the monster, Godzilla who comes up with the element of mystery and surprise.

What is it about? :: Getting out of that 1919 poem by the Irish poet and coming back to our present scenario, the movie begins with some film reels involving atomic explosion and a huge creature partially rising from under the water. The story belongs to Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) though, a military officer specialized in bomb disposal married to his beautiful wife and a nurse wife Elle (Elizabeth Olsen), having one son. When his father Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) is arrested in Japan for trespassing into a quarantined area, he travels there and gets him out of prison, only to join him in the mission to find how his mother died at the same place long ago. But as they get inside the area, they find out that there is actually nothing like the radiation at a place when a nuclear disaster had taken place, and it is not quarantined to save people, but to hide a huge secret which can change the future of mankind forever. The secret will soon be revealed inside a secret complex area, but as it comes to light, there might actually be no real hope for humanity. There will be chaos and destruction unleashed on the world as monsters awaken, and the beginning of all this was years ago.

The defence of Godzilla :: I can’t remember much from the 1998 movie, but from what I can recollect, this is surely a big improvement. Well, as I was a kid at that time, it wouldn’t have been of much use if I had an opinion at that time too. Well, this Godzilla is different, and a big change is that the humanity is not really fighting Godzilla this time, even as there is no denial of confrontations and rockets fired, with destruction caused. Now, that should be a surprise, and the number of monstrous entities should be more than you expect. Unlike Pacific Rim, the movie also has a dark style and there is the more powerful terror element at work. The creatures are designed to look terrifying, and they serve their purpose as they become harbingers of death and destruction with their size and lethal power. There is absolutely nothing funny about their presence or the whole movie as it keeps the seriousness and the atmosphere of horror throughout, between great action supported by the special effects and background score. It is a nice introduction that has been given to the younger audience about this monster who hasn’t graved the screen for sometime. They goes on with the story really well, and there is a lot of suspense built around what is happening around.

The claws of flaw :: Godzilla has released after Pacific Rim; it is not much of a flaw as both deals with the monsters in a different way, but that should hurt a bit for the audience. If this had come before Pacific Rim, that might have actually helped both movies. This should still gross more than the 2013 monster-robot extravaganza, thanks to the title referring to the king of monsters, already running houseful here. There is also no denying a certain amount of slow start to the things unlike Pacific Rim which pounces directly into the action scene. The human characters don’t really impress, and there is no dialogue which will cause an adrenaline rush. The nature-related theme is not fully explored, and this could have actually had a message about the need to preserve environment and get rid of the nuclear warheads. There is a certain amount of uncertainty on what the director was actually planning to bring to the audience; Pacific Rim was certain about it, but not this movie. If it had focused better on the human characters or kept the focus completely on the creatures, this surely would have worked even better. After all, everybody wants to see the giant creatures on the big screen.

Performers of the soul :: Our main hero is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and it seems to work on most occasions except for a few when he turns wooden. One would still feel that the character has come alive just because there was the need for a hero in this movie. Elizabeth Olsen plays the less explored character of his wife and doesn’t get much attention; neither should be anything memorable. They will be seen together as siblings, or the super-powered evil twins in The Avengers 2 as Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch; she played a character attracted to her father in Oldboy – she surely is having a strange combination of characters to play; but unlike Oldboy, she has almost nothing to do that actually affects the movie here, and that should be a let down. The rest of the cast also has very less to do, as this is the world of the monsters where humans become spectators most of the time, and even when they are doing something, the effects are minimal. Even as the monsters come quite late, this slow and steady sacrifice of human characters start very early in the movie and goes on to the end. Well, the monsters need to scare and kill a lot of people, so there is that purpose.

Soul exploration :: The movie shows Godzilla as a force of nature, something that is beyond humans to stop, but the same can also be said about the other creatures. The fact that these creatures feed on radiation is something to be noted. Thus the movie is indirectly a message against the problem that the nuclear power can cause, and the creatures of radiation are rather the symbols of the evil that can be brought upon the current society by the development of science and technology which have been used in such a manner that it makes things convenient, but not better. Godzilla is referred to as a force of nature (that reminds me of what an article called the cricketers Virender Sehwag, Adam Gilchrist and Shahid Afridi a long time ago), and he becomes that force of nature which will bring balance on Earth, whether its enemies are other creatures or the human beings themselves. Well, Godzilla is nothing like the other two creatures which belong to one species, one being the smaller male with wings and the other being the bigger female, stronger without wings. The force of nature is rather the great equalizer, which makes its own choices and takes sides. That is what makes this monster so different and gives the viewers so much to look forward to. Yes, men think that they can control nature with science, but it is indeed the other way around!

How it finishes :: We were given two Malayalam movies with big stars this weekend in the form of How Old Are You and Mr. Fraud and it is a big decision to choose this one over them, but that won’t be too difficult at many places as they would be already booked. The crowd for Godzilla assures the success of the movie, but also makes sure that the two movies I mentioned are already houseful. Godzilla might have lesser audience in the weekdays, but seems to be good enough to stay above par. If you liked Pacific Rim, you will surely like this one too, and the degree of the liking shall depend on what you need, a light action thriller with style or a dark horror thriller with action, Godzilla fitting to the latter detail. Lets take some time to spare some time for these creatures from the depths of Earth, not just the alpha predator which is Godzilla, but the other two mentioned as MUTO (Massive Unidentified Terrestrial Organism)! Yet there is one more thing to remember, and that is about the minuteness of humanity against the universe and its secrets, and lets not consider science and technology as the greatest achievement of humanity; it is rather the respect of the fellow humans, environment and the other creatures that should interest us.

Release date: 16th May 2014
Running time: 123 minutes
Directed by: Gareth Edwards
Starring: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olsen, Ken Watanabe, Juliette Binoche, Sally Hawkins, David Strathairn, Bryan Cranston

godzilla copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Madagascar III

madagascar3

The Madagascar glory :: It all started in 2005 as the tale of New York’s four zoo animals, Alex the Lion a.k.a the King of New York, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippo begins with them landing on the island of Madagascar by accident after leading a happy and satisfied life in their own little worlds. It is my favourite movie of the series, and is one of the best beginnings to any series. Despite scoring better in the box-office, I would say that Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon, Tom McGrath is the weak link among the movies so far, and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a definite improvement on the same. The series would become the twenty first highest grossing movie franchise of all time. I would not expect it to go any higher in the list though, as the animated movie series will have only limited scope from the way the movie has ended in the third, but the flick is still not without its options of coming up with more sequels and scoring nice at the box-office. Thus remains the power of what was created by the three movies of the series so far.

What is it about? :: The team of four still needs to get to New York City, as they decide to go to Monte Carlo to get the help of penguins and the chimps. But as they are noticed and it creates chaos in the land, Captain Chantel DuBois is called to deal with the situation as she begins a never ending chase of the animals with her minions, hoping to keep the lion’s head on her wall in the process. They find shelter in a cricus train, as they disguise themself as American circus animals, much to the delight of Stefano the sea lion and Gia the jaguar who takes them in, despite the suspicions of Vitaly the tiger. It is later found out that the circus indeed a failure, even as they are trying to get a contract to perform in the United States of America. The penguins help by buying the circus and getting rid of the humans, while Alex tries to get the circus back working with new ideas and the help of his friends. The friends find it the best option to get back to New York, and they tries their best to make the show better, even getting a depressed Vitaly back in action in the process, and at the same time, Alex and Gia gets closer to each other. So what comes next?

The defence of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted :: This movie is a fun ride, and not many people can disagree to the same. It portrays a wonderful brotherhood of animals which puts the divided humans into shame, and the evil side comes from humans who mercilessly hunt the poor creatures for sport. There lies a twin message against hunting for sport as well as in support of universal brotherhood. As long as people are lead by their narrow-minded selfishness which calls for money only, there will be no brotherhood – but that is not the case of the animal kingdom of Madagascar. It shows a group of talking animals who are divided by species, but still stands together, may be because they don’t have politicians to bring a wall between them or reservations which make sure that they won’t have food or water from a specific area. I would consider this movie a battle against hunting for fun, inequality and filthy reservations while supporting brotherhood and freedom, about which there might be a lot to say, but much less can be directly implied. Just think about us humans having to learn from animals during this age.

Positives and negatives :: The movie has great 3D effects and it feels great to see it on the big screen. Its use of colours and style is beyond the limits of the usual 3D movie. It is still good to watch the final scenes of it on an LED screen with all the lights switched off. There is the great animation and the wonderful details of the cities which our heroes visit. It makes us feel for the animals and keeps us on their side, in a much better way than what Avatar creates in us for the weird blue aliens. Madagascar 3 undoubtedly knows where its going, and how to keep the things straight on the way. Yes, it chooses a dream-like world instead of realism, as its characters chooses to fall and get up rather than not to fall, dance instead of walk, and learn to understand rather than directly understand. It is still a world where greatness can be achieved by trying and being good, rather than using the world’s method of “lie, cheat, steal” which has been going on with most of the so called respectable people who are holding big positions, and undoubtedly making a lot of money. Madagascar gives a hope that one day people will be judged for being good rather than belonging to a community or being more or less social.

The Fantastic Four :: We have four animal heroes in the series, with a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a hippopotamus on an adventure of the life-time. They lived a life of incredible joy in a zoo in New York until they end up outside, travelling to Madagascar, an incident which changes their lives forever, as they discovers themselves, and what they are meant to be. From Madagascar, they go African continent where they find more of themselves, and then also goes through Europe which forms the major part of this third movie. Talking about fantastic four or fabulous four always have the tendency to bring four cricketers who all retired in the last few years, but as we are talking about an adventure bigger than any money-making sport which goes on to become more corrupt to the core every year, we realize that the animals always had more to teach us compared to any materialistic celebrity of this age who are worshiped for absolutely no reason. Yes, these animals are worth being fans of, and they don’t even come up with nonsense, and they are inspirational and more humane than any of the people who are considered as role-models by the new generation.

Soul exploration :: From Trapeze Americano to Balloons for Children, the animals show that tremendous power of equality, liberty and fraternity which was lost from the French Revolution, or rather was never there. “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” has gone to the animals for sure, as we haven’t gone past the narrow boundaries of religion and caste yet, and so proved by caste and religion based politics and the reservations which shall continue to divide people in a more efficient manner for vote-bank politics. The world has been divided by imagined communities, and within nations, people remain divided, but not these animals. We can see that they don’t belong to the same species, and most of them are actually supposed to kill and eat each other. May be we don’t deserve to be united, and we should support all the barriers that Rabindranath Tagore mentioned as narrow domestic walls. Madagascar 3 might have talking animals with no logic, but somehow they make more sense than humans do, and it is evident from the way the humans behave in the movie itself.

How it finishes :: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is longer than Ice Age 4: Continental Drift by just five minutes, and there is not much to separate the two despite the fact that this is indeed better and more critically appreciated. Ice Age scored in the total box-office collection better though, and it was expected that it would go on to become the highest grossing movie of 2012 as it did, and considering the hype surrounding both movie here, I would have been surprised if Madagascar 3 had actually made anything close enough to Ice Age 4. But I am glad that it did come close, and being released before its rival might have helped it to come close enough. In an year in which even The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 comes in the top ten, being there is more of a disgrace, but when that tells the story of the movie-watchers, being there is also something of luck too. But leaving the statistics behind, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a very good watch, not only for the fans of animated movies, but also for anyone who is looking for a movie which is a visual delight in one way while being something of incredible substance in another way. Thank you HBO for bringing this back on television at the right moment.

Release date: 8th June 2012
Running time: 93 minutes
Directed by: Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon, Tom McGrath
Starring (voice): Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, Tom McGrath, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston, Martin Short, Frances McDormand

madagascar3 copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Total Recall

totalrecall (2)

What is Total Recall? :: There is always a powerful tendency for remakes in Hollywood, and 2012 had some of the big remakes or reboots in the form of Dredd, The Amazing Spider-Man, John Carter and this one. This year we have Evil Dead, Carrie and Oldboy, while next year has Robocop and The Crow. There are many others which I have missed and more which I might miss. But one of the movie which I didn’t want to miss last year was Total Recall, a remake of the 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger starrer movie of the same name, one of my all-time favourites indeed. Then about this 1966 short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale by Philip K. Dick on which the movie is based, I don’t know much. What I know is that the 1990 version of movie was far superior to most of the movies of the age, and great innovative science fiction stuff. The Terminator and Predator are the two famous Schwarzenegger movies and two of the most popular science fiction stories, but Total Recall is in many ways one of its kind. With this remake, where does it’s popularity stand?

The Setting :: The story goes to the end of the century when the Earth is mostly destroyed after a series of battles involving chemical and biological warfare and a possible nuclear attack on each other. What is left fit for supporting life is divided into the United Federation of Britain (UFB) and the Colony (Australia) connected by a gravity elevator which travels through the Earth forming the only connection between the two as the rest of the world remains not fit for traffic and this is one of the fastest means. Many residents of the Colony who are poor, travels to UFB for jobs, as their status as well as wealth depends on the same. The people of the Colony are forced into submission by the UFB as they are inferior in technology and lacks in money as well as an army. There is a consistent assertion of such control claiming that the Colony is home to terrorists. The colony inhabitants live in bad conditions compared to the superior world of UFB.

What is it about? :: Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) is a colony worker married to a beautiful young lady Lori (Kate Beckinsale), but he occasionally dreams about another woman, who would later identified in the movie as Melina (Jessica Biel). But the problem is that he doesn’t know that girl and doesn’t even remember seeing her once. But he is plagued by the dreams which seems to be part of an adventure. One day, he and his best friend Harry (Bokeem Woodbine) visits a facility called Rekall which is a virtual entertainment firm which implants artificial memories in the head of willing people for a price. One can choose to be a secret agent, ruler of an area, lover of many sexiest women alive, a super spy, the richest man on the planet, husband to the most beautiful woman ever known, the strongest man in the whole universe and so on. He asks the salesman, Bob McClane (John Cho) for memories of a secret agent, but it is identified that he already has artificial memories – then police comes in and starts hunting him identifying him as a rebel who is enslaved with false memories, and even his wife joins the hunt.

The defence of Total Recall :: Even as most of the people would not like it as there is no justice done to the original, this movie is still a very good watch. This will not be a classic, but it has great action sequences and very good design and CGI. The world is well detailed and when Kate Beckinsale is around one can rarely feel that there will be a shortage of action sequences. This is from the director the Underworld series – the husband of Kate Beckinsale; when they join forces, the husband-wife team comes up with some of the best action movies, even as there might not be good critical opinion. Doesn’t it remind one of Mila Jovovich and Paul W.S. Anderson with the Resident Evil series and The Three Musketeers? There are new additions to this movie, and some of them do keep us interested. The gravity elevator and the action around it are brilliant, and there are some good, and the stylish new gadgets and a wonderful creation of two worlds on Earth, along with its quick pace that makes it never boring makes this one worthy for defense.

The claws of flaw :: The movie doesn’t make the originial sci-fi classic feel any better. There are no memorable dialogues and has less funny side to it. The movie is also often predictable, and the change of location from Mars to the Colony might not impress a few. Its characters also doesn’t create more of a human effect, as they often move on like robots given a mission. The question would arise if this movie was needed, and one can say that if a movie is remade and can’t match the original or falls behind by quite a distance, there is no need to go for a remake. If this was something new, or they had tried a new science fiction story with a similar theme, it would have worked better. But for now, the fans of the original can only like this in a limited manner, even when there is not that many things which are wrong with this one. There have been talks about a possible sequel, and it can do this movie a lot of good if done properly.

Performers of the Soul :: Colin Farrell does a very good role as the protagonist without memory, with memory, with hidden memory and with an extra dose of memory. Does that make him Arnold Schwarzenegger? Not at all, and there comes tragic fall, but we can’t really blame him for that when he has done his part well – blame the comparisons instead. Kate Beckinsale is simply awesome – from being the lovely wife to the killing machine; she might seem to have the Underworld syndrome, but she is beyond comparison in such roles. Even as Mila Jovovich and Sienna Guillory from Resident Evil got enough sequences to object, there is nobody like Kate in an action role. Once again she makes her entrance in a black costume, a bit less tight compared to what Selene had in the Underworld series, and chases our hero and his girl as if her life depended on it – an out of control psychotic beauty indeed! Her desperation is powerful as well as funny at times, and her dialogues and action keeps the pace high. Jessica Biel pales in comparison, but her beautiful and pretty much cute presence is of pure joy, and her emotional sequences score rather than the fights.

How it finishes :: The biggest change in the storyline should be about the divisions being of UFB and Colony rather than of Earth and Mars. But what might have affected this movie more than anything else would be the absence of Arnold Schwarzenegger, just like Terminator: Salvation struggled, for it was not a bad movie either. We can do without Mars, but not without the legendary action hero, most of them would say. Even as Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel does better than the characters who did the roles in the original, and Colin Farrell’s performance is strong enough, there is no matching the powerful screen presence of Arnold Schwarzenegger. But who can step into the shoes of the man? The remake of Conan the Barbarian seemed to give the impression that there is none. I would not consider the flaws mentioned by the critics as big negatives though, and this movie, even as it is not that much of a great remake of the original like Dredd, this has enough inside which could have made people run to the theatres – I know the box-office collection might not seem enough for a movie like this, but the same happened with John Carter and it is just fate.

Release date: 3rd August 2012
Running time: 118 minutes
Directed by: Len Wiseman
Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, John Cho, Bill Nighy, Steve Byers

totalrecalll copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.