Review of 'Back to the Future Part II'

back_to_the_future_part_2.jpg Having been so successful Back to the Future inevitably led the studios to create this second follow-up filmed back-to-back with the third film. While this sequel's story is ingenious it does not have the simple charm of the original.

Following on directly from the end of the original “Back to the Future” film Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and his girlfriend Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue) hop aboard the Delorean driven by Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) to travel to the future to fix a problem with Marty and Jennifer's future children. An older Bill Tannon, “Biff” (Thomas F. Wilson) finds out their time travelling secret, stealing the Delorean to visit himself in the 1950s with a present: A sports almanac giving his younger self all the information needed to become rich by betting on sports. When Marty and Jennifer eventually return to the 1980s they can see the results of Biff's time meddling with Hill Valley now dominated by a huge casino owned by Biff. They eventually realise they will need to return to the 1950s to get back the almanac and restore things to the way they were…

The ingenuity of “Back the Future Part II” is the way the filmmakers manage to so closely interleave the story of the first film into the second. It is seamless and utterly convincing. However, this does leave those who are not really familiar with the first film a great deal in the dark (to be fair, this film is not aimed at them anyway) but those that have even a general familiarity will find the story fascinating at the price of a rather convoluted story. This is a film that never stops moving which means we never really get a chance to take in the surroundings or give the characters a chance to catch their breath. It is a story that has an excess of story. Yeah, sure, frenetic fun but at the price of the simple, (generally) easy pace that made the original so endearing. We barely get a chance to catch our breath before our heroes are facing yet another existential threat…

The effects look amazing and the technical wizardry that must have been involved to put this film together is astounding. The four years that passed since the first film mean dramatic improvements in the look of part 2. The cast are, of course, great as they reprise their roles from the original film but they are not given any real time to develop. Marty's relationship to Jennifer is never in doubt. We know Doc will survive and we know everything will turn out in the end. But, of course, it is the journey that is the fun bit. Of course, we know there is part 3 so don't expect absolutely everything to be perfect…There has to be a cliff hanger.

Fun, but not as good as the original. Don't consider watching if you have not seen the first film as you WILL be lost…

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2019-10-27

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Studio: Universal Pictures

Year: 1989

Length: 108 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films by Robert Zemeckis: