Back to the Future made director Robert Zemeckis a household name. Back in 1985, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd starred in this thrilling tale of science, adventure, nostalgia and humor that captured the hearts and minds of young and old alike.
Dr. Emmett Brown (Lloyd) builds a time machine using a DeLorean and some plutonium stolen from terrorists. Just after its maiden voyage, some heavy stuff goes down, and Marty McFly (Fox) ends up taking Doc Brown's ride to 1955. While there, he meets his parents and inadvertently interrupts the moment that is supposed to be the genesis of their relationship. Marty has to connect with the 1955 version of Doc Brown (also Lloyd) so that he can get, well, back to the future.
This film had everything it needed to succeed. It appealed to a wide audience, was funny, smart and stupid at times (see bully and malaprop Biff Tannen, who always got common sayings wrong). There was fast driving, skateboard stunts and radical illustrations of the generation gap.
Back to the Future II came down the pike in 1989. The success of the first film demanded a sequel, and after Zemeckis finished Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, he got straight to work on the next two Back to the Future movies. Part II picks up where the first left off. Doc Brown comes back from the future to tell McFly and his girlfriend, Jennifer (Claudia Wells in the first one, Elisabeth Shue in the next two), that they have to return to the future with him to help out their children. While there, Marty buys a sports almanac with the intention of making some money on the statistics it contains.
Brown stops him, but Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) manages to pick it up and mess up the space-time continuum, creating a tangental universe - sort of a detour in time that needs to be straightened out. To do that, they need to go back in time to 1955 to try and snag the sports almanac before Biff can do any damage with it. While in 1955, Marty crosses paths with himself from his previous visit and must avoid himself as much as possible, meaning we get to sneak a peek at the first movie from different angles. Outstanding!
Back to the Future III followed its predecessor by six months. In the spring of 1990, we finally found out what happened to Doc Brown after he was sent back in time to 1885. He send a Western Union message to Marty on the road where he left him in 1955 saying not to come looking for him. He's happy in this time and plans to stay there.
Later, Marty and Doc (1955) find out that Doc was killed by a distant relative of Biff Tannen named Buford Tannen (also played by Wilson). This cannot stand, so Marty (who during the last two movies has developed an aptitude for being manipulated by being called "chicken") manages to hurl himself through time again to save him. Doc is reluctant to be saved, however, because he's fallen in love with school teacher Clara Clayton (Mary Steenburgen).
Extra features include many making-of featurettes. Most of the cast and crew who could be interviewed were (excluding Crispin Glover, unfortunately). Perhaps the crowning bit of the whole collection is some footage of Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly. He was jettisoned five weeks into filming because his comedic timing didn't quite fit what was needed. There are commentaries by writer Bob Gale and Neil Canton, and Q&A commentaries with Bob Zemeckis and Gale (although they don't necessarily match what is playing on the screen). Also in the cornucopia of bonuses: a pop-up trivia track, a picture-in-picture storyboard comparison, and an interview with Physics guru Michio Kaku to tell us what the films got right and what they got wrong.
This is an excellent set. The only thing that gets me down a bit is that the included digital copies are available for a limited time only. Why restrict it? It's on the disc, for Pete's sake.
Otherwise, get this. If you love movies, this collection has enough extras to make you happy, the Blu-ray picture and sound are fantastic, and the stories are fit for the whole family (though there is some swearing).
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