Not simply for nostalgic reasons does this film go down as one of the all-time greats that will retain its entertainment value no matter how many years pass and some might say only gets better as it gets older.
There are not many people who have not heard of “Back to the Future”, Marty McFly or the eccentric Doc Brown. It is closing in on thirty-years since its release but this film still is one of the great adventures out there for all ages, and one that has managed to hold its relevance among movie fans today.
Produced by the legendary Steven Spielberg and written/directed by Robert Zemeckis (Who Framed Roger Rabbit 1988) the film became a worldwide classic with a mere budget of an estimated twenty-million. The film starred Michael J. Fox (Spin City 1996), Christopher Lloyd (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For 2014), Lea Thompson (Ping Pong Summer 2014), Crispin Glover (The Bag Man 2014) and Thomas F. Wilson (Epic 2013).
Young Marty McFly (Fox) is accidentally taken back in to 1955 in a time-machine made from a DeLorean created by the radical Dr. Emmett Brown (Lloyd). When he inadvertently disrupts the meeting of his younger parents his future will be at stake. Marty will have to convince his high school aged father to muster the courage needed to capture the love of his future mother, or else getting back to the future will be the least of his problems.
After recently watching this film it goes without questions that it is still one of my all-time favorites. It still can hold your interest, and watching Fox and Lloyd as the headliners still draws laughter and intrigue. The script follows a great structure and weaves together a wildly creative story-line that all ages can enjoy. The film going back to 1955 was and is still fun to watch as McFly awkwardly interacts with both of his younger parents as well as the teenage version of Biff.
The script is as well structured as “Star Wars” and used its formula perfectly to convey high intrigue, many comedic moments and plenty of dramatic elements as well. It all mixes together to make a fantastic adventure that is always enjoyable. It is entertaining from beginning to end and seeing the cast playing different versions of themselves is a true marker of the time period in cinema where stars often donned make-up to play multiple roles.
Also the fact a seemingly planned sequel was in the works made for a great story flow as the cliffhanger comes at the end. I can still remembers seeing this movie as a kid and talking with friends about what I thought would happen next to Marty McFly as I saw the ‘to be continued’ scroll across the screen.
The cast is perfect for their roles and their performances are all excellent. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are fantastic and their chemistry is excellent and to this day they are one of the best onscreen duos in cinema. This chemistry with one another and they ability for them to play off one another make their odd relationship highly entertaining.
It is one of the major reasons why this film was so entertaining as the two build great characters people can like and be drawn to. Crispin Glover was also great as the strange and shy (younger) version of Marty’s father. Lea Thompson was fun in her role and as the younger version of Marty’s mother, she delivered some laughably awkward moments with her unknown son resulting in great comical moments as Marty learned more about his seeming drab mom, while she was in her… prime.
The strongest performance of the supporting cast would have to go to Thomas F. Wilson as the bully and series antagonist, Biff Tannen. He was hilarious at times as the dumb brute who wreaked havoc for both Marty and his father. His outbursts were memorable and still deliver plenty of chuckles and as a result he was able to make the character one of the more memorable in the franchise. Despite his being an antagonist he still managed to make Biff a likable presence.
While Michael J. Fox was excellent as the lead bringing a charming Marty McFly to the screen, Christopher Lloyd as the wild Doc Brown is still the strongest character in this script. His mannerisms and delivery are one of a kind and are what make his character so memorable as Lloyd finds a middle ground between Einstein and Kramer from “Seinfeld”.
The locations were well chosen and whether in 1985 or 1955 you can actually feel like you are being taken to the settings of each scene. The backdrops and props were all great, as well as some awesome wardrobe selections from both time periods. The soundtrack was also enjoyable as the choices seemed to perfectly capture the trademark tones from both eras. Alan Silvestri created an iconic score the film and even today when you close your eyes and hear the score you can immediacy see the film play out in your mind.
The script gives you everything from comedy, to action to drama and some built up suspense to what will happen, and overlying it all was a compelling adventure that is surprisingly unpredictable. The action was well shot and the cinematography was excellent. The memorable clock tower scene in the third-act was extremely well edited in my opinion and has you on the edge of your seat to see if Marty and Doc will succeed. The story-line still makes up to be on of the best time-travel films out there. The script takes you on a wild ride and draws your interest throughout. In addition to the creative theme, and its balance among the subplots, this one has a very well written screen-play.
These strong traits are what make this film a timeless classic and always attention getting no matter how many times you have seen it. If you have not seen this film yet, I feel bad for you for having missed out for so long, and at the same time envy you for being able to see it for the first time.