For the Memories of a Lifetime…Total Recall’s Minor Issues

The new Total Recall movie comes out tomorrow and it made me reinvest myself in the last one. We had the TV version taped on VHS in ’94 and I, as a kid, watched it so many times the average adult human would have gone insane had he been forced to view it as many times as I did. Yet it’s funny that as many times as I watched it, there are several things I didn’t not once even notice.

These are not things I expect to be mind blowing if you’re a huge fan of the movie, but rather more personal revelations. I was seven in ’94, after all.

So before your get your Quaid/Hauser on, suck on the following, and open your miiiiiindd….

1. Arnold Schwarzenegger wore an explosive device that encapsulated his entire head.

If you haven’t seen this scene before, watch it. Also, you’re a loser.

We all know and love the scene. I’ll set you up. Michael Ironside and his cronies are searching for Schwarzenheimer like mad, trying to find out what he knows, what he doesn’t know. While at the train(?) station, Ironside sees that a tall, fat woman in the area is acting suspicious. He knows that it’s actually Schwarzenegger in disguise and gets in position to arrest.

But- in true G fashion, Schwarzenegger’s mask separates, revealing Arnold underneath. He throws the mask, which is still operating, and a guard catches it. It gets its one liner out and explodes, allowing Schwarzenegger to (eventually) escape through the use of deception and explosions, his two main strategies. It’s use of action and special effects are just a couple of the many reasons this movie was fun to watch back in the day.

The problem lies in Schwarzenegger’s mask; on one hand it’s what makes the scene unique and funny, but on the other hand, it’s an absolutely retarded device that easily nearly murders everyone, including Schwarzenegger himself. Consider the following. After going through it’s relatively simple commands of relaying to the Immigration Officer he’s only staying for “two weeks,” it begins to malfunction. Any other contraption malfunctioning wouldn’t be such a big deal, but this one was asked a simple question and begins to spaz out. It’s the only reason he gets noticed. Wouldn’t some rubber appliances have been better? And cheaper?

What’s worse is that after it opens to reveal another fake head like some creepy Arnold Russian nesting doll, he throws to have it start acting right then, then it explodes. The freaking thing was covering his entire head down to the bottom of his neck, malfunctions as easily as it does, and then it explodes? No dude, you are not getting me to wear one, just take my brain back.

“It’s just not working out, sweetie. Can we still be friends?”

2. How does the X-Ray walkthrough only show skeletons and guns?

Arnold’s on the run. We’ve seen earlier in the movie Future Society’s way of finding out whether or not you have dangerous weapons with you and by the head exploding lady up there, you can figure out that Arnold has a problem with customs. Walking through an X-Ray, the cops/security will easily be able to tell if someone has something that could be harfmful to others.

In the above scene, we see what happens when you do have something harmful with you. Like a gun. Cops begins to surround Arnold on one side while the bad guys come in on the other. Arnold has no choice but to jump crashing through the glass in an awesome scene that lets you know Arnold is going to do whatever it takes to escape, and find out what happened to his mind.

The problem lies in…well, everything. Earlier in the movie we see people walking through the X-ray like it’s no big deal, and it’s not to them. It’s everyday life. Now, aside from the possible effects of just walking through an X-ray (it’s the future, alright?), the only thing that can be seen are your skeleton and your gun. No solid objects in pockets, no remnants of clothing outside the body, just the skellys.

Not only does this particular brand of problem solving introduce new problems on it’s own, when the alarm sounds, it has the red rings echoing from the gun as if the gun is making the noise itself. And is that the cops preferred method of arresting a suspect in the future? “C’mon guys- we’ll ALL go on one side! He won’t have anywhere else to go since there are only civilians behind him! Ha, we got him now!” The scene ends brilliantly with Arnold jumping through the glass in a placement problem that would make your actual head explode.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa…We’re seeing a lot of weird things in a bunch of pockets, we need to stop EVERYBODY.”

3. The Bad Guys are looking for Kuato- Can he really hide that many places on Mars?

It’s revealed (or is it?) by the end of the movie that Arnold’s character was an agent for the bad guys before having his mind erased, and the point was for him to eventually find his way to the rebel leader Kuato, that opposes Cohaagen, the film’s lead villain. This all works out, except for Arnold still holding true to his “regular guy” attitude and he chooses to keep fighting Cohaagen instead of joining back up with him.

The problem with the plan to begin with is the insanity of it all. They agree to send him undercover, everyone plans to encourage him to stay away from Rekall, which could give him his mind back…which is actually what coerces him to move the plan forward anyway. So I guess they were just…biding their time? Then, after causing God knows how much damage and death to Cohaagen’s men and facilities because Arnold thinks he’s a good guy, he, at long last, leads them to Kuato, whom they kill. Mission complete.

Kind of. But without going into the rest of the movie and how Arnold still ruins everything for his buddy Cohaagen, successfully making it the worst plan of all time, the question remains- why couldn’t they find Kuato to begin with? It’s not like earth, where underground, in caves, or even the ocean can become a new home/hideout- it’s Mars. There are only so many colonies. Wouldn’t he only be able to hide in places where they control the oxygen? Look there.

They wouldn’t necessarily know who Kuato was at first, being that’s he’s a mutated Cabbage Patch doll that lives in another dude’s stomach, but I just can’t accept that erasing an agent’s mind was the only way to find him.

“The rent’s always on time, but I can never get any privacy with this little freak. Forget bringing a girl home.”



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