End scene in Total Recall

dfield2000

Active Member
I'm reading 'Dead Air' by Iain Banks at the moment and in it is a bit where one of the characters mentions the end scene in 'Total Recall'. It says that because the end scene is so completely far fetched (ie, the whole of Mars gets a breathable oxygen atmosphere and standard pressure inside a minute and Arnie's eyes pop back in with no harmful effects etc) this suggests that the whole thing was not supposed to be reality but was the unfolding story of the memory implant that he had, which started playing out from the point in which he went into the recall office at the start of the film.

I always thought that it was supposed to be actually happening as they said that they hadn't actually put the implant in at the Recall office, but I suppose that could have been at the starting point in which the implanted memory began (if you get my drift). But, when he is choosing which type of female character he wants in the implanted memory they show a picture of exactly the same women who he meets later on Mars which suggests that is is all an implanted memory. But, towards the end of the file arnie says that he dreamed about the girl even before he went to the recall office (shown in the dream sequence at the start).

Does anyone have any thoughts / theories on this ?
 

buns

Banned
there are a million and one permutatuions which would be possible.......i dont think anyone except the director can tell us which one it is meant to be!

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Matinee

Standard Member
Originally posted by dfield2000
Does anyone have any thoughts / theories on this ?
I thought I did, but now I'm not so sure after checking further.

Total Recall is based on the PK Dick short story 'we can remember it for you wholesale'.

There are a number of things in the film that make the ending indecisive, namely the comment of the technician in the VR lab 'blues skies over mars, that's a new one' before the vr experience is started and the bead of sweat on the technician's head when he offers arnie the pill towards the end of the film.

There is reputedly an alternate ending which cut back to the VR lab and the technician saying 'no good, we lost him'.

The short story apparently ends with it not being a dream, but having read other PK Dick books such as The Three Stigmata Of Palmer Eldritch I reserve opinion until I read the story myself (PK Dick delights in confusing the reader between reality and unreality, and defining exactly what reality is).

My bet for the film, is that it probably was a dream.

PK
 

James45

Standard Member
that's such stupid reasoning by Iain Banks, it's sci-fi, it doesn't have to be realistic!
Put it this way... everyone who has seen total recall remembers the scene where arnie's eyes are popping out. that's why it was included... because it was a memorable visual image. plus Paul Verhoeven isn't exactly the subtlest director in the world, if it shocks he wants it in his movies (and that included Elizabeth Berkley's 'acting' in Showgirls.
It may be a part of his recall 'holiday' or it could be reality but Banks' argument is not sound enough to start a debate on it.
 

James45

Standard Member
no no you misunderstood. I was saying Banks reasoning in the book was flawed not your reason for bringing up the dream/reality debate as it's a good question. No offense intended mate. You've even made me want to go out and buy the dvd to watch it again.
 

dfield2000

Active Member
Fair enough mate - no offence taken.

I've only got a basic R2 copy - I think there's a version somewhere with a directors commentary. Has anyone heard it and does it shed ant more light on the subject ?
 
J

jag

Guest
Don't know what the fuss is all about. Any film that features a woman with three breasts should just be left well alone.

"Baby, you make me wish I had three hands"
 

Garrett

Moderator
Then there is the other question was he an agent for bad guys, as they told him?
 

dfield2000

Active Member
They said that they couldn't get an agent near the mutant leader of the resistance as he was psychic and that he could detect an undercover agent straight away, so arnie's character (bad guy) had his memory wiped and was lead to the leaders hideout to find him (!) - which sort of makes sense, except that when arnie first goes into the last resort bar the female character recognises him straight away which means that he must have been there before his memory was wiped - in which case why didn;t the mutants detect him then ? Was it because the first time he was there he really was defecting from the agency and wanted to help the mutants ? If he really was a bad guy then he must have had his memory wiped twice, once to infiltrate the last resort and again when they planted him on earth with the new identity. Does that make any sense to anyone ?
 

Garrett

Moderator
Thank dfield2000 for that explanation. I wonder if them that wrote the screenplay actually though of that.
 

buns

Banned
Originally posted by Garrett
Thank dfield2000 for that explanation. I wonder if them that wrote the screenplay actually though of that.

I dont imagine they did.........i reckon that such an ambiguous story would have been impossible to come up with intentionally!

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Garrett

Moderator
I think it’s probably best to take it as it comes. Saying that without getting the disk out is there clouds in the sky at the end? Shouldn’t be if there were.
 

BadAss

Banned
For gods sake dont anybody mention the storyline to the BTTF trilogy! :rolleyes:
 

BadAss

Banned
Rule no 1/ never try to work out meaning to a fictional peice of work. Poeple still argue over the bible. I say Moses really did part the Red Sea!:eek:
 

DVDcake

Active Member
Originally posted by BadAss
Rule no 1/ never try to work out meaning to a fictional peice of work. Poeple still argue over the bible. I say Moses really did part the Red Sea!:eek:

Have you read the book of Revelation lately?:devil:
 

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