Total Recall Parent Guide
As this main character wrestles to recall his past, parents may also have to grapple with deciding if this amount of violence and course language is justifiable in this futuristic tale.
Parent Movie Review
Mistaken identities are a common storyline—a pauper that is really a prince, a nerdy high school student that discovers she is a princess. Now scripts are following highly-trained secret agents suffering from a memory block. (Maybe even I’m one. I just can’t remember.)
Like Jason Bourne before him and Aaron Cross after him, Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) discovers he may be more than an assembly line worker. Disappointed after being passed over for a promotion, he visits a Total Rekall establishment where any memory a person wants can be chemically inserted into their mind. (You don’t have to actually visit an exotic location, be an outstanding athlete or have a mistress on the side to relish the fictional recollection.)
While strapped to a chair in preparation for the injection, Douglas gets a hint he may be living under an assumed name after armed guards storm the room. Provoked by their attack, he reacts with military training that leaves the space littered with dead bodies. Unsure of what happened, he rushes home to the loving arms of his wife (Kate Beckinsale). But her hug soon turns to a deathly chokehold. It seems their seven years of happily married bliss is also a figment of his imagination.
The grim and grimy landscape of this futuristic sci-fi adventure is populated with impoverished workers slaving to fulfill the needs of the wealthy few. Technology has advanced to the point where communication devices are built right into a person’s hand. (No more wondering where you left your phone.) However more intriguing than the film’s sets and art direction are the moral dilemmas characters face as they try to distinguish between the memory of reality and chemical delusions.
While this idea might evoke some interesting discussions, many parents may be more concerned about this film’s content. Some things have changed, but others remain the same, including a party of prostitutes that stroll the streets. (One of the girls gives new meaning to the term breast enhancement, exposing herself in a brief scene of full frontal nudity.) Explosions, beatings and weapons use make up much of the violence aimed at both synthetic soldiers and their human counterparts. And scatological slang terms (along with one strong sexual expletive and other profanities) fly as frequently as the bullets. As Douglas wrestles to recall his past, parents may also have to grapple with deciding if this amount of violence and course language is justifiable in this futuristic tale.Directed by Len Wiseman. Starring Colin Ferrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bill Nighy, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine. Running time: 118 minutes. Theatrical release August 2, 2012. Updated July 17, 2017
Rating & Content Info
Why is Total Recall rated PG-13? Total Recall is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language.
Violence: Numerous characters are shown with bloody head injuries. A man is entrapped in a rope-like constraint. Characters fall or jump from heights. Buildings and transportation devices are blown up. Frequent and explicit violence often involves gunfire and weapon use. Characters are chased, threatened, beaten and some are shot at point blank range. Dead bodies are frequently portrayed. A man is choked and repeatedly punched during a fight with a woman. A man uses a piece of broken bottle to cut an object out of his hand. Characters are involved in a car chase that results in several accidents. A man is stabbed. Female characters engage in a brutal fistfight.
Sexual Content: A couple is shown in their underwear. Couples kiss. A prostitute reveals her enhanced bosom in a brief scene of full frontal nudity. Exotic dancers are shown in a bar. Some sexual references are included.
Language: A strong sexual expletive is used along with dozens of scatological slang terms. Other course language includes profanities, terms of Deity and vulgar anatomical terms.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters engage in a mind-altering activity. Men drink in a bar and one of them confesses to drinking too much.
Page last updated July 17, 2017
More parents' guide for Total Recall after the break...
Total Recall Parents' Guide
Why is it difficult for the characters to distinguish between memories of things that really happened and implanted ones? Why does that make it difficult for them to know whom to trust? Would you want to have anything chemically inserted in your mind? If so, what would it be?
How does the movie mix current day technology with futuristic concepts? What elements of sci-fi do the directors employ in this story?
The most recent home video release of Total Recall movie is December 17, 2012. Here are some details…
Home Video Notes: Total Recall
Release Date: 18 December 2012
Total Recall releases to home video in a combo package (Blu-ray/DVD/UV Digital Copy) that includes a rated (theatrical) and unrated (Extended Director’s Cut) version of the movie. Other extras are:
- Total Recall With Insight
- Commentary with Director Len Wiseman
- Gag Reel
- Science Fiction vs. Science Fact
- Designing The Fall
- Total Action
- Pre-Visualization Sequences
Related home video titles:
Is it real or just a dream? The same mental game is played in the movie Inception. Another man with a memory problem starts to suspect he might be a secret agent in The Bourne Identity. And a returning war hero begins to fears his recurring nightmares might be a symptom of mind manipulation in The Manchurian Candidate.