Total Recall: 2012 vs 1990 vs… 1966

Published 2 years ago by

Total Recall 2012 vs 1990 vs 1966 Total Recall: 2012 vs 1990 vs... 1966

Even before the film was released in theaters, Len Wiseman’s Total Recall created loads of confusion among fans of Paul Verhoeven’s 1990 action film as well as Philip K. Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.” For months the “remake” filmmakers attempted to distance Total Recall 2012 from the prior movie, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role of Douglas Quaid, asserting that the new film would be truer to the short story source material.

Ultimately, “truer” seems to mean more grounded – considering the new film swaps out Mars, mutants, and aliens, for a more terrestrial conflict featuring a post-apocalyptic Earth landscape, robots, and corrupt politicians. As a result, how does Total Recall (2012) compare to Total Recall (199o) as well as the “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” storyline? We’ve taken the time to breakdown various elements of the three plots – to help fans distinguish between Dick’s original idea and Verhoeven as well as Wiseman’s creative liberties.

It goes without saying that the following comparison contains MAJOR SPOILERS for both Total Recall films as well as Philip K. Dick’s original narrative. If you do not want to be spoiled, look away now – and catch Total Recall (read our review) in theaters, pick up the 1990 version, and read “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale.”

Start reading our Total Recall: 2012 vs 1990 vs… 1966 feature for a look at the various protagonists, locations, and conflicts in the film…

« 1 2 3 4»

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:
TAGS: total recall

58 Comments

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to Gravatar.com and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.


If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it.

  1. Arnold was my favorite when I was younger. After seeing the new Conan and this new Total Recall, I wish they’d stop re-doing his movies! Just stop. I’m tired of seeing awesome movies (and songs, for that matter) re-done.

    In fact, just have Jason Statham do all action movies. He’s the only good one these days.

  2. Typo: In the “Final Outcome” section, in the “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” bullet, the name “Quail” is used initially, but subsequent references (still in the 1st bullet) use the name “Quaid”.

    Great comparison. Thanks!

  3. The 1990 film was amasing for its time. A little
    Though some of the visual effects and futuristic ideas were pretty cool. Over all I thought the movie was an excuse to make money off of a brilliant authors idea. And wiserman probably thought, that through association of a popular 90s movie, people will go see this movie even if its bad. Cha Ching!!

  4. Over all I thought the movie was an excuse to make money off of a brilliant authors idea. And wiserman probably thought, that through association of a popular 90s movie, people will go see this movie even if its bad. Cha Ching!!

  5. The 1990 film was amasing for its time. A little cheesy but good film making and good story telling. The 2012 version is terrible. Half way through my girlfriend and I just started talking about what we were going to do for valintines day. Colin ferrel is a good actor. Unfortunately, Wiserman is a terrible director and a worse film maker. He altered the story line to make the wife the main villain to give kate beckensdale (his wife) a starring role. Cgi never looks real. It is cheating for film makers in my opinion. Also, It’s becoming a new trend for bad film makers, to take someone else’s successful idea, and clone it into a passionless visual stimulation fest. The whole movie, I could sence the key grips, Hollywood employees and a director telling the the actors what to do in every scene. That’s not good film making.

    Though some of the visual effects and futuristic ideas were pretty cool.

  6. The original Total Recall is by far the better movie, hands down. The new one doesn’t even produce any intrigue or over the edge excitement. Too bad, good actors who were really desparate for a script.

  7. Why is it so important that the tattoo be the indicator of dreaming or not? He never fell asleep. He was never given a moment to stop the dream, and when his buddy tries to talk him down, if he were really an apparition of the friend then the friend would know Lori wasn’t at work cause quaid knows that. And in the book, all his experiences are not dreams, so if the remake is truer to the source material then the remake must be all real. Case closed in my head.

  8. Neither of the movies are great but I’d say the original is better. The remake takes itself too seriously while Arnie’s version was just dumb over the top fun and didn’t try to be anything else. The R rating on the original also helps.