Robert Zemeckis (1989, Universal Pictures)
Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, and
Thomas F. Wilson
Attempting to save Marty's family in the future, the time travelers
inadvertently alter their own present.
December 12th, 2015 on DVD
for the 7th time
I It is now 2015, just a few months
after Marty was supposed to have visited it -and it doesn't look
anything like what we are shown here! But it's just as fun, regardless.
As mentioned below, my favorite parts are still the past, where we get
to see the events from the first movie from a different perspective. It
was fun to see my kids' reactions, too.
June 15th, 2008 on DVD
for the 6th time
April 5th, 2003 on DVD
for the 5th time
I still like this movie a lot, though
it doesn't seem to have the magic that the
first one did.
When this movie first came out, I loved it, to the point where I saw it
three times in the theatre! It is the plot that I love more than
anything else about this movie -specifically, going back to 1955 and
seeing the first movie from a different perspective. In effect, we are
seeing stuff that went on behind the scenes, which even Marty wasn't
aware of, the first time he went back in time.
As with the first movie, Marty and Doc Brown are the best characters.
Mostly, they react to certain events, and it seems to be Marty that does
most of the work in trying to restore the timeline. Every time something
is supposed to happen, Doc disappears, especially in the future; I
wonder what he is doing all that time. For example, why wasn't he
watching either Marty Jr., or Jennifer during the time when Marty is
taking his son's place? Is that when he got Einstein out of the
suspended animation kennel?
While the movie is not as tightly written as the
first one, the authors do a great job
of keeping everything straight. We get to see parts of Hill Valley in
four separate time periods, now. Twice in 1985, albeit the first time is
very brief, back in 1955 again, and then in 2015, which seems overly
futuristic, since we're more than halfway there by now. We seem to have
stalled in the technology department.
The future was actually the least impressive part of the movie, and I
think that's attributable to Jennifer and Griff. Griff has way too many
short circuits to be a reasonable character, though I suppose that's the
only way the producers could make him so different from old and young
Biff. Marty's encounter with Griff mirror's all of the other encounters
through the timeline. I wonder if these two families have some sort of
temporal relationship, because it happens again in Part III.
They have changed actresses for Jennifer in this movie, and even the
wonderful Elizabeth Shue couldn't bring life into the character. In
fact, she's downright bad at it. This makes the otherwise funny and
telling scenes in the McFly house strenuous to watch. A lot of the
dialog was embarrassing during those scenes, as well, though the rest of
the cast, especially Lea Thompson, do a great job with what they have,
showing us how easy things are in the future. I especially like the
pre-programmed welcome for Marty -"lord of the manor", and so on. Ha!
The main reason for Marty getting into all of this trouble is cited as
his fear of being called "chicken", which I'm not sure I like. It is
retro-continuity, which was not visible in the slightest in the
first movie. However, I suppose that
can be explained away by the fact that he should be a different person
now, because of the changes to his family. Still, it's used a little too
often. Thankfully, Jennifer hears about the Rolls Royce incident, which
will have an impact on the future.
The altered 1985, because of older Biff traveling back to give his
younger self a sports almanac of the future, was a lot of fun to see,
especially since so many people show up, like Strickland, but in subtly
different places. It truly was a nightmare, very close to Hell. It just
goes to show that money can truly buy the blind eye of the government...
Once again, there are many parallels to what has gone before, even with
Marty trying to cross the street -this time in front of motorcycles and
tanks! Waking up to his mother, this time with breast enhancements, is
reminiscent of the last time he woke up in her company. Of course, Biff
is just as nasty as ever, so we love it when Doc knocks him out by
opening the car door on the roof.
As I mentioned, my favorite part of the movie is back in 1955, seeing
Marty watch himself interact with the others. After watching the
behind-the-scenes feature on the DVD, I realized that we never see
George's face in this part, simply because the actor refused to do the
role as they wanted. Even when he waves to Marty after kissing Loraine,
we see him from the back -obviously another actor, when you know. It's
something I had not noticed before.
I thought it was terrific to see the beautiful, stunning Loraine again,
and in some new scenes, like the one with Biff after she buys her dress.
We also see her in many of the scenes from the previous film, but once
again, from different angles.
There were some subtle changes in body language from the first movie,
some of which will affect Marty when the "ripple effect" reaches him.
The one that is most noticeable is when Marty looks down at the
sandbag-covered gang members as he exits the stage. Priceless confusion.
The other doesn't belong to time-travel, but is a small revision in the
ending to the first movie. When Doc says that Marty and Jennifer turn
out okay in the future, his eye twitches, like he's lying, something
that didn't happen when the producers were not anticipating a sequel.
It's quite funny.
The ripple of time changes is also a little suspicious. In the first
movie, it took a week for Marty to fade out of existence. But the
newspaper headlines of the future changed within minutes of their
successful mission. Old Biff also disappears within (probably) hours of
changing the past. In fact, this scene is cleared up immensely by the
rest of the deleted scene shown on the DVD, so much that I wish they had
left it in the movie. I always wondered why old Biff was in pain when he
got out of the Delorean. I never connected it with his ceasing to exist,
even when I knew the past was changed. It's a good thing he brought the
car back! Still, if he faded out, shouldn't the rest of that year have
changed, as well?
As with the first movie, the music and special effects were great, but
aside from the future aerial highway, didn't differ significantly from
its predecessor. In fact, that is what makes the movie so impressive,
that they were able to duplicate so much of it so well, including the
mood of the Enchantment Under the Sea dance.
Part of what makes these movies so great is that nothing goes according
to plan, yet everything turns out fine in the end. Every time Marty
thinks his job will be easy, it is easy, but then something goes
drastically wrong, and he has to try again, this time with much more
The deleted scenes and outtakes on this disc are much shorter and much
less interesting than for the first movie, except for old Biff fading
out. The behind-the-scenes features are also a lot shorter, and I don't
know why this is. The first feature actually turns into a trailer for
the movie! I've seen a great video about this film when it first came
out, and I wonder why it wasn't included, because it would have
certainly been better than what we got. The other behind-the-scenes
feature is longer, but still gives us more movie footage than extras.
The rest of the stuff is between 1-3 minutes each, and so poorly edited
that it looks like the disc switched the feature off almost
mid-sentence. As usual, I won't be watching the director's commentary or
notes for a long time, so I don't know if they are in any way
I continue to be disappointed with the extras given on the Back to the
Future DVDs, but at least the movies are amazing, especially to see them
in widescreen! I've heard that there is a problem with the framing of
the films on discs 2 and 3, so that we get too much headroom and are
missing some parts of the movie at the bottom of the screen. I didn't
notice it at all, but I suppose I should get the replacement discs,
anyway, just to be sure.
This movie does what no other movie can do, because of its time travel
roots -visit itself and allow the main characters to watch themselves as
they did what they did in the previous
movie. That is the best part of it, but the future was fun, and the
alternate present shows how dangerous time travel can be. Seeing Doc get
hit by lightning was still shocking, helped I think, by the music.
Finally, seeing the post office deliver Doc's letter from the past was
fun, and it had a terrific ending, with Doc exhilarated by sending Marty
back to the future, only to be confronted by the boy seconds later! Ha!
The third movie, of course, rectifies everything, with time paradoxes
and more, love, and shootouts in the wild west! Knowing what is coming
allowed me to pick out several scenes in this movie that set up for it,
including Biff's great-great grandfather, the Clint Eastwood movie, and
more. Although the third movie wasn't my favorite, I am still looking
forward to it.