Timeless Classics

Back to the Future
Back to the Future Part 2
Back to the Future Part 3
Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover (Part 1), Thomas F. Wilson, Elisabeth Shue (Parts 2 & 3), Mary Steenburgen (Part 3)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Universal Studios
Rated PG

2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the first Back to the Future movie. Most people who grew up in the 80s consider the Back to the Future trilogy to be amongst their favorite films of all time. The Back to the Future movies have always been in high demand among the films’ fans. There have been several iterations of the movies released to the home video market, from the early days of VHS to the current era of high-definition. Universal Studios has finally made good with their fans with a digital restoration and high definition upgrade of all three Back to the Future movies. Now all three films can be viewed on VUDU in SD, HD, and HDX!

In Back to the Future, teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) helps his friend Emmett “Doc” Brown (Christopher Lloyd) test out his latest experiment—a time machine created from a DeLorean. During the test, Marty is accidently sent back in time to 1955. He hunts down “Doc” Brown in 1955 and has to convince him to help him get back to 1985. Unfortunately, Marty’s presence in 1955 has already caused dire consequences—he’s inadvertently prevented his father, George (Crispin Glover), from meeting his mother, Lorraine (Lea Thompson). Now, Marty has to do everything he can to make his parents fall in love, include having George stand up to Biff (Thomas F. Wilson), the local bully, before he’s wiped from existence. He also must face great risk to get back to his own time, or be stuck in the past forever.

Back to the Future Part 2 finds “Doc” taking Marty and Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue), Marty’s girlfriend, twenty years into the future to 2015 to prevent their future son from making a horrendous mistake that is destined to ruin the McFly family name. After they succeed and return to 1985, they soon realize that things aren’t how they’re supposed to be. They discover Future Biff from 2015 stole the DeLorean, went back in time to 1955, and altered the time line. Now, “Doc” and Marty must travel back to 1955 and set things back to the way they should be.

In Back to the Future Part 3, Marty goes back to 1885 to rescue “Doc” who’s trapped in the Old West. Unfortunately, with the DeLorean damaged and no modern tools to fix their problems, they must come up with a new way to get back to 1985. Things become complicated when “Doc” falls in love with local schoolteacher Clara (Mary Steenburgen), and “Doc” decides to stay in 1885. Marty now has to convince “Doc” to return to 1985 and prevent “Doc’s” death at the hands of Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson), great-grandfather of Biff.

The Back to the Future films are that rare mix of genres that somehow works. Science fiction, adventure, comedy, and even Western (in Back to the Future Part 3) somehow meld together perfectly to create a truly memorable viewing experience. It is also one of those rare experiences where acting, directing, writing, cinematography, and musical score are in perfect harmony. The music of the Back to the Future films has become so iconic that it is instantly recognizable. Everything works together so well that to watch all three films is an enjoyable experience in and of itself.

There was some controversy a few years ago when the first DVD set was released with the films not being in their original aspect ratio. It was evident that Back to the Future Part 2 and Back to the Future Part 3 had framing issues, in some cases omitting a great amount of the original image. Universal offered replacement discs with correct framing, but many fans felt slighted that their favorite films were given such a shoddy treatment. The fans should be able to forgive Universal now with these far superior upgrades. Supervised by producer and co-writer Bob Gale, the high-definition upgrades on all three films have them looking the best they ever have.

Universal has done a great job in cleaning and upgrading these films. As can often be the case when remastering older films, the original look and feel can sometimes be cleaned up too much given today’s advanced technology. Universal, however, maintains the look and feel of movies that were made from the 80s, keeping the right amount of film grain and making sure things don’t look too “polished”. It helps when people who were close to the original production, in this case Bob Gale, can guide the restorers to make sure that the integrity of the movie isn’t lost in the upgrade.

The Back to the Future films will always have a place in film history. The appeal of these films is not just limited to a fervent and loyal fan base. These films appeal to critics and film historians alike, so much so that in 2007 the original Back to the Future was chosen for preservation by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Such an honor is only reserved for those films that are considered to be culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant. If you’ve never seen any of the Back to the Future films before, now is the perfect time to do so. And if you’re just a fan who’s seen the films hundreds of times before, now is the perfect time to see it as it has never been seen before—fully restored and remastered in high definition.

DID YOU KNOW?

Many people know that Eric Stoltz was originally cast as Marty McFly, and that after five weeks of shooting, he was let go and replaced by Michael J. Fox. What many people don’t know is that Eric Stoltz’s firing also had an adverse effect on another actress. Melora Hardin (Jan from the US version of “The Office”) was the original Jennifer Park, Marty’s girlfriend. She was let go because she was now considered too tall when compared with Michael J. Fox.

1 Comment

  • Dwayne Dixon

    October 31, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Without a doubt the Back to the Future series is one of my favorites. The most fun I had watching movies in the 80s was, being 10, I believed movies were real stories. I didn’t yet distinguish between fiction and non-fiction stories. I believed in Santa, I got lost in movie story-lines, I got lost in the moments; I loved the characters and wanted to emulate the heroes.