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Wholesale Recall: A Comparison with Common Threads

            The political and social criticism of the story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale (1966) written by Phillip K. Dick , stays mostly intact in the film rendition titled Total Recall directed by Paul Verhoeven (1990). These social and political criticisms were addressed in different ways between the mediums and thus make slightly different commentaries directed to two very different audiences that reflect a message of historical significance specific to that period in time. Some of the more significant differences that change what the movie says about the world at the time include things as obvious as the setting (solely Chicago in the story and on Mars for the majority of the film), the inclusion of a love interest which was completely absent in Dick's short story, and one of the most interesting and story altering changes in the conclusion of each and what that conclusion says about the events and assumptions we make about the story as a whole.
             Each of these differences were made for reasons specific to the medium in question. A short story is generally catered to those who wish to experience something in a format that doesn't involve much investment, whether that be time or emotional. You are granted the privilege of painting the picture of the story as you see it without visual stimuli. You ask questions, make assumptions, and develop character personalities and details not otherwise provided. When we view films we are much more reliant on the visual stimulus of the colors, lighting effects, camera angles, and scenery provided. Each of these mediums offer us something unique and special. Both offer a way to tell a story by allowing our own interpretations of various elements narrate what is not explicitly displayed for us or via audio or video.
             Beginning to address the aforementioned differences between the original story by Phillip K. Dick and the later movie rendition you simply can't ignore the conscious decision to change over two thirds of the film's setting from Chicago, as featured in the short story, to a self-sufficient mining colony on Mars.

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