DIRECTOR: Robert Zemekis
May contain spoilers!
Whist last Wednesday, we celebrated what was dubbed Back To The Future Day on social media, the 21st of October 2015 was the day that Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travelled to when they went 30 years into the future from 1985 at the end of the first film. But they travelled from the 26th October 1985. and that fictional day was 30 years ago today.
So, here is a brief run down of what I think of these classic movies. But first, a little context. I was seven in 1985 and really wanted to see the first movie at the cinema but cinema trips in the 80’s where rare for us. So it wasn’t until Christmas Day, 1988 that I finally saw this movie and I loved it!
Then, it was in 1990 that I saw Part II and soon after my mum and I went to the cinema to see the final chapter, Part III in the summer holidays.
Back To The Future is nothing short of an example of screen-writing brilliance. Tightly pack and interwoven from the opening scene to the final “cliffhanger” which, let’s face it, was never meant to be a cliffhanger as much as just a cool and intriguing ending to a stand alone film. Managing to demonstrate time travel and its effects in a simple way, as well as getting away some particularly disturbing Freudian themes in what is essentially a family movie, this has it all. Excitement, action, comedy and a set of intriguing scenarios for everyone to have something to talk about.
Picking up precisely where Back To The Future left off, the tantalising none cliffhanger is fleshed out to become the basis for whole movie. But Part II is a very different film to the first. This begins with the look at 2015, which is very much a 1980’s vision of the future though not entirely wrong, but this is a kin to the Jabba The Hut sequence from Return Of The Jedi (1983), in which they have to get this plot out of the way to get to some thing far more interesting. Whilst in the future, the series’ villain, Biff, travels back in time to 1955 to give himself a book of sports Stats.
This makes Biff a millionaire and the 1985 we all know is now gone and Biff now runs the town and has ran it into the ground. Doc and Marty must travel BACK to 1955 and the events of the first movie in order to put things right. But this ends up with Doc Brown being sent back to 1885 and Marty yet again, trapped in 1955…
At least the last cliffhanger was intentional. Parts II & III were filmed back-to-back and this final chapter takes us back to the tone of the first film. But this time it is Doc Brown who is trapped in the past and Marty, who has followed him there, must save his life. But things go wrong, the DeLorean is damaged and the film ends up with a fantastic train finale.
This is more in the same vein as the first movie, with our heroes trapped in the past trying to get back to the future, whilst the second film was much more about exploring the perils of time time travel. But Part III puts our characters in the Old West a revels in the epic nature of their surroundings, whilst enjoying every minute of it!
All in all the first and third films take us on a clichéd journey to the times, 1950’s Americana and 1880’s Wild West, but the second takes us on an adventure to the future (2015), a parallel present (1985) and back to the first film (1955). But as a Trilogy, it works, giving us a complete set of scenarios and settings over 130 year period, showing the evolution of the fictional California town of Hill Valley from its dusty, way out west beginnings to the “future” incarnation, complete with Mattel Hover-boards, Flying cars and Jaws 19!.
A quintessential movie series of the 1980’s and a defining franchise for our generation but not limited there to. Still engaging younger audiences 30 years later, it may not be as cool as it was, but it may well still be as relevant.
A timeless classic?