A review of the Back to the Future trilogy on its 25th birthday plus Blu-Ray news
Back to the Future opened 25 years ago today on July 3, 1985.
I can’t believe it’s been 25 years. I saw Back to the Future during the Summer of 1985. If it wasn’t opening day, it was very close. My dad took me right after school to go see it. I loved it. That summer I saw it at least 8 or 9 more times in the theater. I was able to do that because during the summer of 1985 our local radio station I-95 had a promotional movie night on Mondays where it was $1.95 to see a movie and soda and popcorn were $.99 each. We went nearly every week. And every time I saw Back to the Future again. It was the spectacle of this movie that instilled in me a deep love for movies and watching them in the theater. Back to the Future was really the first movie I consciously wanted to go see more than once while it was at the theater. I’ve been a movie whore ever since and I’ve owned this movie and its sequels in nearly every home video format since. I had the VHS, Laser Disc, DVD and I will soon have the Blu-Ray.
Speaking of Blu-Ray, before I get to the reviews, it was announced this week that the Back to the Future trilogy would be released on Blu-Ray on October 26, 2010. Here’s the box art from DVDActive.com (click the image to see the whole article).
I love that cover. The extras are voluminous, too. It says it contains a new 6 part documentary, but previous releases had 3 part documentaries (which the article mentions are included as archival footage). So they filmed another “making of” documentary? Why? These documentaries tend to be repetitive because there’s not much else to say about the making of these movies 25 years later. That juice has been squeezed. I’m more interested to know if the Back to the Future The Ride footage will be included. Or the scenes filmed with Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly. These are the things that have been missing from the last few releases of the trilogy. Regardless I’m looking forward to see the new High Def transfer.
Now on to the movie reviews.
Back to the Future (1985) – Similar to when I watched the Karate Kid right before the remake opened, I am charged up after watching Back to the Future for the first time in a few years. Like Karate Kid, it is a nearly perfect film. Every scene is entertaining and all of the actors bring their A game. Michael J Fox is great as Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd is also great as Doc. This is good because the entire movie only plays if Doc and Marty have chemistry, and they do…in spades. The entire movie is extremely entertaining and is edited to a very brisk pace from scene to scene. It seems like almost every line early in the movie pays off at some point in the end. I mean, this script is tight. I found myself saying all my favorite lines along with the actors while watching the movie. “What’re you lookin’ at, Butt Head. Say ‘Hi’ to your mom for me.” “A portable television studio. No wonder your President has to be an actor, he has to look good on television.” “Who in the hell is John F Kennedy?!” It’s so much fun! And the gag at the end with the flying Delorean is just as great as you remember, “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need…roads.” I have the first DVD release of the trilogy which, I didn’t realize, does not have the To Be Continued… title card at the end of the first movie. I know it was not a part of the original theatrical release of the movie, but it was a little disappointing not to see it. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s on the Blu-Ray release. So, I can happily say I wholeheartedly recommend this movie. It’s a fun family romp that’s endlessly entertaining, never boring and just loads of fun to watch. Let’s hope Hollywood doesn’t decide they need to remake it. Because then I may have to activate Operation Burn Hollywood to the F’n Ground. No one wants that.
Back to the Future Part II (1989) – Part II has fans divided. Many actually hate it. I admit, when I first saw it in the theater, I was a tad disappointed. It hadbeen 5 years since the original came out and my enthusiasm had bubbled up to an unattainable level. I enjoyed the movie but not as much as I’d hoped. Some of it was the fact that the movie’s tone was a bit darker. A lot of exposition and action was crammed into this movie. The heroes traversed three separate time periods. It was dizzying. However, after years of watching this movie, it has slowly made it up into the second spot on my Back to the Future favorite list. Watching Part II again for this anniversary, it only confirmed that I did really enjoy the movie. The hover board chase in 2015, the alternate 1985-A and revisiting the first movie from a different point of view all make for a truly entertaining movie. Plus, in my last few viewings of the trilogy, I’ve come to be really impressed with Tom Wilson’s performances as the different incarnations of Biff. He is really funny, goofy and terrifying as the ever present bully. He’s become a stand up comedian, and a pretty funny one at that. Check out his Question Song on YouTube. It’s hilarious. One gripe about this movie, it’s almost a bit too long. The stuff at Marty’s house in 2015 where Michael J Fox plays like 4 characters, that could have been cut in half. It’s not my favorite part of the movie and seemed more gimmicky and not necessary than the rest of the movie. I also don’t like how all of a sudden Marty hates being called a chicken. Where the hell did that come from? I realize it drives the whole “crash into the Rolls Royce” subplot but it’s off putting. Other than that, pretty much everything in 2015 (except the “old Marty” stuff) and most of the stuff in 1955 is great. I still really enjoy this movie. Quick trivia, in 2015, when Marty plays the Wild Gunman video game in front of two kids, one of those kids is Elijah Wood. I didn’t realize it until this very screening.
Back to the Future Part III (1990) – I myself have always been hit or miss on this movie. It depends on my mood. This time, however, I loved it. And surprisingly, my favorite part of the movie? Tom Wilson as Mad Dog Tannen. His lines are hilarious. He keeps calling Marty these long drawn out insults like “duded-up, egg sucking, gutter trash” or “gutless, yella turd”. He is hilarious and makes the movie for me. I really did enjoy the Old West setting and the scenes with the train pushing the Delorean were fun and entertaining. This screening was a surprise for me because usually when I think about watching Part III I groan a bit in my head because I think it’s tedious. I was wrong. It’s very entertaining and worth watching.
On the Back to the Future Part III disc, as an extra, was the 20 minute documentary Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy hosted by Kirk Cameron. It was cheesy, but it had a lot of interesting tidbits. It went in depth into how they filmed the hover board sequence and even showed a deleted scene. It was slight, but fun.
So, that’s my look back on the Back to the Future trilogy on the 25th birthday of the original movie. It was fun putting together all of these themed articles. Hope you enjoyed it. Stay tuned, because next week I have a special article written in conjunction with Shawn Robare of Branded in the 80s. It’s going to be a lot of fun.
Have a great holiday weekend everyone.
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