Customer Review

637 of 670 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Last of the big rubber effects movies., September 24, 2001
This review is from: Total Recall (Special Limited Edition) (DVD)
I have to take umbrage at the person who made rude comments about how all the martians mutants with their foam latex appliances looked fake and lowered the quality of the film. I am part of the team that made all those crummy appliances. You can find my name in the credits under Rob Bottin. Actually I agree with you and I also think the scene where everyone decompresses and their eyes pop out on stalks then pop back in again when air pressure returns was totally preposterous. Total Recall was one of the last big films where effects were still done with rubber and mechanical animatronics pulled with cables. Many people thought the fat lady head slice gag was done with computers but it was a fiberglass head enlarged many times by soaking a silicone casting of the head in kerosene. The head was sliced with a special saw and a special array of slide bearings rigged with cables were pulled to open the slices. Makeup artists spent hours between shots filling up the gaps in the slices with wax so you could not detect them until the head was pulled apart. We were very proud of that effect and got applause from the crew when they saw it for the first time. Other effects did not go so well. Johnny Cab (Bob Picardo) was supposed to be very animated. His mouth was designed to open wide and form shapes but the servos would not work properly so in the film you see him mostly just bounce his jaw up and down with some minor lip movement. The guy in charge of repairing Johnny Cab stayed up four sleepless days and when it still didn't work was yelled at and mercilessly berated by the FX supervisor and later that day almost died of a bleeding stomach. On the good side Bennie the mutant cab driver has a mutant arm that is a beautiful thing to watch unfold and easily missed if you are not paying attention. You probably won't hear these uglier stories on the supplemental disc but if you are a fan of Total Recall and like to hear interesting background stories, this is certainly the version of the disc you should buy. Paul Verhoven with his deep German accent and extreme personality combined with Arnolds thick Austrian accent and ego should make for one of the most incomprehensible commentaries in the history of DVDs. Just kidding. Both are dynamic guys and present the material in an interesting fashion.
Total Recall is about a miner named Quaid (Arnold Schwartzennegger at the very peak of his career) who seemingly has a beautiful wife (Sharon Stone)and a nice home. He has a fascination with Mars that disturbs his wife to distraction. One day he decides to take a simulated vacation from Rekall where memories are implanted in your brain to make you feel you have been on an extended vacation. What Rekall does not know is Quaid is not who he appears to be or who he thinks he is. Something goes wrong when Rekall unknowingly plants Quaid's own real memories of being a secret agent on Mars into his brain. Quaids brain is temporarily fried and he has to quickly rediscover his true identity before a team of counteragents kill him for what he knows.
Total Recall was originaly intended to keep the audience guessing about what was real and what was only imagined. However this was dropped with the exception of one memorable scene. From what I could observe on the set I think Paul Verhoven realized the effects had taken over the movie and there was no point in making this a psychological action thriller. So he resigned himself to play it as a straight up Arnold vehicle packed with slam bang effects and some wicked Verhoven humor. This was too bad because I think many people feel it could have been a much more of a movie than what it was. Instead this is wild mindless action, violence taken to excess and effects for pure escapism purposes . If this is your cup of tea, than Total Recall may be the thrill ride you are looking for.
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Comments

Tracked by 10 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 58 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 8, 2008 5:58:18 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Jul 11, 2012 11:08:55 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 12, 2009 4:53:18 AM PST
C. A. Luster says:
Ya Ya un Aunold is nicht German eider. He is Australian, so vat. I knew what he was saying.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 31, 2009 7:47:04 PM PST
SandmanVI says:
Actually he's Austrian not Australian.... but I knew vat you were saying.

Posted on May 29, 2009 7:41:29 AM PDT
Thanks a lot for these interesting details about the special effects. Hope you still have work in the age of CGI

Posted on Jun 7, 2009 9:35:05 AM PDT
Paul Verhoeven (not Verhoven) is Dutch, not German. I thought the special effects in Total Recall were amazing, especially when I saw the film in the theater when it was released today. Sure, the eyes popping out is silly and obviously fake but it's science fiction ... And the effects were very inventive and in parts of the film just plain amazing!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 11, 2009 9:42:49 AM PST
J.R.Love says:
I must be lame,I just enjoyed the show.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2010 2:47:16 PM PST
P. Anderson says:
God bless you, J. Loveless.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 16, 2010 9:28:47 PM PST
Wanderlust says:
I agree. I loved the movie from start to finish but the eyes popping out is the one thing that I seem to always remember too.

Posted on Mar 8, 2010 7:28:06 AM PST
Techno Toad says:
Thanks for sharing. There is something about Paul Verhoeven's sci-fi/action flicks that makes them extremely appealing: Robocop, Total Recall and Starship Troopers, with the exception of Hollow Man are movies that I can watch over and over again without getting bored, a quality very few movies possess. Thrill Ride? Escapism? Perhaps exactly that, but there is always something more behind the action and the coherent atmosphere that keeps you engaged. It is a subtle criticism of people and society that, contrary to the sometimes graphic physical violence doesn't come down on you with a sledgehammer. Paul doesn't like to berate but doesn't settle for mindless fun either. I love his style.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2010 6:03:57 AM PDT
C. R. Emery says:
thanks for the insider info. all these years later, even the age of CGI, I still just love this movie. am buying it today for my 2-1/2-year-old grandson who I am sure will love it. and while the arm unfolding rocked, and the eyeball popping was cool, we cannot forget the three-breasted woman!!
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