Reviews of Back to the Future
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From writer/producer Bob Gale and writer/director Robert Zemeckis comes one of the greatest and most beloved films of the 1980s: “Back to the Future”! This well-made science fiction comedy has become such a favorite among so many people, myself included, that it is on its way to becoming a true classic. The story is just as enchanting today as it was in 1985 when this film was released, and the casting could not have been better. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are absolutely superlative in their respective roles as Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett L. “Doc” Brown. Marty is a high school teen from 1985 who accidentally powers Doc’s time machine, made into a DeLorean, to transport him back to 1955. While in the past, Marty meets Doc’s younger self, and one of the most heartwarming aspects of this story is the great rapport between Marty and the 1955 Doc, even though Marty initially has great difficulty trying to convince Doc that he’s from the eighties and needs his help to get back to his own time; once Doc is convinced of Marty’s honesty and earnestness, he indeed does everything he can to help Marty, and he ultimately succeeds. Credit must also be given to the beautiful Lea Thompson as Marty’s mother Lorraine, whose younger self has become dangerously infatuated with Marty; Crispin Glover as Marty’s father George, the most pivotal character in the story as he develops courage, with help from Marty, to stand up to some nasty bullies and ultimately win Lorraine’s heart; and the congenial Thomas F. Wilson as the mean Biff Tannen, George McFly’s arch nemesis. My favorite scenes from this charming movie include the following. At the opening, Marty strums one chord on his electric guitar and gets blown backward by the amplification in Doc’s laboratory. Marty accidentally launches himself into 1955 by escaping a pair of Lybian terrorists (who hunt Doc down for stealing their plutonium) and crashing into a barn. Marty first encounters George’s younger self at a small diner when Biff and his gang enter and antagonize George; this comically resembles an earlier scene in 1985 when Biff gives George a hard time after totalling George’s car. Doc’s horrified reaction to a videotape of his older self’s mentioning 1.21 jigawatts of electricity is quite unforgettable! Biff and his thugs drive around town chasing Marty on a skateboard, but Marty outwits them and they end up crashing into a manure truck. In one of the greatest pivotal moments of the film, George doesn’t realize his own strength when he knocks out Biff in one punch! And finally, at the dance, Marty sits in on guitar and plays a wonderful rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode,” but he forgets that he is in the year 1955 and his heavy metal reflexes get the best of him. I don’t think there is any doubt that “Back to the Future” is a truly remarkable film. The direction, the screenplay, the casting, the settings, etc., are all top of the line. Writer/producer Bob Gale commented that there is something about this wonderful story to which everyone can relate; in my case, I can easily identify with George McFly’s lack of assertiveness since I was frequently picked on in school. To top everything off, Marty had absolutely no idea what kind of can o’ worms he was opening near the beginning of this film when he told his high school principal (James Tolkan) that history was going to change, but when Marty finally returns to 1985 near the end, he realizes how much he has inadvertently changed things for the better!
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.
A film that pivots so heavily on futurism would normally age badly, souring into a spectacle of disappointment as the themes are rehashed and the visual effects become dated. Back to the Future does the opposite. It is all the time becoming more valuable as an iconic, gloriously retro, everlasting pop culture contingency. What survives it is cleverness and detail, thoroughly exploited in the writing and directing. Having the time travel concept morphed into a comic adventure and the paradox theory used plot-point of incestual hilarity is original on an inspirational level. It’s all so precise and assuredly made that it’s become a how-to of adventure comedy. And with a perfectly cast ensemble of colorful characters, this definitive classic is a consistently satisfying experience. Now if only we can pull Zemeckis out of this motion capture limbo that has consumed him for the past decade…
- Currently 4.0/5 Stars.
This is big, splashy Hollywood entertainment done right. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are hilarious…Doc and Marty are endlessley fascinating characters (seriously, how did these guys meet? Why does Marty spend so much time with this weird, old guy? I have pondered these questions for years). Alongside Empire Strikes Back, Jaws, and a few others, this is one of the few “popcorn” films that I would rank among my all-time favorites.
- Currently 5.0/5 Stars.