“If I am not me, then who the hell am I?” — Douglas Quaid
With today’s opening of Len Wiseman’s remake to one of the all-time best, and bloodiest, science-fiction actioners around, I thought to look back at one of the supreme aspects that made the original so damn good right from the start. The opening credits for Total Recall remains one of the best titles sequences of the ’90s — the same goes for Jerry Goldsmith’s title tune, known as The Dream on the movie’s soundtrack1, for that matter.
The 1990 Paul Verhoeven film featured some of the most dazzling cascading graphics for its opening credits. I get the sense that title designer Wayne Fitzgerald sported some influence from years earlier with Richard Greenberg’s [thanks for the correction, Art of the Title :-)] still awe-inspiring sequence from Superman (1978). No matter, since the tone and sentiment of these particular visuals are demonstrably different.
They certainly can’t be depicted as understated since the translucent titles are literally driven — perhaps, the word “pounded” would be more apt — to the pulsing beat of Jerry Goldsmith’s larger-than-life track. The graphics sweeping and surging to the scorer’s orchestrations. As well, I give Fitzgerald credit for his superb use of contrast in the segment.
The gauzy and plunging artwork beautifully opposed the deep blacks of the background and those within the text and font of the titles themselves. It remains a stunning package. The title sequence married all of this into a feast for the eyes and ears of moviegoers. Note, it is worth the trip over to the good folks at The Art of the Title who also have this sequence online for those who want to enjoy it in high resolution:
Now, let’s all hope the 2012 film contains even a smidgen of the cleverness, or at least a touch of the brain scrambling madness, that was the original.
- Also, one of the harder vinyl soundtracks to come across in after-market sales. ↩