Following the lacklustre financial success of Len Wiseman’s remake of Total Recall and the poor critical reception it received, director of the original 1990 cult classic Paul Verhoeven has spoken up in a recent interview with MovieLine, basically denouncing the update and giving a little “I told you so” to the film’s producer and star Colin Farrell.
Check out Verhoeven’s full statement:
“Arnold being [in the original ‘Total Recall’] made the movie a little light, and I think that’s very important for these Philip Dick stories. I think if it would have been done in a straight way, I’m not so sure that it would have worked – at least, not at that time. And recently [in the ‘Total Recall’ remake], it did not. I get to say that because the producer of the new one said that [the original] was cheesy or something. And Colin Farrell called it in an interview ‘kitschy.’ So I dare to say that his version was not good.”
Judging the original Total Recall through the eyes of an aughties teen (or a studio executive looking to market a film to an aughties teen), it’s rather simple to see why someone could find the original “cheesy,” especially when they’ve grown up on state-of-the-art special effects and a lack of subversive storytelling.
Verhoeven’s trifecta of (subtle) sci-fi parody (Total Recall, Starship Troopers and RoboCop) holds up immensely well today when judged as such. Anyone approaching those films looking for self-serious action or unintelligent escapism will leave disappointed. Though I enjoyed the remake more than most, it seems it still brings me a bit of joy to see a filmmaker able to stand up and say “see, you didn’t have to remake my film.”
Hollywood will try again with a Verhoeven remake next year with the Joel Kinnaman-lead RoboCop, but judging by recent reports at that how the production is going, perhaps his films are (thankfully) cursed.