Review of 'Back to the Future'

back_to_the_future.jpg An iconic film of the 1980s, “Back to the Future” ended up as a hugely successful trilogy but this is where it all started.

In the 1980s Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is a typical teenager with a sister, brother, a father who has confidence issues and a caring mother. Visiting his fiend scientist Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) he receives a phone call requesting Marty meet him in a local shopping centre parking lot. Here the doctor demonstrates a Delorean car that he has converted into a time machine using plutonium. When the Libyans who the doctor “borrowed” the plutonium from show up with guns blazing the doctor is shot before Marty escapes in the Delorean. During the chase Marty accidentally reaches the magic 88 miles per hour that triggers the time travelling circuits and sends him back in time to the 1950s. While figuring out exactly what is going on and where he is Marty accidentally prevents his father's first introduction to his mother and it looks likely they will never get together as a couple so his very existence is threatened. Can he bring the two of them together and return successfully to the future while avoiding, Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) the school bully?

An amazingly inventive and fun film. The story is ingenious and is executed magnificently with tremendous performances from Fox and Lloyd. The sets are incredible, managing to recreate an idealistic, yet easily identifiable version of the 1950s. Though the film is more than forty years old now the effects still manage to look quite good despite being before the days of computer graphics. The action sequences are precise and clean while still keeping a great sense of fun. This is a film that does not take itself too seriously. The story is warm and, despite the potential for confusion with the time travel, still manages to keep the viewer engaged. Yes, the characters are “cookie cutter” (meanie - check; witless parents - check) but they are appealing and interesting. By the end the various story threads are nicely tied together for a satisfying conclusion.

There are some iconic scenes here such as Marty playing “Johnny Be Good” on the stage at the “Under the Sea” dance and the first time the Delorean travels in time (who can forget the two lines of fire tracing the wheels of the vanished Delorean), never mind the eminently quotable lines (“where we're going we don't need roads”). Back to the Future despite being a product of the Hollywood big film industry is now ingrained very much in society and as such is part of modern culture. Having said that, the inevitable sequels were not all that great…

A lot of fun and a great soundtrack…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-10-27

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Studio: Universal Pictures

Year: 1985

Length: 116 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by Robert Zemeckis: