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Back to the Future
DVD disk
Mar 2, 2009 By: J.A. Hamilton
Back to the Future order
Director:
Robert Zemeckis

Actors:
Michael J. Fox
Christopher Lloyd
Lea Thompson

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Marty McFly accidentally transports himself to 1955 while driving Doc Brown's DeLorean time machine. But before young Doc can help him go back, Marty must first repair the damage heís done to his familyís time line. Else he wonít have a future to go home to.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
There might be ten movies I would dare call perfect, and BACK TO THE FUTURE is by all means one of them. This classic tale has stolen the hearts of the past two generations and will continue to do so for generations to come. I know you hear this all the time, but they really donít make movies like this anymore. The story is top notch with enough layers to get you thinking. But itís a lot smarter than youíd think, taking the science aspect of things very seriously. But most of all, this movie is fun. I mean honestly, who hasnít dreamt of going back in time to check out the scene. Granted, the idea of running into my parents and having my mom fall for me instead of my dad is enough to send me into therapy, but the movie handles the situation well. I couldnít tell you how many times Iíve sat through this flick, but I did wear out a couple VHS copies if thatís any indication. My favorite moment here has always been the scene where he sings Johnny Be Good. Seeing that not only made me want to play the guitar, but grow up to be rock and roll star as well. Suffice to say, I never made it in the music biz. This adventure hooks you from go, and if the story and characters arenít enough for you, the score is die for. I canít help but bob my head and sing along when Martyís hitching a ride to school. Iíd love to go back and try and change the future for me and my family. However, I canít help but think Iíd end up like poor Evan (shudder) from THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT. And that happened to him with GOOD intentions, so just think what would happen to me with all that money and power....err, I mean. Ummm, yeah, things probably wouldnít work out so well for me.

Michael J. Fox is sensational as Marty McFly, a kid who just wants a better life, and believes heís meant for greater things. Donít we all? You canít help but love Marty, but most of all you empathize with his character, which is a big part of what draws you into this film. Christopher Lloyd gives us one of the wackiest characters every created in Doc Brown. He reminds me of a saner (though not much saner) version of FRINGEís Dr. Walter Bishop. Docís zany schemes and inventions bring just the right touch of comic relief, and though this is a PG-13 movie, the content and laughs are clearly aimed at a mature audience. Crispin Glover did a good job here as George McFly, but sadly for him, his career didnít exactly bloom as well as some of his counterparts. CHARLIEíS ANGELS didnít do him (or anyone) much good. But I did enjoy him in WILLARD. Lea Thompsonís portrayal of Lorraine McFly would make any guy wanna go back thirty years. Yes, yes, we know itís Martyís mom, but come on guys, you KNOW youíd have given your left nut to be in the car with her in that dress. The only guy I really feel for here is Thomas F. Wilson, who plays the many incarnations of Biff Tannen. He was amazingly underrated, and some might even argue he carries the film in his own unique way. Heís been rather low key in the movie world but has shown up here and there in TV shows and cartoon voice work. Of course, you canít put a price on his performance in the video short for BACK TO THE FUTURE THE RIDE. I laughed my ass off.

BACK TO THE FUTURE is more than just a timeless masterpiece. Much more. This film has made icons of its characters, influenced jokes, Theme Parks, TV shows and countless other films. Making this journey the stuff of legend. I grew up watching this movie, and still stop and watch it every time Iím surfing the channels and see it on. Iíll be the first to admit there are hardly any PG movies I get psyched for and go out of my way to watch these days. Yet, movies like this one, THE PRINCESS BRIDE and even the earlier STAR WARS movies are all PG and still remain some of the best stories ever written. So why canít Hollywood make any decent ones these days? Who knows. Like I said, they just donít make em like this anymore. I donít know if itís the kid in me or my love of a great adventure, but BACK TO THE FUTURE shines on every level and no matter how many times youíve seen it, youíll always come back for more. Oh, and Iíll give you ten bucks if you can spot Huey Lewisís cameo without reading the credits or watching the extras. I had NO CLUE that was him.
THE EXTRAS
We get two discs jam packed with extra goodness.

Disc One:

The Making of Back to the Future: Much like it sounds, we get a look at how it all came together. The great thing here is these interviews are from way back when, before any of the sequels even. So itís very interesting to hear what the cast, director and producer have to say. Oh, and seeing a young Spielberg (who looks fresh out of an eighties video) should put a smile on your face.

Making the Trilogy: Chapter One: Here they focus on the time machine and its many incarnations. Also we learn the basis of the film was inspired by the H.G. Wells novel The Time Machine. Most interesting of all (and something I sure didnít know) we find out Eric Stoltz was the original Marty before they got Fox. The pictures of him are quite a trip.

Q&A with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale: Bob shares a story about finding his fatherís year book and they get into the concept of going back and seeing your parents in High School, and if theyíd be people you would associate with. The two mostly discuss the same principles covered in the making Featurette. I like the fact that a lot of planning went into this film on a creative level. They really tried to make something original but at the same time, not push it beyond belief. The idea of them using a fridge as the time machine (at one point) is rather hilarious.

Enhanced Conversation with Michael J. Fox: Here we go through various scenes with Marty McFly. And when a clock icon appears on the screen you can click it to bring up a box with Michael J. Fox giving you a commentary and or explanation of the scene in progress. This feels like a newer, hipper way of enjoying commentaries. I like it.

Feature Commentary with Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton: They both insist you watch this one last as theyíre trying not to retell whatís already been told. The makeup process is interesting but sounds very uncomfortable and annoying for the actors. Also, itís cool to hear about the nuclear explosion in the desert concept originally proposed for the fuel. However, the cost would have been around a million dollars so naturally they decided to change it. Iíd like to see what a million dollar explosion looks like.

Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Bob Gale: Time and time again we get a fist full of deleted/extended scenes and we immediately understand why they didnít make the cut. The Darth Vader scene was funny, and it was cool to see where he got the hair dryer he had tucked away in his belt. The Playboy magazine and gay joke felt very out of place. Bobís commentaries didnít add any excitement.

Outtakes: Short and sweet, though mostly just short. Michael J. Foxís wife beater and hairnet scene was pretty priceless.

Universal Animated Anecdotes: Have you ever watched ďPopup VideoĒ on Much Music? Well this is the same principle. As the movie plays through, you have multiple words popping up along the bottom of the screen, pointing out hidden facts pertaining to the scene in progress. And just like the show on Much Music, itís cool for about five minutes and then you want to hurt someone.

Original Makeup Tests: Shots of the actors modeling various stages of their makeup. Not much here we havenít already seen.

Production Archives: An assortment of cast and crew stills as well DeLorean and time travel designs and concepts. The latter two went through a lot more stages than youíd think.

Excerpts from the Original Screenplay: Here we get a peek at some of the original script, which was quite a bit different in certain areas. We get a better look at the other nuclear concept, but the dialogue feels a bit off. I donít like Marty referring to the Doc as Professor.

Theatrical Teaser Trailer: This trailer doesnít make a hell of a lot of sense to me. But itís worth watching to see how far (thank God) trailers have come since then.

Cast & Filmmakers: We get a picture and bio of the main cast members and production team. Itís nice to read up on their highlights, but itís mostly stuff you no doubt already know.

Production Notes: A written thesis about the idea of time travel and how it makes this movie such a magical adventure. I gotta hand to the Bobs, they really did revolutionize time travel.

DVD-ROM Features including Total Axess: A short commercial explaining how you can use this DVD to connect to Universalís Total Axess site and enjoy behind the scenes footage and special extras for some of you favorite movies. Sorry, I already have a favorite movie site. Wink, wink.

Recommendations: They recommend six movies: E.T, JAWS, JAWS 2, and all three JURASSIC PARK films. Hmmm, not exactly filmís greatest moments. But I liked them all save JURASSIC PARK 3.

Special Announcements: Michael J. Fox and Mohammad Ali star in two commercials about helping out and raising money for Parkinson Disease. It breaks my heart to see anyone like that, let alone two great men like them. Itís a cause worth fighting for.

Disc Two:

Back to the Future: The Ride: Here we have the video shown while waiting in line at Universal Studios to get on the ride, as well as the continuation which plays once the ride begins. Biff breaks in to the lab where Docís taking on recruits for a time mission. Biff steals the DeLorean and itís up to (you) to chase him through time and ďbumpĒ him, sending him back to the present. I had the privilege of experiencing this ride first hand, and it was easily the best attraction in the park.

Looking Back to the Future: Cast and crew currently reflect upon how big this story and its characters actually became. They splice a lot of things in here that have already been covered (some more than a couple times) pushing things a bit longer than necessary. Itís still fun to see the vast difference between ďthenĒ and ďnowĒ comments.

Back to the Future Night: Leslie Nielsen hosts a special Television presentation of BACK TO THE FUTURE with a look behind the scenes and a sneak peak at the next installment. Nothing new here other than the stuff about the sequel as dictated by the host as well as cast and crew reactions. I always liked Nielsen and this seems to have captured him during his Naked Gun fame.

Michael J. Fox Q&A: Fox gives his two cents about various aspects of the film. I always liked Michael, but my respect for him doubled after watching these Featurettes. I knew he was doing Family Ties around the same time, but what I didnít know is he was doing BOTH at the same time. Fox shot the TV show in the morning, went to do the film straight after and ended up getting no more than two hours sleep most nights. Thatís dedication folks.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
No movie collection is complete without BACK TO THE FUTURE. Period. And believe it or not, there are those among us (up until a year ago my girl was one of them) whoíve never seen this precious gem, so it is up to us to go and spread the gospel. So make like a tree, and get outta here!
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