Total Recall was a huge hit in 1990 that further cemented Arnold Schwarzeneggers status as Americas premier action-movie hero and gave audiences a glimpse of how life might look in the year 2084.
It was also not a very good movie. That statement might irk fans already outraged over the remake of Total Recall, which opened this weekend and prompted some to wonder why Hollywood tinkered with a film that was just fine the first time.
To those people I say: See it again, then decide if its possible to improve on a movie in which Schwarzenegger says things like Consider that a divorce, after killing onscreen wife Sharon Stone. The answer may come back yes.
Actually, though, theres another reason to spend some time with the 1990 Recall: to see how much of its vision of the future has come true. Its not unusual for a sci-fi movie to seem prescient, especially one based on a Philip K. Dick work – in this case, the short story We Can Remember It for You Wholesale. (FYI: A lot of the stuff in Minority Report also is actually happening.) But its still entertaining to see how the Total Recall filmmakers created some gadgets that are mainstream today:
TV walls: In the 1990 version of 2084, Schwarzeneggers character and his duplicitous wife, played by Stone, watch television on a digital wall. Which is essentially the way a lot of Americans watch it now.
Full-body scans: Before getting on the Total Recall equivalent of the subway, commuters walk through full-body scanners to make sure they have no weapons. Which is just ridiculous. In America, how would we ever reach a point where we have to get a complete X-ray before using transporta– uh, never mind.
Visual phone conversations: In Recall 1990, some characters engage in videoconferencing. They dont call it Skyping, but .
Tracking a persons location: Schwarzeneggers pursuers follow him via a portable screen that shows his location as a red dot on a map. You know, the way we all find our way around now, using our iPhones. (Man, Schwarzenegger could have saved his enemies so much time if hed just had the decency to check in on Foursquare.)
Holograms: Theres a flesh-and-blood version of Schwarzenegger and a hologram version. Unfortunately, the filmmakers werent forward-thinking enough to also feature a hologram version of Tupac Shakur.
JohnnyCabs: Many of the taxis in Total Recall were famously driven by robots. We havent innovated enough to create creepy animatronic Chuck E. Cheese characters to do our driving.
Memory implants: The premise of Total Recall is the notion that a company could implant memories in our cerebrums, making them seem like actual experiences. This has not happened yet, as far as this writer knows. Although one wonders if the people who still love the first Recall had the idea injected into their brains.