Total Recall (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 20-Dec-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Sci-Fi Action Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Featurette-Making Of-Multiple picture-in-picture
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 130:16
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Len Wiseman
Studio
Distributor

Universal Sony
Starring Colin Farrell
Kate Beckinsale
Jessica Biel
Bryan Cranston
Bokeem Woodbine
Bill Nighy
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Harry Gregson-Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1
Tamil Dolby Digital 5.1
Telugu Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Arabic
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
Hindi
Norwegian
Swedish
English Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Well, here we go again, Hollywood remaking older films with the latest technical enhancements. You can argue all you like about whether or not a remake was needed, however, here it is, so we can choose to either ignore it (which many did at the box office) or give it a shot and see if it proves worthwhile or a waste of time. I am sure the studio would consider it a disappointment from a box office perspective as it made less than $200 Million at the global box office, including only $58 million in the US, which is less than the original film made in 1990 (non adjusted). Both films are based on or 'inspired by' the same short story by Philip K. Dick, We Can Remember it for You Wholesale.

    This film was helmed by young director, Len Wiseman, probably best known for his involvement (both directing and writing) in the Underworld films (which share the female star here, Kate Beckinsale) and directing the fourth Die Hard film. He has created a very good looking, fast moving action film in the theatrical version which layers on some more complexity in the extended director's cut (both of which are included here). Unfortunately, despite all the technical wizardry and quality action sequences it is difficult for the audience to care about these characters, resulting in a good but certainly not great film.

    The story is similar to the previous film but the setting and some details have been changed. In this version, Earth (in the future) has been divided into two basic zones, the United Federation of Britain, where the rich live and The Colony (which is centered on Australia), where the workers and poor live. The United Federation rules the world and is presided over by Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston) who exerts control fairly ruthlessly. Technology has developed so that workers can commute in 20 or so minutes between Britain and The Colony using 'The Fall', a futuristic train service which runs through the center of the earth. Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) lives in The Colony with his wife Lori (Kate Beckinsale) and works in a manufacturing plant in Britain, manufacturing synthetic policemen. He lives a boring and mundane existence, struggling to get by and frustrated by the prejudice shown to people from The Colony. He is also haunted by dreams of another woman (Jessica Biel in her Razzie nominated role). To escape his normal life he decides to take up the services of Rekall, a company which offers to implant different memories in your head, such as you being a hero. Something goes wrong during the procedure and he is soon on the run, pursued by government agents and trying to find the mysterious terrorist leader Matthias (Bill Nighy). He no longer knows what is real and what is imaginary memories.

    Having the two versions of the film on this disc is definitely a big plus as they are quite different. The extended version includes a cameo from Ethan Hawke which was completely cut from the theatrical cut but adds significantly to the story complexity. Certainly, some of the criticism of this film theatrically was that it greatly simplified the story of the original film turning it into an action film first and foremost. The extended version includes about 20 minutes of extra footage.

    As I mentioned above, one of the great strengths of this film is the fantastic look of it, including some great sets and lots of digital effects. There has obviously been some excellent creative minds at work on this aspect of the production. This combined with some excellent action sequences result in a film which, taken on its own rather than in comparison, provides an entertaining and exciting experience. On that basis, it is worth seeing but will not go down as one of the great science fiction films. I think it is let down by the story and dialogue, combined with decent but not great acting, which don't draw the audience in and get them to invest in the story. Farrell is fine but probably miscast, Jessica Biel is not as bad as her Razzie nomination would suggest and the rest of the cast do a good job without standing out.

    It is worth noting that this Blu-ray release has a glitch which effects the extended version, when played on some Blu-ray players in combination with some amplifiers. If you do not use an amplifier at all or your Blu-ray player decodes the audio you will probably not even know there is a problem. I will discuss this in more depth in the audio section. Sony have yet to determine how they will solve this problem. It does not stop you playing the disc, as there is a workaround. We will keep you informed when we receive extra information from Sony. To date, they have sent two review copies, both of which cause the same problem on my system. This problem has been reported across the globe, without resolution to date.

    See this film for the special effects and action and you will find it decent entertainment.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio.It is 1080p HD encoded using the AVC codec.

    The picture was extremely clear and sharp throughout. Shadow detail was very good throughout.

    The colour is excellent with no issues to report, although it is restricted by the grey/blue colour scheme and filter. Blacks are nice and deep.

    The picture includes quite a bit of camera flare although this is on purpose as the cinematographer was using old lenses with his modern digital camera specifically to get this effect.

    There are subtitles in English, English for the Hearing Impaired and many other languages which were clear and easy to read.

    


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is magnificent except for a significant glitch. This would be a five star Blu-ray audio presentation if not for the problems in this audio track.

    This disc contains an English soundtrack in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 plus a French dub in the same format and dubs into Hindi, Tamil & Telugu which are in Dolby Digital 5.1. There is also an audio descriptive track and the commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand throughout.

    The score by Harry Gregson-Williams supports the film adequately without being a standout.

    The surround speakers provided lots of directional effects especially during the nearly constant action sequences plus provided an excellent sound stage for the score. Great stuff.

    The subwoofer worked hard during the action sequences supporting explosions, gunfire and more, plus adding bass to the music.

    Now, on to the glitch. On my combination of a Sony Blu-ray player (ironically Sony players seem to be worst affected by this Sony disc glitch) and a Marantz amplifier, I got fairly constant audio dropouts followed a few seconds later by the movie pausing focused on scenes which only appear in the extended director's cut, such as the main scene featuring Ethan Hawke. This occurred when the amplifier was doing the audio decoding, i.e when the bitstream was been sent by the player to the amp. If I altered the settings on my player to get the player to decode the signal then the dropouts and pauses no longer occur. This is the workaround that allows you to play the movie but dependent upon your setup this may result in reduced audio quality. This glitch has been discussed in a quite a few internet forums around the world and Sony in the US seem to be doing a disc swap for this title, although I am not convinced that there is actually another version available. We have contacted Universal Sony locally who provided another review disc, however, this disc has the same problem. We are awaiting further advice from them and will update our readers in due course. It is my understanding that the problems are caused by the complex branching used in this movie. This problem does not affect all player/amplifier combinations and should certainly not affect someone who uses their TV speakers only. Incidentally, on a Sony player you can force the player to decode the audio by changing the interactive audio setting from Direct to Mix. Other manufacturers will have similar settings.

    I will remove two stars from my audio rating for this glitch, which I believe needs to be rectified.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Whilst there are only two extras on the menus, they are both significant in scale and of high quality.

Menu

    The menu is engaging and included music from the film and scenes.

Commentary - Director Len Wiseman - Extended Cut Only

    Len Wiseman provides an engaged and interesting commentary for the extended cut, discussing the swathe of extra scenes he included in this cut and explaining why he wanted to make this extra version for the Blu-ray release. He does pause during some scenes but when he talks it is generally more interesting that the usual 'Oh, I like this scene' sort of commentary. He tells some anecdotes, points out trivia and discusses the ideas behind the film. Quality commentary.

Total Recall - Insight Mode - Theatrical Cut Only

    This is a full feature length picture-in-picture extra which includes many featurettes which provide lots of detail about the process of bringing the film to the screen including the special effects, shotting challenges, sets, the special lenses used, music, costumes and more. This is basically all the usual making of featurettes wrapped into one extra and included along with the film. Top quality stuff.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Different editions are available for this film which include more extras, both here and in Region A but in terms of the one Blu-ray versions they are the same. Draw.

Summary

    A good looking, action packed film which doesn't completely connect to the audience.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is excellent except for a significant glitch.

    The extras are high quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, February 04, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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