Advertisements

Tag Archive: Total Recall


Dark Matter logo

You’ve got to admit, it’s a pretty good title.  And a decent premise.

Dark Horse Comics’ announced the purchase by Syfy Channel of the rights to the 2012 comic book release Dark Matter, a story about a group of space travelers who awaken from stasis on a spaceship with no memory of how they got there.

Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, who wrote the Dark Horse series, will also run the new TV series.  Prodigy Pictures, who produced the Vancouver-based Lost Girls, will produce Dark Matter for Syfy.   Bringing some past talent from proven shows gives us hope for this series.

The crew of the Raza are known by numbers one through six: three men, two women, and a kid.  One of the men was drawn to look like Djimon Hounsou.   By the looks of the comic book art, the cargo-looking ship could exist in the same world as Firefly’s Serenity.  Here’s the description from the comic book: When the six-person crew of a derelict spaceship awaken from stasis in the farthest reaches of space, their memories of their pasts have been wiped clean.  The only clue to their identities is a cargo bay full of weaponry and a destination–a remote mining colony that is about to become a war zone.

Dark Matter

Continue reading

Advertisements

RoboCop and OldmanReview by C.J. Bunce

If you’re a fan of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven science fiction classic RoboCop starring Peter Weller, you might have decided to avoid the reboot showing in theaters this month.  But if you skip the new RoboCop, you’ll be missing out on a great sci-fi vision realized with a stellar cast and cutting edge special effects.  Where recent remakes of classic sci-fi movies didn’t equal the original, as with Tron: Legacy, or completely missed the mark, as with Total Recall or Man of Steel, RoboCop manages to meet or exceed the original in almost every way.

Fundamentally, the original RoboCop is lauded for its social commentary on media, capitalism, and authoritarianism.  The new film hits all of these areas head-on in light of the changing realities of the 21st century.  This begins with a failed, televised peacekeeping mission in Tehran with the giant EV-109 robots (similar to the two-legged walkers in the original film)–predecessors to both the robot/android cops, and later to the man-in-the-machine RoboCop, played by relative newcomer Joel Kinnaman.  Timely elements help bring the storyline into the 21st century, like Detroit’s closed circuit surveillance grid, which makes the RoboCop effective, and parallels the current real-world controversy surrounding drones for spying.

Robocop tehran

The supporting characters are pulled from the headlines, too.  Michael Keaton’s leader of Omnicorp is the typical entrepreneurial Wall Street “big corporation” CEO you’d expect, and Samuel L. Jackson’s talking head Pat Novak might as well have been an impersonation of Fox’s Bill O’Reilly (with some Stephen Colbert dramatics thrown in).

Where Peter Weller’s RoboCop was all machine with little soul, Joel Kinnaman’s version gets to flesh-out (literally) the physical and emotional journey from man to cyborg, in a way touched on in Jake Gyllenhaal’s equally riveting Source Code, but not otherwise fully explored on film before now.  If rumors become reality of Leonardo DiCaprio playing a big-screen version of Bionic Man’s Steve Austin, it will be difficult for audiences to avoid comparisons with this RoboCop, as the stories of both Alex Murphy and Steve Austin have many mirrored origin story scenes that unfold over the course of the film.  This includes a nice performance by Gary Oldman in a superb take on The Six Million Dollar Man’s Dr. Rudy Wells.

Joel Kinnaman;Gary Oldman

Continue reading

Almost Human partners

This year’s TV series Almost Human had the potential to be a big hit, with movie star Karl Urban as one of the two lead actors, and a classic sci-fi plot that looked like it would mix RoboCop, Alien Nation, Blade Runner, and Total Recall.  After a fun but uncertain pilot episode, it has managed to deliver each week the kind of science fiction stories that are stuff of classic TV.  Almost Human isn’t just sci-fi, it’s a full-blown police procedural drama, and a good old-fashioned buddy cop show to boot.

The series centers on megastar-film actor Karl Urban’s future cop, Detective John Kennex.  Kennex is a grumpy guy with baggage, a past encounter gone bad resulted in the death of his partner and the need for a cybernetic leg.  Early detractors of the series likened his Kennex too much to his similarly gruff Doctor McCoy from the new Star Trek movies.  It’s a fair comparison.  But we don’t care.  They are both great characterizations and the miserable, tough guy routine is separable and fun to watch, especially Kennex’s banter with co-star Michael Ealy as almost human robot cop Dorian, an android of a decommissioned type who has become Kennex’s partner.  In fact, the buddy cop routine will make you think of your favorite buddy cop shows, in the league of Alien Nation, Adam-12, Life on Mars, Hot Fuzz, Dragnet, Life, White Collar, and Starsky and Hutch.

Almost Human buddy cops

This week’s episode was emblematic of why the series is destined to continue as long as the network will let it.  The writers basically took the plot from a classic episode of Law and Order about pacemakers being refurbished and placed in new people.  Here, that concept is blended with a current political item: what happens if there is no Affordable Care Act in the future, and a current element of technology some people use every day: the prepaid cell phone.  So how did the writers put it all together?

Continue reading

Liev Schreiber

The exploration of Mars has been the subject of many science fiction productions, especially science fiction thrillers.  One of the best of these was David Tennant’s Doctor Who episode “Waters of Mars” where the good Doctor demonstrates the pitfalls of changing history when he rescues astronauts on a doomed mission to Mars.  The original Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger only used the Mars exploration as a MacGuffin of sorts, but the overall movie resulted in a film classic and the use of Mars as backdrop gave us a new view of the planet as envisioned by  20th century Earthlings.  Other movies have used Mars as a backdrop—Gary Sinise’s Mission to Mars and Red Planet with Val Kilmer and Carrie Anne Moss both at least offered a good-looking landscape.  The more recent John Carter of Mars blended fantasy and sci-fi.  As with most John Carpenter movies, his Ghosts of Mars had a whole bunch of awesome, with a zombie/horror plot and great genre actors Jason Statham and Pam Grier.

The-Last-Days-on-Mars

The American/Irish made science fiction film Last Days on Mars, which premiered this year at Cannes, gets its UK release this weekend, with the U.S. release date yet unknown.   Directed by Ruairi Robinson and written by Clive Dawson, the trailer doesn’t give away a lot.  It could be another forgettable B-movie Mars flick, or it could be something better.

Continue reading

Total Recall Farrell

By Elizabeth C. Bunce

The 2012 remake of Total Recall was one of our most hotly-anticipated films.  Somehow we missed it in the theater, and our first efforts to catch it on video ought to have told us something (two broken Blu-Rays, an extra-long wait for a Netflix copy, and part of the audience dozing off during the initial screening).  It all seemed so promising–proven material, a top-notch cast (Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel, and Kate Beckinsale in her signature running-and-jumping role), and some pretty cool teasers at Comic-Con.  What could go wrong?

Total Recall trip to Australia

Well, as it turns out, everything.  Gloomy set design and glacial pacing dragged down the first act, and while the action sequences are acceptable genre fare, the movie just doesn’t have any zip to it.  The actors seem bored with the material, and the story (which owes more to the Bourne franchise than to Philip K. Dick’s classic short piece “We Can Remember it for You Wholesale”) suffers from utterly uninteresting gimmicks and a preposterous premise.  The villain has one of the least credible goals I can remember seeing in movie (kill everyone in Australia and replace them with robots, and I am not making that up).  But most baffling of all is the filmmakers’ decision to abandon the Recall plot device almost from the get-go.  There is none of the mind-bending “is it real, or is it Recall?” mystery played up so well in the 1990 version starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone, let alone Dick’s bizarre original story.  Why call this film Total Recall at all?  Because they couldn’t get the rights for The Bourne Future?

Continue reading

Review by C.J. Bunce

Allen Purcell, the protagonist in Philip K. Dick’s 1956 novel The Man Who Japed, unexpectedly reminded me of a character from a classic Hollywood film from 1955, Ensign Pulver, from John Ford’s comedy drama Mister Roberts.  If you haven’t seen Mister Roberts or read The Man Who Japed, you’re missing out on two of the best comedic works from their respective creators.

Continue reading

A new movie trailer may explain why Ridley Scott has not been saying anything about what to expect in his new movie Prometheus, the new science fiction film from the universe of the Alien franchise.  Because, like a good magician, he is not going to reveal the big surprises until just the right time.  This is something cool and by itself gets a cybernetic thumb up from borg.com–in its realism, it is oddly prescient, and in its calmness and innocence, something outright creepy.  Check it out:

This new trailer is more an “ad from the world of Prometheus” than a typical trailer with snippets from the movie to entice us to see it.  Like Total Recall with all its advertisements for transplanted memories from the company called Rekall, this advertises something different, something at the core of a lot of science fiction–the ethics of science–just because we can do it, doesn’t mean we should do it.

The ad seems like it may be good for people who like the chilling parts of Philip K. Dick’s science fiction, people who liked the brilliant science fiction film Gattaca, but who also hope that world never arrives.  The character is familiar–we’ve seen androids and similar cybernetic organisms before and have discussed several here at borg.com.  This guy looks like Lieutenant Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, but the eerie quiet and childlike movements also conjure something dark like something you’d get from Stephen King–or maybe like Data just before he malfunctions and takes out the crew of the USS Enterprise.

When and how is this seemingly sentient thing going to break?

Science fiction is often at its best when it shows us tomorrow… failing.  Like the Millenium Falcon with a broken hyperdrive.

This trailer feels like 2001: A Space Odyssey, maybe just because of the choice of the name “Dave”.  Now I am pretty much not a fan of most of Stanley Kubrick’s work.  Despite some neat outer space scenes in 2001, the single scene with HAL and Dave, and some neat set decoration, I’ve never been able to get through the entire film in one sitting.  I just find it stunningly boring every few years when I try it again to see if I will like it this time.  But if Prometheus is like this ad, with this kind of quiet future scary science… this trailer might have elevated Prometheus for me from a future rental to an actual theater ticket.  And that’s saying something because its traditional trailers haven’t convinced me this is something I’ll care about.  But then again, their print ads state this David 8 robot is powered by… wait for it… Verizon.  Umm… right.  And all the restaurants of the future will be Taco Bell.

We probably shouldn’t be surprised that Sir Ridley Scott, creator of the films Blade Runner, Alien, and the recent Prophets of Science Fiction series, has some visionary tricks up his sleeves.  But the release of this very, very different movie promotion struck me as surprising, in a good way.  And if they do the movie right, “Happy Birthday, David” may be the next sci-fi catch phrase.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

Last Thursday we posted the short teaser for the full length trailer for the new Total Recall movie, due to hit theaters August 3, 2012.   The full trailer has finally been released and here it is:

We like seeing John Cho here, the actor who is the new Sulu in the Star Trek franchise and Harold from the Harold and Kumar movies.

Kate Beckinsale seems like an odd choice for the role originally played by Sharon Stone.  But we like the idea of Jessica Biel as Quaid’s old spy partner:

The big action sequence after the memory implant seems a bit off, but we can chalk that up to initial trailer-itis–that inability of Hollywood to get their marketing guys to really nail a good preview from the millions of dollars of film footage.  Colin Farrell will take some getting used to, filling Arnold Schwartzenegger’s shoes.  Still, the cop outfits look great so far:

The trailer looks like this might be a bit in the vein of Paycheck, the Philip K. Dick short story adapted to film starring Ben Affleck and Uma Thurman–and a very fun film at that.  Here is the official movie poster for the film:

There seems to be a lull in getting some good sci-fi, fantasy, or superhero movies into the theaters right now.  Maybe it’s this crazy early spring but it seems like we’ve been waiting for some new movies for a while now… waiting and waiting… Bring on the summer blockbusters!  Avengers isn’t out for another month!

Speaking of yesterday’s discussion of Cybermen and The Borg, another well known borg sci-fi character was the subject of a New York Times article this week:  RoboCop is being resurrected for the big screen this year, one of several remakes of 1980s properties, such as 21 Jump Street and Dirty Dancing, coming soon to a theater near you.

Unfortunately there is not much information yet released, especially no photos yet of the police uniform for the 2013 RoboCop production.  Peter Weller, who we learned this year will be featured in the next Star Trek movie, originally dawned the steel armor of the downed cop who, like the Bionic Man, was rebuilt to fight the forces of evil in the U.S.  The original costume is instantly recognizable, but early word from production is that we will see a very different police armor uniform for the new RoboCop.

Although it is not quite as cool as the original RoboCop, I am a fan of the Iowa State Patrol uniform worn by the officer hunting down a young James T. Kirk in the future Riverside, Iowa in Star Trek 2009:

I’m still not sure if that was a good protective outfit for a human cop, or whether that android face mask reflects an actual android, or this was meant to be a cyborg creation.  Either way, it’s a pretty good outfit.

Years ago Academy Award winners Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock showed us the prim and proper cops of the future city of San Angeles, where we learned “In the future, all restaurants are Taco Bell.”

My fellow Trekkies will recognize those belts being re-used in the Mirror Universe of the Enterprise TV series by evil Captain Archer & Co.  These guys looked believable.  But no armor!

And this year’s coming remake of Total Recall features another slick looking future cop:

Note that the new Total Recall takes no obvious design queues from Paul Verhoeven’s original Total Recall.  So it should be no surprise if the new RoboCop takes no design queues from Verhoeven’s RoboCop.  Verhoeven’s RoboCop was inspired by the future cop from the comic book 2000 A.D., Judge Dredd, and Verhoeven’s RoboCop has been interpreted as a retelling of sorts of the original Judge Dredd story because of several common themes, and, of course, the mask.  Although the Sylvester Stallone future cop in Judge Dredd didn’t adhere totally to the original story, he did have a mask, but his uniform was a bit strange:

Future cops are definitely “in” these days.  Karl Urban (Bones in Star Trek 2009, Eomer in Lord of the Rings, Xena, Bourne Supremacy, Chronicles of Riddick) will be starring in a new version of Judge Dredd, that Urban says comes more from the course material, titled Dredd and expected to be released in September 2012.

Far less interesting are the precrime future cop uniforms from Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, based on Philip K. Dick’s short story of the same name:

For the new RoboCop, José Padilha is slated to direct a screenplay by Nick Schenk and Joshua Zetumer.  Thirty-three year old actor Joel Kinnaman has been tapped for the lead role as Murphy/RoboCop.  Of the creative trio, Schenk is the best known for his sceenplay for Clint Eastwood’s (awesome) film, Gran Torino.  Kinnaman had a small role in last year’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and as Stephen Holder in the TV series, The Killing.

Here is the the marketing blurb for the new film: “In a crime-ridden city, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg with submerged memories haunting him.”

Unlike the new RoboCop, the original RoboCop rarely removed his helmet.

Padilha and Kinnaman have disclosed thus far that the new RoboCop will be a very different film than the original, with a costume where you can see the RoboCop’s eyes, and they’d said that the focus of the new story will be the period from Murphy getting shot to becoming RoboCop, as opposed to an action film where RoboCop serves as a futuristic officer.  So this seems a bit like the path of Martin Caidin’s original Bionic Man story as told in his novel Cyborg.

Ronny Cox and the earlier, non-cyborg version, from the original film

My favorite scene, and the one I hope they do include in some way, is the scene where the non-cyborg RoboCop before Weller’s is revealed to be flawed and destroys one of the executives in the board room at the big reveal.

The current release date is scheduled for August 9, 2013.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com

I’ve got to admit, I can’t get enough of movies based on the works of Philip K. Dick.  And even though I can’t imagine anyone playing Cohaagen better than the great sci-fi character actor Ronny Cox (Robocop, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stargate, Medium), I am sure Bryan Cranston (The Flash, X-Files, Breaking Bad, John Carter) will do nicely.  I’m talking about Total Recall–the new adaptation of Dick’s short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” originally adapted 22 years ago into the 1990 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger at the peak of his acting career, which became a sci-fi classic.  Since last year when we saw the Columbia Pictures display across the street from the San Diego Comic-Con, revealing one of the future cops and police vehicles, we’ve been eagerly looking forward to this film.

Columbia just released a teaser for a trailer coming this Sunday.  That’s right–a teaser for a teaser.  Check it out:

You can also find some early marketing at the official Total Recall website.

Colin Farrell (Minority Report, Phone Booth, Daredevil), Kate Beckinsale (Underworld, Much Ado About Nothing), Jessica Biel (Stealth, Next), Bill Nighy (Shaun of the Dead, Doctor Who, Harry Potter, Underworld, Pirates of the Caribbean), Ethan Hawke (Gattaca), John Cho (Star Trek)–that’s a pretty good cast with something for everyone.  And consistent with past envisioning of Dick’s future Earth, this teaser looks a good deal like the art design is similar to that used in Minority Report, which also featured Colin Farrell.  Still, at 30 seconds this one truly is a teaser in the truest sense of the word.

So we can look forward to even more this Sunday!  But the release date?  August 3, 2012.  Ugh!!  Enough teasing already.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com