Someone tell me that I’m dreaming. Or that I’m suffering from a bad memory implant. Can it really be that Columbia Pictures has announced plans to remake Total Recall?

Sadly, the answer is yes, with the studio set to team up with producer Neal Moritz’s Original Films to remake the Arnold Schwarzenegger sci-fi actioner… despite the fact that it’s just nineteen years old. Is it just me, or is the statute of limitations on remakes getting shorter all the time? Before we know it, films will be remade before the original itself has even come out.

Anyway, I digress. As you may totally recall, the Paul Verhoeven-directed film starred Arnie as Doug Quaid, a regular Joe on Earth who, plagued by recurring dreams of Mars, has memories implanted by Rekall Inc., a company that specialises in making dreams come true. When the process goes wrong, Quaid – who’s actually a secret agent called Hauser – travels to Mars and becomes embroiled in the resistance’s fight against Ronnie Cox’s tyrannical villain. Or does he? For, what with this being based on a Philip K. Dick short story, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, nothing is what it seems…

A huge hit back in 1990, there had been talk of a Total Recall sequel for many years, but though various companies tried their hand at coming up with a story, nothing was doing. Finally, Columbia picked up the rights from Miramax, and have finally decided to go down the remake route instead, perhaps adhering more closely to the Dick short story.

The announcement of the project is extraordinary, given yesterday’s news that Matt Damon is shopping around another Dick adaptation, The Adjustment Bureau, which with its reality-skewing plot comes across like Total Recall’s cousin. Might the two films now be pitted against each other?

We’ll be honest – when I first heard about this, we screamed ‘noooooooo!’ for a good twenty seconds, followed by a mantra of ‘Too soon! Too soon!’ After all, there are a number of reasons why remaking Total Recall is a very bad idea, not least of which is the fact that the Paul Verhoeven-directed original is a stone-cold sci-fi classic, smart, brutally violent, and often very funny.

But there are also many good reasons why it might work. The original features wonderful, if dated, prosthetic work by Rob Bottin – the potential for improvement in effects is almost limitless. Then there’s the Arnie factor – although Total Recall is easily Schwarzenegger’s smartest, densest film, the mindfuck element sometimes comes a distant second to the need to see Arnie smash heads and shoot lots of people. With a different actor on board, the new Total Recall could be a much more unsettling affair.

It’s all early days yet, with no writer or director on board, but this is one remake we’ll be keeping a close eye on. Thoughts, readers?

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