There really was something special with the original Total Recall movie!
It's not so much the ambiguity regarding whether the main character is dreaming, or not, or if it's some sort of hybrid between a dream and reality (a psychosis?), but the atmosphere of it all. It's not just the props, like the creepy taxi driver or the probably green-screened wall to emulate a TV. Nor is it the gray and dystopian future architecture (they pictured that part eerily correctly). It's not only the small, scrawny as-envisioned-only-in-the-eighties futuristic cars, strip club with a dwarf girl and a three-boobed lady, the mutants, the bulging eyes as a certain character gasps for breath on the Martian surface. It's not the hologram, or guns, or all fancy gadgetry of the new world. It's not just that: it's the characters. The clash of old and new. The colors. The personalities. The way they make the dystopia creative, and the Martian power plant in all it's surprisingly timeless digital interpretational glory.
It's mostly the colors, of both the surrounding and characters. I watched the new movie not so long ago (and plan to watch again right after this to get a better film-to-film comparison), but it was dark, and bleak, and all too realistic. All too dystopian. All too black and depressing - while this old version tackles the topics of dreams, and delusion, and paranoia, all in full color. The ways are equally creepy, but at the same time it manages to keep both surrounding cast and scenery refreshing - gritty and gray, but also imaginative and ambitious. It's not like the modern-day take at all. It's creative. It's fresh. It's billowing, and bashful, and the main characters are either blonde, busty or brawny or both. It's the eighties, and there's just something about the eighties! The action choreography's not all authentic, but it's effectual, and in this one movie it's particularly gritty.
I like everything about it, as much as I like the sometimes a bit superficial, but at times dark, and deep, and all but undamaged intrigue of Total Recall. Almost thirty years later: it's still got it.
The difference between the regular and the 'mind bending' edition, as I watched? Basically: it looks better. Restoration? Remastery? Not sure what the difference is exactly, or how different it looks since I'm not sure I've ever seen the original, but it should be better. There's an inspiring commentary and interview if you go for those too. The extras are almost as interesting as the movie itself - delving into techniques and topics of past-day production, and old props and techniques are some of the most fascinating things, creative as the generation that birthed them.
Great watch. Just as I recall.
rated 4/5: fo shizzle