Total Recall Turns 25: 5 Things The Classic Movie Gave Us Travelers
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“Total Recall” just turned 25, which means it’s old enough to drink and young enough to still feel things like motivation and optimism.
We celebrate this anniversary with a closer look at the overall theme of the classic film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. And no, it’s not violence, warring factions or love that can still burn throughout someone’s forced amnesia.
It’s about travel.
Granted, the movie that came out on June 1, 1990 isn’t a prototypical travel movie in the way, say, “The Motorcycle Diaries” might be. And it’s not overtly hilarious like “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” but it remains one man’s holiday trip to a faraway land.
Oh sure we could talk about the faux marriages, agent/double agent, “five kids to feed” and other such trivialities. But we are here to consider something that may not be so ludicrous: virtual vacations.
Now for our purposes we will ignore the “Total Recall” that came out in 2012, because if Paul Verhoeven‘s 1990 version based on the Philip K. Dick story taught us anything it’s that we will jump at the chance to change our reality.
Now here are just a few things featured in the 1990’s movie that have hit at or near the mark in regards to the travel industry.
The TSA caused a great deal of controversy when it rolled out new imaging technology that allowed for quick ocular pat downs but also, unfortunately, showed just about everything your maker gave you.
The technology has seen some tweaks as CNN once illustrated below:
Ah, but the technology is still not quite finished. Because we will not rest until we can just amble through a scanner that shows just our skeleton while any dangerous items are clearly demarcated with a glowing red signal.
Johnny Cab drivers are a bit snarky for their own good and far too prone to self-destruction. No, we would much rather take the awkward banter from our respective Uber drivers at the moment.
However, driverless cars and, subsequently, driverless taxicabs may be a very real thing in the future.
In fact a Feb. article from Bloomberg Business hinted at a rift between Uber and Google as “the two companies are going to war over self-driving taxis.”
We just hope we don’t have to evade an explosion while we are on our way to relieve our skull of a giant nose tracker.
Really, the only technology we want is the virtual vacation. Regular holidays are bliss but sometimes you would like to sit in a chair and enjoy two weeks in the Bahamas in the span of a few hours.
Schwarzenegger’s Douglas Quaid walks into Recall and considers a memory implant over a similar desire.
Near lobotomy aside, we can see the intrigue. So it’s rather wonderful to learn that in some ways the technology has arrived—in very small but remarkable measures.
The depleting cost and rising advances in technology for virtual reality makes travel by tossing on a set of Oculus Rift a no-brainer.
The Daily Share slapped some on and experienced a technology that is still very much in its infancy:
Motherboard’s Nadja Sayej wrote about a similar experience with an instantaneous trip to virtual Tuscany: “After enjoying a view of an anonymous island on the horizon, I was able to walk around the house, taking a cobblestone path to a perfect patio crowned with a fountain.”
If you still aren’t sold, consider this is the kind of technology that may one day make you believe you are a real Jedi:
But of course you might be wondering whether we can one day drop a memory into the noggin like we were just popping pills.
TIME’s Keith Wagstaff actually investigated the matter in 2012, finding that while improbable there is room to believe advancements in science make such things plausible.
Wagstaff offers a rather optimistic finale to the report: “If the acts of remembering and forgetting are as vulnerable to interference as the research seems to show, the kind of memory manipulation suffered by Douglas Quaid in Total Recall doesn’t seem so far-fetched after all. It might, in other words, just be a matter of when — not if.”
Thanks to Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet keeping in touch with family and friends back at home has never been easier.
Calls back home to the wife have the added wonder of images thanks to things such as Skype and Apple’s FaceTime.
We just hope things like “sun spots” won’t curtail our otherwise successful tracking of any and all Quaids in the future.
“Total Recall” single handily gave us the greatest way to answer your friends how long you would be traveling when planning a fortnight holiday.
It also illustrated that a trip to Mars is an exciting one, filled with intrigue, adventure and love. Just make sure you Yelp where the aliens hid the reactor before, because it will save some time.
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