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BACK TO THE FUTURE

Directed by Robert Zemeckis (1985, Universal Pictures)
Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, and Thomas F. Wilson

After altering the timeline 30 years in the past, a teenager has to get his future parents to fall in love so that he can be born.

 

 

5 star

October 25th, 2015 in the Theatre for the 12th time  
    It's amazing to think that we've finally arrived at the point in time during which part of the second movie takes place. It's also amazing to think that I can now introduce this movie trilogy to my own kids, who thought it was pretty cool. By far the best of the trilogy, I absolutely love all the attention to detail.  

 

5 star

April 27th, 2008 on DVD for the 11th time  

 

5 star

August 5th, 2005 on DVD for the 10th time  
    There is only so much praise that a person can give a particular movie. I've wanted to rewatch this one for a while, now, but didn't find the time (if that makes sense, given how many other movies I've seen in the last few months). It is one that makes me feel like I'm a kid again; it is a very comfort-giving movie, because I know it so well. Everything that I said below still holds true. My favorite thing about this movie is tying the present to the past, seeing how different scenes or lines of dialog are transformed into events that occur in the past.

One of my favorites is the subtle change from the Twin Pines Mall to the Lone Pine Mall after Marty runs over one of the pines on his initial escape from the farm.

I had never noticed that one of Doc Brown's clocks, at the beginning, has a man hanging from one of its hands. Foreshadowing!

The scene near the end with Doc Brown on the clock tower trying to fix the unplugged wire was one of the most enjoyable this time around. I have experienced that sensation many times through my research. Trying to get just a little more length of cable to an instrument, only to have the other end unplug (or worse, not unplug so that the instrument on the other end gets dragged to the edge of the table) has happened a few times!

This is a movie that I will return to again and again. Truly a classic.

 

 

5 star

April 1st, 2003 on DVD for the 9th time  
    Simply amazing, in terms of acting, story, and especially the writing.

It has been a very long time since I've watched this movie. I remember enjoying it quite a bit, as evidenced by the number of times I've seen it. Still, I didn't remember it being this good. It was so enjoyable to see how Marty could overcome all of the obstacles put in front of him.

What impressed me most was the writing. This movie was so tightly written that every single line used in the beginning, before Marty goes into the past, is used while he is in the past. Everything was so meticulously directed, from Marty's body language to his attitude. I really wonder how he turned out to be the only person in that family with some semblance of self-confidence, even if it's just bravado. I found myself linking every line or moment at the beginning of the film to an event that happens later, as they occurred. Much of the movie was remembered in that way!

The movie was so funny, as well. It is a true fish-out-of-water story, as Marty doesn't even really believe that time travel is possible, until he does it himself, and reads the newspaper headline.

It's amazing how well he actually holds up. I don't know if many people could handle being thrown back in time. I suppose that comes from watching so many movies... Michael J. Fox does an incredible job acting confused and out of place. He also does an amazing transition as things start to come somewhat under his control.

However, it is Doc Brown who really steals the show. He really plays the part of the mad scientist. It's perfect, from the way he stumbles out of the Delorean time machine, to trying to read Marty's mind, as well as his not-quite-to-scale model of the city square!

The award for most beautiful, of course, goes to Lea Thompson, as Lorraine. Wow, and stunning! Her love for Marty (or Calvin Klein!) is obvious, and it should also be obvious to the movie watcher that she is a lot more forward than she admits to being at the beginning of the movie, when she's older. She follows him to Doc Brown's place, and comes on to him in the car at the dance, while in a very revealing outfit.

Lorraine is a lot more attractive, and a much better actress, than Marty's girlfriend, Jennifer. Thank goodness we don't see much of her, because I couldn't stand the bad acting. She did serve to be Marty's anchor, though, when he was doubting himself after the band trials.

My favorite aspect of the movie, aside from the amazing writing, was the fact that nothing Marty did was easy. Every plan backfired, and somehow it all ended up making things better. Though after being so smitten with Marty, it makes me wonder how shallow Lorraine was to not even wonder about him and fall head over heels for George after he became her savior. I suppose she finally realized, after the strange kiss, and Marty's reluctant behavior, that he wasn't for her.

I also identified with this movie when I was younger because I was also the shy boy who wrote and watched science fiction, and was laughed at behind my back, just like George. Well, not just like George, as I had a lot of friends, and was never the target of a bully like Biff, or a gang. I always loved it that he could get the beautiful girl, and with a little extra confidence given to him by Marty, could be a success later in life.

Speaking of Biff, he is a guy that we really love to hate. His rage is terrific, even if he is a mindless bully. I love it when he drives over the curb and several shrubs to turn around and chase Marty! That scene, of course, ends up with his car full of manure.

There are, of course, the usual plot holes, which are better not to think about. I suppose Lorraine forgets entirely what Marty looks like, especially since at the end, they credit Biff for getting them together. And if Lorraine thought Marty was such a nice name, why is their first son still named Dave? Nobody even seems to notice that Marty doesn't attend classes with them, either. Still, for a movie like this, that's a very short list, since everything else more than makes up for it.

The special effects, aside from the Delorean itself, were more in the details than anything. The transformation of the city of Hill Valley (an oxymoron?) showed how much and how little a city can change in thirty years. Everything, as Marty says, looks brand new! It's so clean, and service, like at the gas station, was actually Service back then. Imagine!

The movie holds up very well, from the mid-eighties. There are the usual references, of course, but it is a period piece -with the period being 1985! They have to say that Ronald Reagan is the President, because it also fits so well with the story. Back then, it was the Libyans who were the terrorists, but it seems that not much has changed on that front.

The music is typical of a Spielberg production. It is very grandiose, propelling us through the film. It is another reason why the movie is so fun to watch. It peaks several times, most visibly when Marty catches the lightning rod at the end. I came away humming the main theme for days!

The movie is well worth watching on DVD, but the special features are not. Eventually, I plan to watch the director's commentary, and the Q&A session, and the other things that progress with the movie, but for the moment, I am not going to go through the film immediately again. There are four of those things, and they don't appear to be scene specific in many cases.

There is the pathetic teaser trailer, cast and production notes, and picture galleries, but nothing really of substance. That goes for the two making-of features, as well. They are both under fifteen minutes, and spend at least half of that time showing us footage from the film, in full-frame, at that! Much of what the director and producers say is trivial, though the interview with Fox gives us a little perspective. I've seen some excellent behind-the-scenes stuff from this film on TV. Why did we get this, instead?

While the Outtakes are funny, for the most part, the movie itself is funnier. The deleted scenes don't offer much more insight into the story, either, but I love having them. The commentary for these, however, isn't very good or thorough.

This is a great movie in everything it does. I'm glad it has finally arrived on DVD. I was not certain that buying it was the right thing to do, but even if I don't enjoy parts II and III as much as I did in the past, it is worth it just for this movie alone.

 
   

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