Review of Total Recall: Special Limited Edition
I think everyone is familiar with the story by now. Total Recall is based upon the Phillip K. Dick short story, "We can remember it for you wholesale", and stars Arnold in his most ambitious role at the time. Set slightly in the future, Arnold is on a quest to recover his memory and becomes torn between two identities. I won`t spoil it by talking about it here, just in case you haven`t seen it. As far fetched as it is (isn`t this the premise of most sci-fi movies?), it does suck you in for two hours of memorable one liners and a big body count. The violence at the time was much talked about, the version which was eventually seen in theatres and presented here on DVD was trimmed for the MPAA. It`s an interesting take on the original story, and with writers Dan O`Bannon, Ronald Shusett and Gary Goldman on board, it`s a surefire winner. It`s entertaining, witty and gives the cast some great lines! A classic story of good versus bad on Mars, with some great special effects, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, what more could a riveting story need?
The anamorphic 1.85:1 transfer to DVD is excellent. No signs of compression/artifacting were noticable and the print is crisp and very sharp for NTSC. The colours are vibrant and very well reproduced with solid blacks in the right places. Even the reds of planet Mars came out well without any bleeding. A lot of attention has been paid to the transfer and it shows in every scene. It`s very impressive.
Jerry Goldsmith`s opening music is fantastic! I get all goose-bumped when it plays and when pumped up loud, it`s sounds good from all speakers. On the whole the quality of sound from all around is great throughout, coupled with good bass, the sound effects are clear and fuels the adrenaline.
Where do you even start to talk about the extra`s? There`s quite a bit on this disc! There are fully animated menus with 3D effects and these are quite good.
Imagining Total Recall is an interesting 30min documentary, it`s up-to-date and remains interesting. How these people remember this stuff amongst all the other projects that they do is amazing! Lots of things I didn`t know or had forgotten come up and for the Total Recall fan, you`ll devour it all!
Fancy a little trip? Try Rekall Virtual Vacations, another feature on the disc. You can select from `Dunes of Mars`, `Mountain Expedition on Planet Lumina 3` and `Earth Beach`, this are loops of pretty video and sound. It reminds me of the old Landscape Channel, except less effective. It just doesn`t work, so what were they thinking when they put this together?
Visions of Mars is an interesting five minute featurette with a Jet Propulsion Labs scientist talking about Mars. Storyboard Comparisons compare three scenes from the movie with the original storyboard, pretty self explanatory. You view the artwork with a small window showing the film scene being compared. There`s no commentary to this.
Conceptual Art Gallery contains concept art representing ideas for the film before production. Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots is a collection of the trailers etc. The Photo Gallery is just that, a selection of stills, Production Notes are pages of text which go hand in hand with everything you see on the disc, nothing new to gleen. My only concern here is that there doesn`t seem to be enough in the way of stills from either gallery, I`m sure there are more, so it would have been nicer to see more, plus to have it accompanied with music in the slideshow would have been a nice touch. It`s okay without my minor gripes! There`s cast and crew bio`s too which are up-to-date to include Arnold`s future projects in 2002!
The less said about the advert for JVC, which isn`t forced upon you, the better (it`s hidden away in the Setup Menu for some reason). Subtitles, Dolby 5.1 and 2.0 as well as the commentary track by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paul Verhoeven. The newly recorded commentary track with Arnold and Paul is great to listen to. As well as talking about the shots as the movie plays, they talk about other things too like the trims that had to be made for the MPAA, Arnold`s injuries, the stunts, special effects and more. It`s really informative and it`s great that it was recorded for this new Special Edition.
I thought it might be good to have the `making of` which Guild Home Video made available on VHS a long time ago, this shows other stuff too not present on this disc. Although having said that, perhaps it`s subjective, after all, how much stuff do you want to see? There`s loads on this disc as it is! Did you know that Arnold was not the first choice to play the lead?
One point to make about the disc I have is that there`s a very slight sound glitch in the Special Features menu. It happens when the menu music loops, it`s not really annoying, but does lead to the impression that it should have been picked up in QA. I haven`t been able to find out if this is the case with other copies.
This is a landmark sci-fi movie, both for its effects and huge budget at the time. Even watching it ten years later it still stands out as an impressive movie. There`s been a lot of talk on newsgroups about the tin packaging which ships with this new version, and I have to admit that I quite like it. It`s different and interesting, plus it sits quite well amongst all the other DVDs on the shelf so I don`t have any qualms with it.
All the extra`s included on this disc really do add up to a great package for a great piece of sci-fi fun. If you liked it the first time around, you won`t be disappointed, it`s a lot of fun and it`s worth having in your collection. Artisan have done another great package!