The making of Total Recall.

Everybody loves a bit of the Schwarzenegger!

This making of video showcases the whole start to finish process that happened to create the 1990 movie Total Recall, not all of it is relevant, if you skip into around 9/10 minutes you get to the good stuff. I thought it would be good to have a look at this movie as it is one of the last hollywood blockbusters to utilise miniature special effects rather than computer generated imagery. Even though we are doing a strictly digital VFX unit, I do find it rather interesting looking back to how it was done before.

The only fully created digital part of the film was the skeleton’s for the x-ray walk-through scene, the rest used special effects. Nowadays this is a bizarre concept, the majority of stuff now is done with CGI; which is most likely due to the fact that CGI has become so realistic that viewers can hardly tell the difference, I struggle doing it!

One of the most amazing things that this video has brought to my attention is how much time, effort and amount of people it can take for a tiny fraction of the whole movie. Kuato is a key character in the film which was made solely as special effects animatronics. It required 15 puppeteer’s to control every different part of the creature. For me this is quite an abstract idea, as subconsciously in my mind the design of Kuato has influenced my alien concept, but when I was creating the concept no thought went to anything as complex as what they would have had to think about for Kuato. The most I thought about was how it would move, and how its rig would work in Maya! Although I suppose these too are similar, a real life mechanical rig and a virtual one.


Another interesting part of the making of video was the conceptualisation of the back story for the film. This was a key thing as it made me realised that the way they constructed the world reflects a much deeper idea of global oppression and the fear of the global greenhouse. This all feeds into the concept of the virtual reality and that the viewer is left constantly questioning what the reality of the film is. It was useful to see this because it has helped me to make more sense of my concept for the short film; I think it allowed me to recognise a more visually simpler way to create the idea of conflicting realities.


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