Comparison – Total Recall old and new

Ok, so finally here is the Total Recall review, I warn you now, this will contain spoilers, so if you don’t want any, watch the movie first.

Total-Recall1

I decided to make this a comparison, because I watched a review from Doug Walker as The Nostalgia Critic and That SciFi Guy (Leo Thompson). As such, I’m going to illustrate why the original with Schwarzenegger is a much better piece of writing, compared to the new one. I don’t like doing that, but I feel because simply the review of the new one would be kind of considered snobbish, without context of relating it to its predecessor, as some people have not watched the old one. The problems with the old one, are that it has tropes, like many of Arnold’s movies, but its one of the few gems that not only has a fantastic story adapted from Phillip K. Dick’s story “We can remember it for you, wholesale”, but that it’s still a great movie to watch and be entertained.

Being that I enjoy most of Arnold’s movies, I might have a slight skew on this, but its negligible compared to the issues the new movie has. While they removed the tropes that made the old movie cliché in ways, they didn’t give enough depth to specific scenes and characters to let the story develop. They focused on making bigger and better scenes in the movie, and letting the writing slip. This is because, the movie suffers from opposing ideas of 2 different screenwriters. Sometimes this can happen within a movie, where the movie seems like its bi-polar. We start to tread down the path of explanation and exposition, then boom we get whipped back into the other direction to have more action scenes to move the pace along.

This becomes a problem, where there is one pivotal moment in the story, that both movies have. Quaid is presented with the mental conundrum that what he is seeing and doing may not be reality as he knows it. Both times he went to Recall (Rekall in the new one), to have the super spy treatment on Mars. Where things differ between movies is that in Arnold’s movie, we’re actually on Mars and he is being shot at like he’s a super spy, and is having an adventure as per what he paid for at Recall.

So everything is believable including the point in the movie where they have someone try to use psychology to trick Quaid into surrendering. In the old movie, Quaid is able to see through this ploy because if it were merely an illusion and it were in his head, why would the image of someone important, like a doctor with confidence be showing fear in his eyes and sweating visibly? So Quaid rejects the false pretence given to him and kills the man.

In the new one, we have Quaid’s friend being in this role, and its all wasted because Colin Farrell overacts and the friend shows so much confidence and no subtle hint that he’s lying, that we don’t truly know why Quaid rejects his friend’s claims. He just rejects it because that’s what he’s supposed to do, to move the plot along. It’s the problem with remakes, they want to retell the same story, but they miss the point of the way the old movie is written. Similar to how Dick himself wrote in other stories, to give the reader a subtle hint as where the story is heading, and those able to pick up on it, can see WHY people do things.

With that major point being out-of-the-way, I’m going to move on to acting. I find everyone in the movie does an excellent job with what they are given, with a few exceptions. I really don’t like Colin Farrell as Douglas Quaid in this movie, I can see why they put him in this role, but when his other self is played by Ethan Hawke; a much better character actor, it makes me want this movie to star him in the leading role. Jessica Biel does a great job for someone whom isn’t totally an action star, granted she did have an action role in Blade Trinity. She did fine with the role she was given, she didn’t really make it her own and roll with it, like in Blade 3, but she didn’t phone it in.

Now we come to the role of Doug’s fake wife in the movie, Lori. Played by the Director’s wife, Kate Beckinsale, I enjoy the character in this movie, I don’t know why they let her keep her accent in the movie, but I guess it’s because she sometimes has trouble with others. Lori to me is better portrayed in Arnold’s Recall, because who wouldn’t want to wake up next to a hot and young Sharon Stone in the morning. Putting that thought aside for a moment, the new version of Lori is fantastic, mainly because she is a combination of 2 characters from the old movie. In the old one we had Michael Ironside as the lead pursuer after Quaid as Richter, the overzealous bad ass. In the new one, Lori is the lead pursuer in charge of taking down Quaid.

They probably changed it because in the old one, Richter had a lackey that was just there, and didn’t really need to be. As such we get someone who’s just as good in the action scenes. I don’t want to bring about a bigger spoiler involving Beckinsale’s Lori that shows up later, I’d rather you find out that yourself. As its one of the few good scenes in the movie. Now onto Cohaagen, this character does go through a change, but it’s a good one. Both Ronny Cox and Bryan Cranston are awesome actors to have as villains, as such in the new movie, Cohaagen has even more moxy compared to Cox’s version. Every movie I see with Cranston, I tend to enjoy, especially if he’s in a major role. I really liked him as the villain in this one.

The only nitpick I have to say about Ronny Cox’s version of Cohaagen, is something that tended to happen to Ronny throughout the years in movies and TV shows… Is that he tends to play the same basic character for every villain and some semi-good characters. So he is a bit typecast in his villains. One of the exceptions is the Beverly Hills Cop movies. Which is for a different type of blog entry. Now with the Leader of the resistance, as this is a revolution sort of story; is played by Bill Nighy, who does a good job, but his character is cut very short in this movie. Even more so than in the old one.

In terms of premise of story basis, both movies are a revolutionary tale, as such the old movie does this better, in that it’s a corporation wanting to cash in on Mars inhabitants needing air. Where as this one is a dystopian plot involving a calamity which makes land valuable with the government, all on earth. Which brings me to 2 major plot devices in this movie, one of which is a glaring plothole the size of… oh I don’t know, say the planet!

This is brought up in other people’s reviews, one of which is Noah Antwiler’s, where there is a giant Elevator through the planet, going right through the Earth’s mantle and core. This isn’t explained in any way, it’s just there, and used as a big plot device later in the movie. The other plot device is related to Doug’s job. In the old one, he was a construction worker so it was short and simple. This one, he’s a technician helping to assemble and inspect robots, that later are found to be an army made for the government (Way to recycle I, Robot’s plot there, guys).

Special Effects: What can I say, it’s basically what I wanted from the trailer that they showed, and since it was Len Wiseman, we had his usual moving camera and stylized vision.

Noteworthy items: In the movies, the company Recall is portrayed differently. In the old one, it’s a very clean, and professional company. In the new one, it’s a black market dealer, played by John Cho, who (to me) does a better sales pitch than the old movie’s sales guy. In the old movie, we had the seedy bar featuring the 3 boob hooker. This one also has said woman, played by a new person this time, and instead of a bar, its outside Rekall, haha. It’s a blatant throwback, but at least its good fan service.

Final Thoughts on the new one: The movie isn’t bad, mostly. It just needed a rewrite by a third screen writer, so he could blend the ideas of both previous screenwriters and give us more depth and exposition where it really needed it. I consider it a good re-hash of the same ideas and elements of the old movie without the tropes and with really nice special effects. Also a couple of twists that weren’t in the old one.

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Conventioning… A Walk Around Con Bravo Part 3

Sorry about the long wait people, been dealing with personal issues lately. Being jobless during a record time for unemployment, makes things difficult. One of the few luxuries I have at the moment, that doesn’t cost me money, is the internet, for now.

Act 3 – Sunday July 29th, 2012

So, on Sunday, Brent and I packed our stuff, so we could check out of our room at the motel we were staying at. Heading back to the Con for the final day. Running on ice caps and bagels,  and also getting a party pack of timbits for a certain someone’s timbit party, (Details on that below).

Atop Of The 4th Wall 200 Episode Screening!

I went to the 200th episode screening, while Brent went to get another picture with Doug Walker, and get Lindsey and Todd to sign his stuff. After a few technical issues with the audio, Linkara showed us what he had in store for Episode 200. Something he’d vowed to never touch, but said “To hell with it, let’s do One More Day.” A comic most spider-man fans and comic book fanatics know, or at least  should know for making Peter look about as deep as a kiddy pool. The man responsible: Joe Quesada. Some people want his head on a stick for this, but some of us hating this comic, can at least forgive, as he’s done some good work previously. I’m not going to go into One More Day’s details, just watch Linkara’s video, he says it all.

Part 1 and Part 2

There is also a Q&A special he has listed on his blip.tv as well.

Brent was at the signings in the Atrium, before popping back for a few minutes before the timbit party next door got underway. The hilarious-ness and general bashing of One More Day is definitely a favourite of mine, as I’ve seen others tackle the giant turd from Spider-man’s past.

 

here are a couple of images, Brent managed to capture.

After the screening, which did run for longer than a normal episode. I ducked out early during the Q &A, to catch the last bit of…

Spoony’s Timbit Party!

Fun was had by all, as people had literally filled the entire table, that Noah sat at, with boxes of Timbits, his new favourite addiction that he has from Canada.

Spoony loves his timbits!

Pretty simple stuff at the party, Spoony shared the vast quantity of timbits people gave him. I imagine it would’ve been a funny story telling the TSA that all those timbits are for him, when crossing the border.

After the timbit party, I went into the Atrium, while Brent got in line for the following event.

The event I saw, when sitting in a seat was…

How to Create a Webshow

Hosted by Lindsay “Nostalgia Chick” Ellis, Todd (In The Shadows) Nathanson, and Joey “Roo” Desena. The panel was a bit of them talking about what they do, and opened it up for some Q&A, as they’re not exactly organized. Todd intentionally goes for the low quality look, and Lindsay apparently bought him his first real tripod. Previously, he was using a tv dinner tray.

Here’s a couple of shots I got from the cell.

 

After the webshow/Q&A panel, it was time for…

Nerd Vs Critic

It was a bit of a fiasco, Brent got onto the floor and took some shots, I was on the second floor, watching from above. I did get a video, it’s not a great video, but it has the action, and I’ll upload it to YouTube when possible. After the Fiasco, it was a Q&A. Fun times were had by all, as the hilarious puppets were a sight in themselves. As a result of me being at this panel, I missed the Final Fantasy VIII panel, which I was kind of looking forward to, as I’m a huge fan of the game, but this was important too.

     

Some of Brent’s action shots of the battle and Q&A.

After the Nerd Vs Critic panel of hilarity, I headed over to the…

Geek Squares: Celebrity Edition

A game hosted by Natalie, of the ConBravo staff, First Officer, as it were. (Yes, I’m a Star Trek nerd). Guests featured in the squares were: The 3 Mikes, Jon Lee, and Christine of the 404’s, Joey “Roo” Desena, Doctor Holocaust, and Doug Walker, wielding a Teddy Ruxpin. Spoony also joined later on, taking over for Little Mike. They also had a couple of audience members, to fill the vacant squares, as one in particular took over for Doug, whom had to pack and get ready for his next panel. The game is tic, tac, toe with people, much like Hollywood Squares used to do back in the 90’s. Doug was using the Ruxpin to freak out Natalie and everyone else at the panel with its menacing stare and creepy voice Doug used.

Here’s a few shots from my cell.

   

Doug creeping people out with Ruxpin.

After the funniness of the Geek Squares, it was time to head over to…

Channel Awesome Q&A Part Deux

Hosting the panel, were Doug Walker, Lindsay Ellis, Todd Nathanson, Paw Dugan and making her convention debut, Elisa “Maven” Hansen. A lot of the usual Geeky-ness, questions and random things, including an odd occurrence. Linkara decided at one point to ask a question, so he lined up, like everyone else.

*Also, some sad, but kinda funny story happened with Todd and his car. He, Lindsay, Maven and Paw were on the bridge, trying to get to the border crossing, when his car decided to have a meltdown and destroyed its radiator. So after pushing the poor car across the border to get a tow into town, he mentioned the story during the panel. After Derek The Bard stepped up and started passing his top hat around, people donated some money to help cover the cost of the repair to the car. After Doug had left, he left his Teddy Ruxpin with Lindsay, so she and the others signed it and auctioned it off for a 100 dollar bill, to also help pay for the car. Awesome job people!*

  

Linkara in line asking a question at the panel.

Here are some shots of the panel from Brent’s DSLR.

   

Doug attempts to “Jump the Shark”, and had his suitcase with him, as he had an early flight.

After the antics of the Channel Awesome Q&A, the set up for the next event to happen.

Closing Ceremonies

Some news, some views and some suggestions were said at the ceremonies, including another note from Mark Tjan, the chairman. A NEW Venue has been selected for next year, due to the overwhelming numbers this year, probably just over 2000, I’d say. The convention will be held at the Hamilton Convention Centre, for the foreseeable future. Some suggestions were made, about scheduling, and possible future guests. I suggested the grand group at Rooster Teeth, creators of Red Vs Blue and Achievement Hunter. I suggested this, as I know they do go to Fan Expo, but that convention is ridiculously expensive, and WAY over crowded. TeamFourStar was also suggested, a good choice, I don’t really see it being a problem for one of them, as Takahata101 voice of Nappa and Guru in DBZA- is from Toronto, is he not? BrentalFloss was also mentioned, and the Staff took note, so that they can try to get everyone mentioned for coming conventions.

There was even a group hug for Mark, awe.

I was also able to get a couple of shots with Lindsay and Linkara, as well as some autographs. Thanks to Brent for the photos.

  

And with that, I’ll sign off, I had a great time at the convention, and wish to do so more.

Also, look forward to some pieces of my own written work in the future, as well as my thoughts on the Marvel Anime mini series’, and a return of movie reviews!

Men In Black 3, I’ll write about soon.

Conventioning… A Walk Around Con Bravo Part 2

I’m back, sorry about the long pause, been busy. Now onto Part 2, Saturday’s antics. Ahh, fresh cappuccino to help wake me up.

Act 2 – Saturday July 28th, 2012.

So, on Saturday, after some breakfast, we went through the vendors, to check out some of the cool stuff on display and available for purchase. I wish I could have bought something, but due to a lack of funds on my part, I couldn’t. However, that doesn’t take away from the awesome-ness that is seeing all the various toys, trinkets, clothes, and artwork filling the room. Here are a couple of images, thanks to Brent.

Some of the great artwork I witnessed while following Brent around, and Games Galore!

After our jaunt through the vendors room, I went onto the first panel of the day for me.

You Don’t Know Jack! Featuring The 404s. 

For those who, like me who had never seen or heard of the show, it was a 90’s game show where people would answer trivia questions with multiple choice answers with a card for the number or letter for the answer, or in some of the lightning rounds, word association, yelling out the appropriate word as it showed up for the theme word. This version however is all geek related, so naturally most of the people in the room would probably know the answer, even if the contestants didn’t. There were definitely a couple I would’ve answered, but I wasn’t a contestant, even though I was wanting to try it out. (Trivia Nut.) Unfortunately, because I’m a forgetful person and in the mornings, its hard to concentrate; running on cappuccinos and bagels, I forgot to take some images. While I was in that panel, Brent was probably at the “Creating An Online Persona” panel, as he’s interested in such things. (I kind of just wing it, after observing others).

After observing the hilarity in the You Don’t Know Jack! panel, I went over to the Atrium with Brent for one of the big panels of the day.

Gaming Critics

Running the panel were Tom White, Spoony, AVGN, Roo, and Mike “Birdman” Dodd, (with a preview of his Channel Awesome Q&A present). With many Q&A panels, its primary format is just that, Questions and Answers, many questions were asked, and things were either signed, given or answered. I was able to salvage a couple of my images, some of them became white washed, as I set the exposure a bit too high on the phone. Also, I grabbed a couple from Brent. (My gallery of fixed photos will be available soon).

Critics from left to right: Tom White, Spoony, AVGN, Roo and Mike “Birdman” Dodd. Mike kinda has a weird look on his face in one of my images.

Also an image of the giant crowd gathered for the panel.

Immediately after the Gaming Critics panel, the Channel Awesome Q&A started, which had been moved from the Event rooms to the Atrium. Which was a smart plan, as the events room was passed room capacity last year, thankfully the Atrium is a lot, and with the balconies, some of us were able to still view the panel, even if we didn’t have a seat.

Channel Awesome Q&A Part 1

This time around, to start the ball rolling with the panel, we had Doug Walker (The Nostalgia Critic), Tom White, Linkara, Roo and Mike “Birdman” Dodd. For those who could not make the con, and haven’t seen Brent’s album on Facebook; Yes, Mike Dodd is a Brony.

The Q&A went on, people asking Doug and the others to sign things, asking questions like “What’s in store for the next anniversary special?” and things of that nature. I, myself am not a Brony, nor do I watch the show, but I don’t harass those who are Bronies, even if they sometimes look a bit silly.

Mike Dodd poses for some photos.

Brent got in closer for some more shots of the crew…

… and a shot of Paw, before the panel.

Afterward, I wandered around for a bit, before lining up early, for…

Atop Of The Fourth Wall Live!

Next up, was a live recording of Atop Of The Fourth Wall with Linkara. In it he performed his usual flair, tenacity and general bashing of ridiculous comics. This time, he set his sights on the comic: Spiral Zone. A comic based off of a popular line of toys with the same name. If you haven’t seen the video, please do so, it’s rather funny. The recording of said episode was held in a room, everyone dubbed as Sweatbox B. The Sweatboxes, were the panel rooms designated for the year, where the air conditioning did “partially” work, but it was never suited for more than about 10 people. Here are some shots from the panel.

After Linkara finished the episode, he had some time left to kill to fill the hour. So he devoted the rest of the panel to a Q&A. He had something special for us in mind for the 200th episode, on Sunday.

When we finished with AT4W Live, I headed downstairs to the Atrium, to wait for…

D20: Lords Of The Internet Edition

While I was eager to see what was lined up in the DnD match, as Linkara said he was going to be there, and he was. James Rolfe aka Angry Video Game Nerd, had made his Canadian premiere with the Con. The staff had devoted 2 hours for a signing for him, as they expected big numbers, however, due to the sheer number of people lined up, they had to take up his Q&A time to devote to more signing for him and then push D20 off for another 40 minutes to help get as many people signed. The reason why, was that people had been lining up for over 3 hours, as he’s a popular guy. I myself hadn’t gotten his signature, knowing that it would be a zoo waiting in line, and would’ve missed Atop Of The Fourth Wall Live. During D20, as it was devoted 3 hours, Brent and I went for food, while he went to wander, I headed back to D20 for the awesome victory of the heroes.

The heroes I mention were: Noah Antwiler (The Spoony One) known as the best swordsman in the world, as his story will state. Mike “Birdman” Dodd, Linkara, and Roo. Each were handed I believe were Bard sheets (Would love some correction on this, if I’m wrong), but eventually evolved them into more useful characters. Linkara gave his bard a Scottish accent, whom was a ranger, Roo evolved his character into a mage, Spoony stuck with the bard, but kept his mastery of swords, and Mike went for a hands on approach with hand to hand combat. Their DM for the matchup was Big Mike of the 404s, whom did receive some ridicule from some of us, after the match, and you’ll find out shortly why.

During the story, things were progressing to Big Mike’s plan until, when he unveiled the major villain. Basically, the local alchemists of a town the guys were sent to, had been kidnapped and forced to make an army for their captor, whom just happened to be an aging, war-torn, black dragon. Now, Big Mike’s plan was to have the guys go back to the guy who hired them which was a lord of the region who brought them in to find out why the Alchemists were taken and retrieve them. Here’s where things deviated; Spoony decides to call out the dragon, from behind the safety of a tree, as he knows about black dragons. The dragon looks to the treeline where  the guys are hiding and demands Spoony’s bard comes out. So, he sends out his hologram. The dragon wasn’t amused, and decides to douse the entire treeline with acid, so the guys have to exit the trees to avoid being melted like the wicked witch of the west from Oz.

The guys decided to just launch an all out assault on the dragon, not wanting to wait for the final battle. Spoony had his own custom dice, just to ensure with its straight edges, his rolls were fair and not crap like that of the regular rounded edge dice would allow. He had some good roles, Birdman had a few good ones too, but the crit master of the evening was Roo, he was hitting hard, with his spells. Birdman had a bout of indigestion when the guys had picked up a vile of supposed “Superhuman” juice from the alchemists’ lab that was known to have killed most of the test subjects. Dodd wanted to try it anyway, however it made his character pass out, convulse and then vomit up the juice, basically keeping him out of turn for a few. Haha.

The final blows went in this particular order, Dragon derps, when Big Mike kept screwing up rolls, or getting a one. He tried to attack with one set of claws, while still having the other paw raised. So his dragon landed face first into the dirt, so Spoony took advantage and stabbed at the dragon’s spinal cord in the neck. He had a high enough hit to bounce off bone into the soft tissue around it. Oh dear, Big Mike and his rolls, haha. Then it was Linkara’s turn to deal some damage to the beast, and Roo was soon to follow with his lightning. Big Mike knew his end was near, as both Roo and Linkara had very high rolls. Annihilating the dragon.

After the crushing blows, the team along with Big Mike pose for some photos, and Dodd felt the need to hold Spoony’s moobs, and Linkara had a nice dance for his crippling blow.

Brent wasn’t there, to take some better photos than me, so I do apologise for the low quality. After the laughs of the jokes and the derp rolls (*cough*Big Mike*cough*), and after Brent returned from Lindsay Ellis’ panel on “Being A Girl On The Internet”, we lined up for the…

Bad Fan Fiction 18+ Panel

Oh my, the insanity and hilarious-ness of the panel, run by Jen, whom those of you that were there, would recognise her during the day cosplaying as Connie, the Con Bravo mascot.

 

Photo credit of Connie to Paul Hillier Photography. (Link to his FB page tied to photo).

The panel involved many, including Derek Burrow of Chasing The Muse, and Tom White of Channel Awesome. Both of which had read some of the bad fan fiction.

Derek and Tom’s reactions to some of the bad fan fiction.

Ah, the fun times had by all at the panel, including the small ribbings Big Mike of the 404’s had while viewing the panel. Everything from the “Hot Topic” gothicly themed “My Immortal” Harry Potter fan fiction, to that of a sex scene from the Sonic Fandom between Sonic and Amy or the strangely bizarre; “The Fish, The Pussy and The Wardrobe”. Thanks to Brent for the photos.

    

After the laugh out loud comedy of the Bad Fan fiction panel, Brent and I headed back to the motel, for a nice sleep, before the final day. With that, I’ll sign off for now, and stay tuned for Part 3 of the Walk Around Con Bravo 2012.