Total Recall Comic-Con Panel: New Footage Screened, The Panellists Ducked My Question

To open up Sony’s session in Hall H this afternoon they’ve brought back Len Wiseman and co. for their second year of Total Recall hawking. We got under way with a new promo reel running for, we were told, six minutes or so.

Some of the footage was familiar, but some was new. What became clear watching it was how the film has remixed many of the memorable moments from Verheoven’s original. The three breasted lady is there, but she’s there before Colin Farrell even gets to Rekall; there’s another member of the airport security queue who is dressed quite like Arnold’s infamous disguise; instead of pulling a tracking device from his nose, Farrell has to cut a telephone device out of his hand. It’s a minor shuffle.

A good deal of the action show involved the iStormtroopers who are revealed to be robotic when one looses his arm, chopped off in an elevator fight – you can imagine it, I’m sure – and we see the arm wriggling about autonomously for a few seconds.

There were some glimpses of Bill Nighy in the reel – at least one, though however many there were, they were short and it was hard to get a handle on what he was doing – all of which reminded me how well hidden he has been in the marketing. This prompted a question I actually was very keen to know the answer to, so I had to hop up and ask.

In short, I wanted to know what the deal with Britain is. Westminster Clock tower, home of Big Ben, is seen on one of the posters, and there’s a few glimpses of what seems to be a future Britain in the footage screened. And then there’s Nighy.

So I was curious as to what Wiseman was trying to do with Britain, how he was trying to represent it, and we has used it as his Mars. I was also curious as to how Beckinsale, the sole Brit on the panel, reflected on this portrayal of the country.

As is so often the way in Hall H, the answers were kind of jokey, playing to the back of the room, and nobody seemed happy to connect with the ideas. Wiseman did say, to his credit, that he chose Britain because:

if there was one country that would survive…

So, Britain is the new film’s equivalent of Mars. As to how the nations come across on screen, nobody is talking. We’ll see, soon enough.

I’m not expecting the most complex and well considered study of Britain, of course, but Wiseman can’t have put it on screen without taking some kind of stance on it. I was hoping it had been well considered, and there would be something they could talk about but… well, not today, at least.

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