Anyone can tell you if a trailer "looks good" or not. But Drew Magary, who spent over a decade working in advertising, is here to tell you whether or not a trailer WORKS. This week's trailer? "Total Recall".
If you're like me, you felt very, very old and very, very confused the day they announced they were remaking "Total Recall." Why would they remake a movie that was done in 1990? A movie that, effects-wise, still holds up today (Johnny Cab excepted)? Have we now entered the phase in which Hollywood simply remakes its own movies shot-for-shot every decade or so?
Now, there are some differences between the old "Total Recall" and the new one. The old one had Arnold. This one has Colin Farrell. The old one took place on Mars. This one takes place on Earth. And, well, that would be about it. Is that enough to make you want to implant a second TR movie into your memory? Let's watch the brand new trailer and see.
Does this trailer let us know what the movie's about? Yes. If you're unfamiliar with the original, this one gets you up to speed real quick: Colin Farrell is living in the future where there are, like, ceiling cars and stuff. He decides to visit the folks at Rekall (same name as in the original) to get a memory implanted in his brain, a false memory of him being a secret agent. After that, all heck breaks loose.
Jessica Biel on Kicking Butt in "Total Recall'
Seriously, is anything different here? Not much. The dystopian Earth that Farrell lives in doesn't look all that different from the enclosed Mars landscape of the Paul Verhoeven original. The memory implant chair is the same. There's also another love triangle, with Farrell caught between his wife (Kate Beckinsale) and a rogue agent (Jessica Biel). Real rough life this guy has. Who needs a memory implant when you're married to Kate freakin' Beckinsale?
Is there a Biel/Beckinsale catfight? There is! SWEET.
Why are there storm troopers in this movie? No idea.
Are there any women with three boobs? It wouldn't appear so. There are very few signs of mutants in this version, but Bill Nighy is on hand to play Kuato, so they have to factor in at some point. Open your mind to me, Mr. Quaid...
In future, will all Asian people have blonde hair? They will!
Who's the bad guy? Bryan Cranston, playing Cohaagen. But he's barely in this trailer, so it's no lock that he'll be able to match the evil stylings of Ronny Cox. COME AHN COHAAAAAAAGEN, YOU GOT WHAT YOU WANT GIVE DOSE PEOPLE DE AY-AHHHHH!
Any of Arnold's one liners reprised? Yes. "If I am not me, then who the hell am I?" They tossed a "hell" in there. Surely that's worth ten bucks.
Does stuff blow up real good? It does. Farrell learns he has super crazy awesome fighting powers and can crash a ceiling car with uncommon grace.
Does this trailer work? No. The effects here are quite stunning, but this really does seem to be a re-hashing of the original film, without that movie's perverse sense of humor or brazen Arnold-ness. Unfortunately for director Len Wiseman, you can't wipe that away so easily.