Blue Skies on Mars: A Total Recall Fanedit

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August 19, 2011
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8.0
*This will contain some spoilers*

I have always been a big fan of the original. Philip K. Dick has also always been my favorite author, and even though the original film deviates a great deal from the source story, when you sat down and contemplated the film, it did contain Dick’s sense of never knowing what is reality. That sense is much more heightened in Blue Skies on Mars, and being a PKD fan I really appreciate that.

The opening, as has been stated, was pretty well amazing. A perfect tone for opening up the story. The various memento cuts all worked extremely well, and if fact, my only concern would be that if a viewer was not versed in Total Recall, they might be lost.

Some people have complained about Johnny Cab. I didn't mind that scene. I never did. Actually, PKD was extremely good at writing obnoxious robots (the short stories Sales Pitch and The Exit Door Leads In are great examples), so this scene always fit right in for me.

On the totally unimportant side, Melina refers to Benny as a mutant, even though the scene we find out Benny is a mutant was cut. That was just a little jarring. But, like I said, totally unimportant.

At first I didn't get the color/black and white transitions. I first thought, oh, the "dream" will be in black and white, while reality is in color; and I realized that wasn't the case. Because of the color transitions, I couldn't figure out what they meant. For example, why it turned to black and white when Richter kills the rat, and why back to color when Quiad starts the reactor. Then, I sat back and thought about it, and thought wow, color could represent the atmosphere on Earth (all scenes on Earth are in color) and black and white could represent the absence of an atmosphere on Mars (like color scenes on Earth, all Mars scenes are in black and white) and then Quaid starts the reactor bringing BLUE skies to Mars, while the color returns to the film. If that was the intention, it was VERY clever.

The jury is still out with me on the end. I always liked the ambiguity of the original. And the flair from the sun kinda had leaning towards this direction, to be honest. I kinda felt like this version was more ambiguous, and should be less literal. It’s also a reality smacks you in the face moment, which is also very traditionally PKD, so, you make up your own mind. Technically, though, using that previous shot from the film in reverse was brilliant!

The film quality didn’t bother me, I thought the grainy washed out feel actually kinda worked in the film’s favor.

Overall, this is an extremely well made edit, and should be checked out by anybody who has an interest in Total Recall or Philip K. Dick.

8 out of 10.
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