“Blade Runner” blew me away at 17, and I devoured Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” upon which it was based. But except from this brief foray, Dick was just on my to-do list.
I saw Arnie’s “Total Recall” in Japan in 1990. As I recall, the film was criticized for it’s uber-violence. I was totally repulsed, and unaware of its Philip K. connection.
“Minority Report,” another major movie of mine, also originates from PKD. Seems I have a penchant for Dick’s paranoid, conspiracy-ridden visions of the near future.
When I learnt that TR was inspired by PKD’s (20 page-short story) “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” I got an uncontrollable urge to upgrade myself, coincidentally, in Japan.
Perhaps because I hadn’t ventured to the flicks in years, I experienced a reversion to my childhood. I can’t recall the last occasion I said “ooh, ah, wow” so many times.
From the opening, where Dick’s barefooted Quail is queerly replaced with Col’s bare-chested peacock, the new TR barely follows PKD’s storyline. Yet I relished the reinvention of Australia as the repressed “Colony” linked to the Old World via the un-f-ing-believable Fall: the ultimate solution to the tyranny of distance. Alas, the seriously wrong Oriental motifs employed to infuse an otherworldly flavour were totally Suzy Wong. Living in Japan makes me more wagamama when it comes to authentic exotica, and besides, BR has been there, done that.
But bring on glow-in-the-dark tattoos, impregnated mobile phones and maglev cars. I am there.
While Mars was missing from the remake, the film effectively repackaged Dick’s characteristic paranoia, conspiracy theories and confusion of delusion and reality. (“A Scanner Darkly,” another PKD adaptation, reiterates these themes.)
My one gripe is the Happy End, a wholesale reworking of Dick’s bittersweet climax, but the cerebral stimulation offered by the new TR is surely worth a tub of greasy popcorn and some short-term detachment from reality.