The opening narrative of the film states that global
chemical warfare has left the Earth nearly uninhabitable by the
end of the 21st Century. Only two habitable regions are
left, the United Federation of Britain (UFB), consisting of
most of western Europe, and the Colony, formerly known as
Australia. This makes living space tight, resulting in
cities built up into multiple levels. The two regions,
virtually opposite each other on the sphere of the Earth,
are connected by the Fall, a gigantic elevator that travels
through the core of the planet between the two regions.
The Fall is based on the real world concept of a gravity
train, though the practicality of ever building one on Earth
The opening images of the film seem to depict the Fall
tunneling straight through the Earth from the Colony to
London, England. But a straight shot through the Earth from
London does not land in Australia...it ends up in the middle
of the ocean over 500 miles southeast of New Zealand! Look
it up on the
Map Tunneling Tool. I suppose the Fall tunnel may not be
dug straight through the center of the planet, but the intro of the
film seems to imply that it is. However, a schematic image at 11:43 on
the Blu-ray does seem to show a
curve in the route of the
Fall, but it also depicts the
Australian end of the tunnel on the
southern coast instead of in the
middle of the Northern Territory as
seen in the intro!
|The Fall from the
||The Fall on an
As in the original film, Quaid sees Melina in a dream before
he encounters her in his
recalled-life-as-a-spy/memory-implant-fantasy. The fact that he has
already had this dream of her provides some evidence that the story we
see through the rest of the film is real.
Actor Ethan Hawke shot a few small scenes as Carl Hauser
which were cut from the original theatrical release. The
scenes have been re-added for the extended cut. The story
explains that Hawke is what Hauser really looks like; his
face was changed along with his memory by Cohaagen as part
of the plot to implant Quaid into the resistance movement.
In the theatrical cut, the facial change part of the plan
was dropped to simplify the story.
never learned Hauser's first name (though the
novelization seems to suggest it is Douglas, the same as
Quaid). Here, we learn it's
At 8:37 on the Blu-ray, the Fall is visible not too far away
from Quaid's outside deck.
During the introductory scenes of Quaid's life in the Colony, a number of business signs and ads
are seen. Cheng Apothecary and Drugs is visible; this
appears to be a fictional business (at least in 2012). Bento
is a Japanese takeout meal for one. Matpewka is a Russian
word for "mother". Dragon noodles are a spicy Chinese dish;
at 43:22, we see that this sign is from a boat-based vendor at dockside selling
There are a number of real world restaurants called Noodle
House. Chin's Grand Master is an unidentified business;
another Chin's sign is seen in London at 1:39:22.
At 9:17 on the Blu-ray, the end of the Rekall commercial has
the slogan, "We Can Remember it for You." This is a
reference to the
Phillip K. Dick short story
"We Can Remember It for You
Wholesale" upon which both the
1990 and 2012 Total
Recall films are based.
At 9:34 on the Blu-ray, a banner at
the entrance of the Fall in the
Colony reads "We Welcome You" in
Czech (Vítáme Vás) and another
language I don't recognize.
At 9:58 on the Blu-ray, an adverstising sign in Chinese
reads "Chocolate" and below it "pearl milk tea." (Thanks to
Mike J. of the
Total Recall Movie Props Reference page for spotting and
The overhead announcement heard as Quaid and Harry board the
Fall informs us that the trip from the Colony to the UFB
takes only 17 minutes. But at Earth gravity, the fall would
actually take about 42 minutes to complete.
At 11:43 on the Blu-ray, notice that the weather forecast on
the information screen shows the exact same temperatures
predicted for both the Colony and the UFB, despite being on
opposite sides of the world! Also, the word "forecast" is
At 12:28 on the Blu-ray, notice that someone's keys are seen
floating through the cabin of the Fall as they reach null
gravity at the center of the Earth! A couple of coffee cups
are also seen floating just seconds later.
At 13:11 on the Blu-ray, the corporate brand called Tokonoma
is seen both on the train and on the factory buildings where
Quaid and Harry work. Tokonoma is seen to be the
manufacturer of the synthetics who act as the police force.
Total Recall Movie Props Reference page, points out that
the Japanese writing on the Tokonoma logo signs actually
translates to "Beds, Ltd."!
At 13:17 on the DVD, notice that the factory workers'
lockers have small information display screens on the
interior side of the door. Color bars on the displays can be
seen subtly shifting throughout the scene. The displays
probably present work shift charts or something similar.
Harry tells Quaid to stay away from Rekall, saying that a former
co-worker at the factory named Travis went there for his
bachelor party to "be king of Mars or some shit," and Quaid
remarks he'd like to go to Mars. This is a veiled reference
film, in which the Quaid character became a hero of
Mars; it may also be a reference to the John Carter, who
comes from Earth to become the Warlord of Mars in Edgar Rice
Burroughs' Barsoom novels.
Quaid shows the new guy at his job how to hold the chest
piece of the synthetic as he welds it into place so as not
to get injured. The guy acknowledges it verbally, but then
goes right back to holding it the wrong way again!
The scene of Quaid in the Human Resource office of Tokonoma
in the extended version of the film does not appear at all
in the theatrical cut. Instead, there is a scene of Quaid's
supervisor telling him he did not get the promotion he
wanted, with an implication that people from the UFB
receive favorable treatment over those from the Colony.
At 16:06 on the Blu-ray, Quaid's employee personnel file
reveals he is a citizen of New Asia. Is that the official
name of the Colony? Most of the signs in the Colony are in
Quaid's personnel file also reveals his apartment number is
Conapt 1225 and his date of birth is 7/6/087. "087" must
mean 2087. "Conapt" is also the term used for the apartments
in the novelization of the 1990 film.
At 18:29 on the Blu-ray, a business called Anwa is seen.
At 18:42 on the Blu-ray, Quaid pulls a futuristic-looking
Heineken out of the refrigerator.
According to the director's commentary on the Blu-ray, the photo of Lori and friend on the refrigerator door at
18:50 on the Blu-ray is actress Kate Beckinsale with her
friend Amber Batty.
As Quaid meets Harry at the bar at 19:23 on the Blu-ray,
Harry asks him if Lori is working tonight and Quaid replies,
"Yeah." But we know that Lori is already back at their
conapt asleep, having left a note on the refrigerator door
that she went to bed early due to a hard day at work. So,
why did Quaid lie about it to Harry? It seems like it was
only done because it sets up a scene later on the in the
film when Harry is trying to convince Quaid he's stuck
inside the Rekall spy fantasy and he says, "As soon as I
told her what was happening at Rekall, she came straight
over. I had to call her at work," which helps to tip
Quaid off that Harry is lying.
Listening to the piano player at the bar, Quaid remarks to
Harry that he'd always wanted to learn to play the piano.
Later in the film, we learn that he does know how to play
because Hauser learned. He just doesn't remember
at this point
At 21:11 on the Blu-ray, an ATM machine for First Bank of
New Asia is seen. First Bank is where Quaid later goes to
retrieve the items left in a safe deposit box by Hauser.
Notice that the prostitute at 22:19 appears to be a robot.
In fact, a number of what appear to be sex-bots are seen
walking the street in the neighborhood in which Quaid finds
the Rekall office.
At 22:40 on the Blu-ray, notice that the three-breasted
prostitute is seen briefly in the background watching Quaid
before she makes her official appearance 10 seconds later.
The three-breasted prostitute is an iconic background
character from the
film; in that film, her name was
"Mary's" line here, "You're gonna wish you had three hands,"
is inspired by Benny's line to her in the
baby, you make me wish I had three hands."
The receptionist at Rekall is the same woman who appeared in
the Rekall commercial viewed by Quaid at 9:17 on the
Blu-ray. She's even wearing the same outfit!
The big head statue in McClane's office at 24:28 on the
Blu-ray appears to be that of a Buddha of eastern Buddhism religion.
At 27:07 on the Blu-ray, McClane's assistant at Rekall
places an ink mark (in the shape of a peace symbol) on
Quaid's right arm to indicate where the IV will be inserted
into his vein. This becomes important at the end of the movie
in the expanded version.
The statue at 29:36 on the Blu-ray is known as a reclining
At 31:26 on the Blu-ray, reporter Yvonne Yoe is seen
reporting on the shootout at Rekall. "Yvonne Yoe" is one of
the names used in some countries to represent an unknown or
unidentified female, much as Jane Doe is used in the U.S.
Lori, incredulous at Doug's statement that he's the one who
killed all the officers at the Rekall clinic, asks, "...you
killed them? With what, honey, your book?" This statement
along with the fact that we see him reading a book on the Fall
seems to suggest that he is a voracious reader and
tends to carry a book with him. Notice also there are a lot
of books on the shelves (and stacked on the floor) in his
and Lori's conapt. Books are also seen in Hauser's
apartment (under his Reed alias) when Quaid escapes there
briefly with Melina later in the film.
Lori's hair is tied into a pony-tail at the beginning of the
fight with Quaid in their apartment, but suddenly disappears
when he smashes her into the light fixture above the bed.
Right after the part of the fight mentioned above, Lori kicks Quaid into the steps leading
into the sleeping area. At 34:24 on the Blu-ray, it's
obvious that he hits a thick crash pad overlaying the steps.
The pad is gone in the next shot.
At 36:50 on the Blu-ray, the book sitting on the step
appears to be Hannibal Rising by Thomas Harris
At 38:32 on the Blu-ray, a sign reading "pectopah" is seen.
This is Russian for "restaurant".
Hauser's friend who calls Quaid to give him a quick head's
up about what's happening to him is named Hammond. In the
1990 film, he was called
Stevens. Oddly, Hauser also has a fake identity with almost
the same last name, "Hamond" as seen on one of the passports
found in the safe deposit box later.
At 42:10 on the Blu-ray, something labeled Sure Glo is
sitting next to the young woman's right on the steps.
When the police robot takes the "hand phone" apparatus away
from the young man, the man calls the robot "Robodick". This
may be a nod to the 1987 film Robocop, which was
1990 film's director, Paul
At 43:04 on the Blu-ray, Lori walks past a holo-ad for a
night club advertising hard porno with "no synthetics".
Presumably this means no sexbots, as the robotic police in
the film are also referred to as synthetics by Cohaagen.
At 43:10 on the Blu-ray, a neon sign for
Sickle, a Russian brand of vodka, is seen.
Opening the safe deposit box Hauser set up under an assumed
name, Quaid finds passports for different identities:
Charles Hamond, Ken Zhao, and Henry Reed (possibly others).
While looking at the Henry Reed passport, the type at the
bottom of the identification page has a typo in the name,
At 47:50 on the Blu-ray, we see that the 50-unit of UFB paper
currency has the picture of the 44th President of the United
States, Barack Obama. Director Wiseman explains on the
director's commentary that the
man on the 1000-unit note next to the Obama is Wiseman's
The heavyset woman seen at 50:03 on
the Blu-ray is a callback to the
woman Quaid disguised himself as in the
1990 film. Here, it is a red
herring, as it is the Asian man (the
Ken Zhao identity) behind her who is
actually Quaid in disguise.
When Quaid's facial disguise necklace malfunctions, it
flashes images of Quaid and the other identities seen on the
fake IDs he found in the safe deposit box at the bank.
At 51:30 on the Blu-ray, an ad for Kropek is seen on the
wall in the background. Kropek is a type of deep-fried
cracker made of starch and flavored with shrimp or prawn,
popular mainly in Asia.
During the police chase on the London freeway, we see exit signs
indicating The City, Westminster, Westminster Bridge, St. Thomas'
Hospital, Waterloo, Bank, Pimlico, Southwark,
Victoria, and Embankment. These are all places in
Real road names are also seen during the police chase: A400,
A302, A201, and Court Road (though Interstate 19, spoken of by
the police forces, appears to be fictional).
At 53:23 on the Blu-ray, there appear to be buildings in the
background with signs at the top marking them as M*O*E*R*K
and Declaration Books. I assume these are corporations,
At 53:55 on the Blu-ray, a building of the Tokonoma
Corporation is seen in London.
At 53:58 on the Blu-ray, Melina's hovercar appears to have
Chrysler emblem on the front grill. At 54:07, the back
of her car bears the Chrysler name.
At 54:01 on the Blu-ray, an advertisement for what appears
to be a film in the Underworld franchise is seen.
Total Recall's director, Len Wiseman, is one of the
producers of that series and also directed the first and
second films of the franchise.
Underworld is an action-horror franchise set
in a world where vampires and werewolves live amongst
humans. Amusingly, the promotional review below the
title appears to call this future installment, "the best
At 54:14 on the Blu-ray, a billboard shows an advertisement
with the slogan, "FINGERTIPS, WORLD. WORLD, FINGERTIPS".
At 54:18 on the Blu-ray, the police hovercars are seen to
have been made by
At 54:32 on the Blu-ray, a business in the background is
Ludwig Poe Bar and Grill.
At 55:02 on the Blu-ray, a large
sign is seen. Another is seen in the no-zone at 1:26:14.
Spot the sponsor.
At 55:17 on the Blu-ray, a clock on the Forsstrom building
in the background reads 5:25 PM at the time of the car chase
Forsstrom is a Swedish company that manufactures high
frequency welding equipment.
At 55:33 on the Blu-ray, the chase moves past St. Thomas' Cafe
and...the UFB Sci Fi Festival!
At 55:42 on the Blu-ray, the chase moves past a building
featuring banners reading McArthur Plaza. I've not been able
to find such a place in London in modern day.
At 55:48 on the Blu-ray, the chase moves past the Farnsworth
Inc. building. This appears to be a fictitious company.
At 56:12 on the Blu-ray, signs for Toper Beer, Major Chung
Inc., Jade Dragon Micro Systems, and Black Turtle are seen.
These appear to be fictitious businesses.
At 56:34 on the Blu-ray, Quaid uses a Chrysler Uconnect
terminal in the vehicle. Uconnect is Chrysler's wireless
internet service offered in their vehicles.
At 56:50 on the Blu-ray, the Pepper Hotel is seen. This
appears to be a fictional hotel.
At 57:03 on the Blu-ray, Union Cafe is seen. This is a real
world cafe in London.
A sign on the back of the bus at 57:35 on the Blu-ray
Connaught Gardens. This is a real place in London, built
around 1820 and named after the Duke of Connaught, the third
son of Queen Victoria.
Immediately after the crash of the hovercar, the unconscious
Melina's head is in two different positions in shots from
At 58:02 on the Blu-ray,
Big Ben is seen in the background.
At 59:46 on the Blu-ray, we can see that the piano that
Quaid later plays is made by
A copy of Bonniers Konversations Lexikon Vol. VII is on top
of the piano, as seen at 1:02:22 on the Blu-ray. This is a
Swedish encyclopedia volume.
The first musical piece
played on the piano by Quaid is Piano Sonata No. 14
by Beethoven, 1801.
The second piece is Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 17 from 1802.
The holographic message left by Hauser for whoever he
becomes after the memory implant by Cohaagen is performed,
in the expanded edition, is mostly by Ethan Hawke. In the
theatrical release, it is Colin Ferrell the entire time,
since the face change aspect was cut out of that version.
Quaid tells Melina he was born on August 29, but that seems
to be part of his memory implant from Cohaagen. Melina tells
him he was born April 29. But his personnel file at Tokonoma
showed it as
7/6/087, (July 6)!
Why does the tear from Melina's eye convince Quaid that the
events are real and he should shoot Harry instead of her?
Obviously, this scene is inspired by the one in the
1990 film in which the drop
of sweat on Dr. Edgemar's brow convinces Quaid that Edgemar
is a real person trying to trick him and not the artificially
implanted dream person he claims to be. But, in that film,
the sweat indicates that Edgemar is lying about it all being
Quaid's dream, because it shows Edgemar is nervous about his own safety at
the point of Quaid's gun. But here, Melina is not the person
trying to convince him the events around him are all in his
mind, so it would seem the tear could be that of a real person
or that of
the dream-construct of Quaid's own mind.
The shot of the police robot getting its arm torn off while
hanging off the elevator is inspired by the similar scene in
1990 film in which Rictor
gets both of his arms lopped off.
At 1:20:37 on the Blu-ray, a couple of roadway exit signs
read Brixton, Gatwick, Brighton, Marble Arch, and Baker St.
Brixton is a district of London, Gatwick an airport outside
Brighton a city on the south coast of England, the Marble
Arch a monument in Westminster, and Baker St. a major
thoroughfare in Westminster.
At 1:21:30 on the Blu-ray, we see the UFB National Bank,
needless to say, a fictional corporation.
The resistance is seen to use the old
London Underground tunnel system to move around. The
Underground, also popularly known as the Tube, is the mass
transit subway system currently used in London and its
environs and has been in operation since 1863. At 1:22:43 on
the Blu-ray, signs indicating loading points for Hammersmith
& City, Metropolitan, and Circle lines are seen; these are
routes within the system.
The expanded version of the film reveals that Melina is the
daughter of Mathias. This was cut from the theatrical
The uninhabitable regions of Earth are referred to as
At 1:26:17 on the Blu-ray, old ad signs for Budweiser and
Phantom of the Opera are seen in the no-zone.
Budweiser is an American beer and Phantom of the
Opera is a much-performed musical play based on the
1910 novel by Gaston Leroux.
A large gas cylinder tank is seen at the resistance hideout
at 1:26:29 on the Blu-ray. It has a label for the Pawton Asset
Co. on it. This appears to be a fictional company
A shelf of canned and jarred foods is seen in the resistance
hideout at 1:27:05 on the Blu-ray. One canned food brand
appears to be Success. I've not been able to confirm this as
a real world company.
A metallic box mounted in the resistance hideout is labeled
Cyclone Filter. It is a type of filter for separating
particulates from air.
The police agent who laser-cuts Quaid's arm restraint in the
memory chair is his old friend Hammond, seen in the video
phone call earlier in the film.
The departure/arrival time screen
seen on the Fall at 1:45:39 on the
Blu-ray has the same information as
the one seen near the beginning of
the movie. The problem is, the Fall
was travelling from the Colony to
the UFB in that earlier scene but is
now travelling from the UFB to the
Colony, so the information seen now
is incorrect. And at 1:48:15 it
still shows the same
arrival/departure times in the
background; and again at 1:52:58,
after the Fall has already arrived!
At 1:47:01 on the Blu-ray, the words "Synthoid Type RT-3100"
on the police robot's head are mirror-reversed, indicating
the shot was flipped in editing. The digital word "Stasis"
on the robot's visor is depicted correctly, being a CG image
created in post-production.
Notice that the black police robot that accompanies Cohaagen
seems to have better hand-to-hand combat ability, agility,
and autonomy than the standard white models.
At 1:59:10 on the Blu-ray, notice that the scar is missing
from Melina's hand, which tips Quaid off seconds later that
she is not really Melina.
It's a little difficult to tell what happens at the end of
the fight inside the ambulance, it goes by so quickly.
Notice at 1:59:45 on the Blu-ray that both electro-paddles
are in place on the defibrillator in the ambulance just
before Quaid is thrown against the device by Lori. He knocks
one paddle off as he hits it and he must have bumped the
charging button as well because we can hear the whine of the
device charging up. Then, fifteen seconds later, Quaid grabs
the loose paddle and presses it against the metal wall of the
ambulance, shorting out the electronics and distracting Lori
enough to allow him to grab her gun away and shoot her.
At 2:00:57 on the Blu-ray, notice that Quaid quickly checks Melina's hand
again to confirm it is really her.
The shot of Quaid removing the bandage on his inner elbow
and seeing the peace stamp missing was not in the theatrical
cut of the film. The lack of the stamp here (applied for the IV
insertion point at Rekall) suggests that he may be experiencing all this in
his mind after all. It seems unlikely the stamp could have
washed or rubbed off, while the bandage (and shirt sleeve)
was covering it, in such a short time. And there doesn't even
appear to be the pinprick scab/scar that would have been
left by the insertion of the IV needle.
The obvious unanswered question is whether Quaid's adventure
was real or just part of the memory implant he receives at
Evidence that it's real:
At the very beginning of the movie, Quaid's dream features
both himself and Melina attempting to escape from federal
police. How could he be dreaming
about a woman he'd not yet met? This is the strongest
bit of evidence that Quaid is
just a cover personality for the
original man, Hauser, who met Melina
previously as part of his undercover
mission to infiltrate the
At 11:52 on the Blu-ray, Quaid is reading The Spy Who
Loved Me on the Fall. This is a 1962 novel of the James
Bond series by Ian Fleming. Quaid's reading this particular
novel may be a clue that he really is Hauser, craving the spy
life he formally led; plus, the title could be a reference
to his forgotten love for Melina. On the other hand, it
could also merely be the reason he is in a "spy mood" when he
goes to Rekall for a memory implant later in the film.
Evidence that it's a dream:
At 25:58 on the Blu-ray, McClane
suggests that Quaid could choose the
memory implant of a secret agent, with
clandestine bank accounts and coded messages, working for
the resistance...or Cohaagen...or why not both? All of these
come true by the end of the movie.
McClane claims that it's dangerous for anyone to have a
memory implant of a fantasy similar to something they've
already done, for example, having a mistress. When
Quaid is about to have his spy fantasy implantation, McClane
is studying the computer readouts and suddenly sees that
Quaid really is a spy and shouts to his assistant to pull
the IV out before the drug takes. But it seems that if such
a scenario were really so dangerous for the participant,
there would be a much more thorough vetting of the customer
before the procedure began. This is a clue that the rest of
the story from this point is Quaid's dream/implant.
The lack of the peace stamp on Quaid's inner elbow (applied for the IV
insertion point at Rekall) at the end of the film suggests that he may be experiencing all this in
his mind after all. It seems unlikely the stamp could have
completely washed or rubbed off, while the bandage (and shirt sleeve)
was covering it, in such a short time. And there doesn't even
appear to be the pinprick scab/scar that would have been
left by the insertion of the IV needle.
Notes from the Director's Commentary on the Blu-ray
Director Len Wiseman points out that the Fall elevator is
designed with two sets of doors above/below each other for
entrance/exit. When the zero gravity area at the core of the
Earth is passed, the passenger cabins rotate along an axis
to orient with the new gravity direction on the other side
of the core, so the cabin is now aligned with the second set
Wiseman said he shot the film with a specific idea of which
story was the true one, i.e. reality or dream. He says that
if all the clues are found and put together, they lead
slightly more towards one than the other. Given his
statement, and from the evidence I've pieced together
(though I may have missed some clues), I'd have to say the
story is Quaid's dream/implant.
Wiseman says that Hauser really did switch to the side of
the resistance. When Cohaagen captures Quaid and is about to
have Hauser's memories re-implanted, they would be his
memories before he switched to the resistance, so Cohaagen
would have his old friend back, before he turned traitor.
Notes from the Insight Mode on the Blu-ray
In early versions of the script, the UFB was instead
referred to as Euromerica. (It may be that the "New Asia"
reference seen on Quaid's personnel file in the film as his
place of citizenship, instead of the Colony, is also a
leftover from an earlier script.)
some better dreams.wav
the Fall enslaves us all.wav
We Can Remember it for You.wav
king of Mars.wav
don't mess with your mind.wav
I'm a people person.wav
you're gonna wish you had three hands.wav
those assholes screwed with your mind.wav
there is no Douglas Quaid.wav
I give good wife.wav
if I'm not me, then who the hell am I?.wav
seven year itch.wav
you haven't even begun to see me try to kill you.wav
your name is Carl Hauser.wav
I was fighting for the wrong side.wav
none of this is real.wav
everyone seems to know me.wav
what if the best is gone?.wav
Hauser wasn't perfect, you know.wav
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