LIST POSITION: #11
TITLE: Back to the Future Parts I, II and III
DIRECTOR: Robert Zemeckis
CAST: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Claudia Wells, Elisabeth Shue, Mary Steenburgen and the wonderful and underrated THOMAS F. WILSON
Yeah, I’m seriously going to do this. Get your scroll button ready:
- Setups & Payoffs: Note key scenes and see how they play out as you watch the movies
- Storyboard Comparison: Compare key scenes in the movie with the original storyboards.
- Trivia Track: Get inside trivia and facts while you watch the movies.
- Pocket BLU: Experience Blu-ray in an exciting new way with the app for iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry, Android and more
- BD-Live: Access the BD-Live Center through your Internet-connected player and download even more bonus content, the latest trailers and more
- My Scenes: Bookmark your favorite scenes from the movies
- “Tales from the Future:” 6-part retrospective documentary featuring all-new interviews with Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Director Robert Zemeckis, Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton plus Executive Producer Steven Spielberg
- “In the Beginning…”
- Time to Go
- Keeping Time
- Time Flies
- Third Times the Charm
- The Test of Time
- The Physics of Back to the Future
- 16 Deleted Scenes
- Michael J. Fox Q&A
- Archival Featurettes
- The Making of Back to the Future Parts I, II & III
- Making The Trilogy: Chapters One, Two & Three
- Back to the Future Night
- The Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy
- Original Makeup Tests
- Nuclear Test Side Ending Storyboard Sequence
- Production Design
- Designing the DeLeorean
- Designing Time Travel
- Hoverboard Test
- Designing Hill Valley
- Designing the Campaign
- Photo Galleries Including Production Art, Additional Storyboards, Behind-the-Scenes Photographs, Marketing Materials and Character Portraits Music Videos
- “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News
- “Doubleback” by ZZ Top
- Back to the Future: The Ride
- Q&A Commentaries with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale Feature Commentaries with Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton
WHY IT’S ON THE LIST:
I’m not going to try and overtalk this stellar collection, because Nick wrote what could be considered the definitive CHUD review of the set. But what perspective did the definitive review rob you of, dear reader? That of the Back to the Future fanboy. I’ve never been one to admit I am or call myself a fanboy, but if there are fanboys for these films, I suppose I’m one of them. Or you could call me a nostalgic apologist. One of my earliest memories is also my first my first cinematic memory: seeing Part II in the theaters. I remember seeing Part III the next year and immediately going home and running as fast as I could to the cupboard and getting out the pie tins. These new baddie-battling Frisbees never saw the dark of the cupboard again. Thanks, Marty. I remember hyperventilating with joy the first time I took the backlot tour at Universal Studios seeing the Hill Valley Clock Tower. I also remember getting unjustifiably emotional the day it burned to the ground. I still have the first film memorized line-for-line top-to-bottom. I just love these movies.
The 25th Anniversary Trilogy is a treasure-trove of fun goodies and informative tidbits for both the die-hards and the uninitiated alike. The bonus features are plentiful and reworked from the previous releases, which means that even though you may have old editions, you’ve got plenty of reasons to pick up this Blu-Ray set.
The first and foremost reason is for the films themselves. If you don’t know what these films are about . . . How have you lived this long? How have you gained access to the internet when you obviously have no connection to the outside world? The films are culturally ubiquitous, cinematic milestones of entertainment. The first film is perfectly structured and practically free of plot holes, which for a film concerning time travel is close to unimaginable. The first film is also effortlessly entertaining, and as Nick points out in his review an unthinkable convergence of talents that resulted in a lightning-in-a-bottle film. The second and third films do not fare as well, oft-times getting bogged down in their own sense of mythology, something the first film did even more clearly with less effort. As it has been stated before, if your plot requires a scene with chalkboard in order to explain it, maybe you should simplify.
The films look the best they ever have in home video release. I’ve heard certain complaints that for a hi-def release, the image is still a bit too soft and grainy. But the picture looks as clear and sharp as I remember it day of release. There is a look and a feel to films shot and released in this period, especially for films with massive amounts of practical effects, and the transfer is beautifully representative of that look and feel. The slight grain and the soft look give the solid feel of actual film stock. The effects don’t suffer terribly and don’t feel too dated. While matte and blue screen work is more visible, and the old age is more evident as make-up, the films still look as good as they ever did. Also, gone are the framing problems that plagued the earlier DVD releases. They sound as crisp and as clear as they ever did, as well. The score is one of the most iconic and one of my favorites, and it sounds fantastic. I still get excited chills every time I hear the classic chimes.
Back to the Future is practically a staple for any collector, and for good reason. It’s a classic piece of pop culture entertainment. This set is an expansive and interesting look at these films that belongs on the shelf of any cinéaste.
WHY IT DIDN’T RANK HIGHER:
The second and third films. Yes, I’m an apologist, but I’m also a realist. While I enjoy them all unabashedly; I can recognize that while the first film is sublime perfection, the second is a considerable step down in quality and the third is a step up from the second in entertainment, but still far from the first. It’s far from a perfect trilogy. Also, there’s no examination of such important questions like “Was there another Marty McFly wandering around?” or “Why doesn’t the future change around Marty and Doc like he says it will for Jennifer?” I’m kidding. Those questions are only important to me and my fanfiction.
THE BEST SUPPLEMENT:
While leading up to the release the internet crowd was salivating at the rumored footage of Eric Stolz as Marty McFly it turned out to be only a few brief audioless snippets and while that’s a nice geek-pleasure, it’s also nothing you can’t find posted on the internet, and not at all the best feature in the collection. It’s simply part of the best feature: The six-part documentary “Tales from the Future.” The retrospective spans all discs and all aspects of the film, from preproduction to final releases, from script to music choices. A lot of it is regurgitated information for those who know trivia bits from the film, but the new interviews with the writers, producers, director and stars really make for an enjoyable feature.
Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn.
If that bitch starts actin’ up, then you take her friend.