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Sci-Fi Reboots: Dredd vs. Total Recall

This is Law-Kall!

If there’s any reboot that people are bound to flock to this year, it’s The Amazing Spider-Man.  Marc Webb’s take on the comic book hero is pulling an Incredible Hulk on us by coming just five years after its spiritual predecessor.  Early reviews have been positive enough to guarantee that, unless it happens to bomb worse than Raimi’s castration of Venom, we’ll see at least one sequel.

But while Spider-Man joins Batman and the Avengers for the summertime superhero infestation, two films set for a later release have caught my eyes.

First we have the remake of Total Recall, this time seeing Colin Farrell follow up Arnie’s role from the 1990 version.  Like most of the reboots and updates we’ve seen, Len Wiseman’s Total Recall looks darkly dystopian.  So no, it hardly looks any different from all the other films that have ripped off Blade Runner for the past 30 years.  But if we were sick of the same things, film and sports would be as dead as knock knock jokes.  And let’s be honest, good as the original Total Recall was, it hasn’t exactly aged well; not to mention the fact it’s an above average mill of one-liners.  Though I’m not anticipating this to be to Philip K. Dick’s story as The Dark Knight is to Batman, a modernization doesn’t seem as pointless as many other recent sequels, remakes and spin-offs.  The remake looks more level-headed to say the least, and though Farrell wouldn’t be my first choice, he can do well with the right material and director.  Although I don’t think anything he does in the future will top Phone Booth.

Based on the trailer, the Rekall place Farrell visits might not be directly in-line with the people hunting him down.  This could make for a small scene versus business dynamic, but knowing the source material it’ll probably wind up being one of those double agent (or double company?) scenarios.  Either way, I hope we get some creative divergences from the original.  In particular, I’d like to see a twist to the original ending.

Then we have the remake of 1995’s infamous Judge Dredd adaptation.  The remake’s clever, shortened name?  Dredd.  Does this mean the film itself will be half as long?  Now if one of these sci-fi films will truly benefit from a newer, darker look, it’s definitely Judge Dredd.  There were two things Total Recall definitely had over Judge Dredd: the story actually required paying a bit of attention and it managed to be good in spite of the one-liners.  Even with the slated September release date, we hardly got a poster of Dredd until recently.  Now that we (finally) have a full-fledged trailer, we can see just how different and similar the film is simultaneously.  On one hand, we should be getting a more investible environment and story here.  And on the other it looks just like–you guessed it: any other Blade Runner inspired film.  One of the many things comic book fans weren’t so fond of in Judge Dredd was the fact Stallone took off the mask/helmet (we’ll call it a masket).  This time, however, Karl Urban of Star Trek, Doom and The Lord of the Rings will play judge, jury and executioner with the word being his masket never comes off.

One potential qualm I already have with the film is that I’ll always be able to tell Urban is acting, since he’s clearly trying to gruff up his voice.  But hey, it’s a step up from Stallone’s “law” and “I knew you’d say that” deliveries.  Beyond that, we have the usual mix of incredible technology but slum-ridden cities for the setting.  The drug used in the film (literally called “SLO-MO”) will probably appeal to some of the more…laid back audience members.  What I’m most curious about, as one who never read the comics, is how identifying with the characters will play out.  Just from the costume design, the judges scream symbolism of the law’s power, which not everyone is always so fond of.  And yet the people they’re against are being played up as the antagonists, so it might make for an interesting anti-hero scenario.

I doubt either film will leave a particularly big splash at the box office, especially since, after The Dark Knight Rises, our wallets will likely be gasping.  But in a summer littered with comic book superheroes and stale comedies, I’m up for a bit of standard, decent sci-fi flair.

Which do you think will stand above the other?

 
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Posted by on June 26, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

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Parallels in Time: Terminator 2 to The Terminator

Most people re-watch the films they like, often on several occasions.  For many people, including myself, the first two Terminator films are probably among the most frequently watched films of all time.  And like a book that only gets better with each subsequent reading, viewers are bound to notice things they didn’t pick up on before.  Sometimes these can even be parallels from film to film.  Combine several viewings with one’s OCD tendencies and even the most arbitrary things will match up.  And because these are films that we’ll probably never get sick of talking about, here are some parallels I’ve noticed between James Cameron’s sci-fi companions, The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

Parallels are not a part of my mission.

Both films open with a scene from the future.

Kyle and Sarah make their getaway in a “late model gray Ford” (the film was released in ’84); the car which the T-800, Sarah and John escape with in Terminator 2 is a similarly styled sedan.

Both Sarah (in The Terminator) and John (in Terminator 2) are attacked by the Terminator sent to kill them through the windshield of a car; the main difference being Sarah was attacked from the front of a car and John from the back.

The way the T-800 in Terminator 2 is thrown through the glass in the mall parallels the way the T-800 in The Terminator was shot through the glass by Kyle at Tech Noir.

Sarah (in The Terminator) and John both initially drive cheap, low-end motorbikes.  John’s was a dirt bike while Sarah’s was a moped.

Both films end with a shot on the road.

Much of the key stretches in both movies take place at night.

In both films, Arnold attacks three individuals at the beginning; the three punks in The Terminator and three at the bar in Terminator 2 (the man he takes clothes from, the man who attacks him with a pool stick and the man who stabs him).

How dare you pick apart our redundancies.

Both films have three chase sequences, at least one of which (in each film) involves a large truck.

In the middle of both final chase scenes, (one of) the vehicles our heroes use to flee from the Terminator/T-1000 are toppled over.

During these same chase scenes, the person attempting to ward of the Terminator (Kyle in The Terminator, Sarah in Terminator 2) is injured by a gunshot.

During the last act of both films, each Terminator sent to kill chases our heroes with a motorcycle (if briefly).

The primary gun of choice used by the protectors sent back through time (Kyle in The Terminator, the T-800 in Terminator 2) in the first half of each film is a shotgun.

In both movies, Arnold attacks several cops.  In The Terminator he kills 17 of them; in Terminator 2 he does it to scare them off without actually killing any.

Both films take place over the course of roughly 1-2 days.

Seriously, how many more can you pick out?

Both films have us watch a (pre-recorded) video of a person who tells of their “visions of the future,” if you will.  In The Terminator, it’s Kyle, who’s actually experienced the war of the future.  In Terminator 2, it’s Sarah during one of her evaluations in which she sees/imagines the nuclear fire of Judgment Day.

Both films have a brief “FPS shot.”  In The Terminator, it’s right before Arnold bursts into the motel room Sarah and Kyle shared.  In Terminator 2, it’s in the steel mill when Arnold faces the T-1000 (who attacks right after the said shot).

The first words each protector from the future says to Sarah are “come with me if you want to live.”

Arnold briefly uses a younger male’s voice to disguise himself in both films.  In The Terminator, it’s of a cop (1L19); in Terminator 2, it’s of John.

In both films, Arnold loses his sunglasses by actions of a female character (Sarah running him off his motorcycle in The Terminator and a female cop hitting him in the face in Terminator 2).  This would be repeated two more times in Terminator 3, both involving confrontations with the T-X.

When Arnold says “I’ll be back,” in both films he returns by crashing a vehicle into a building.

Sarah has at least one nightmare/vision of the future in both films (she has two in the extended cut of Terminator 2).

You think you’re clever…

Both Terminators sent to assassinate send at least one person through a wall.

Both Terminators sent to assassinate also find out where the person they’re hunting is from a phone/transmitted message.  In The Terminator, it’s Ginger’s answering machine; in Terminator 2, it’s a cop radio at Miles Dyson’s house.

Including the extended cut of Terminator 2, each film has a scene where we literally get under the skin of Arnold as a Terminator.  In the first film, Arnold cuts one of his eyes off himself.  In Terminator 2’s extended cut, Sarah and John peel off part of Arnold’s head and drill into his head to access the CPU.

And just for kicks, the black guy in both films isn’t the first one to die!

Know of any parallels between the films I missed?  Let me (and others) know below in the comment section!

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2012 in Film, Movies

 

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