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Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy
BLU-RAY disk
10.27.2010 By: Daniel Rohr
Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy order download
Robert Zemeckis

Michael J Fox
Christopher Lloyd
Lea Thompson


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A high school kid (Michael J. Fox) accidentally goes back in time in a Delorean trying to escape from Libyan terrorists who (he thinks) just killed his scientist friend "Doc" (Christopher Lloyd). This sets off a three movie time traveling chain into the past, the present, the future, the alternate-present, the past again, even deeper into the past and finally, the present.
BACK TO THE FUTURE - What could possibly be said about BACK TO THE FUTURE that hasn't been already? It's pretty much the perfect popcorn movie. Seriously, just go get this set now if you haven't seen the movie before.

In the movie, Marty McFly accidentally travels back in time to 1955, when his parents were in high school. He inadvertently inserts himself into how his parents met and becomes the object of his mother's desire. The rest of the movie is Marty trying to teach his dad how to be a man, getting his mom to like his dad and working with a younger version of Doc to get the time machine back together.

That seems simple, so why is it so perfect? It's really just the perfect storm of extremely likable leads and great writing/directing. The performances across the board are wonderful and unique. I'm sure we've seen people on screen with these characteristics before but they feel completely fresh 25 years later. There's nobody quite like Michael J Fox, Crispin Glover or Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson is incredibly sympathetic as the mom whose life sucks in 1985 and as the most beautiful girl in the world in 1955.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: PART 2 - Shot four years later but taking place right where the first left off, Part 2 is probably the "weakest" of the three. That definitely doesn't make it a bad movie. It's just a 4.5 instead of a 5. In Part 2, Doc returns to take Marty and his girl (now played by Elisabeth Shue) into the future (the year 2015) to stop their kid from making a life-altering mistake. The future depicted is the exact future I want to live in. There are bright colors everywhere, holographic movie marquees, self-fitting shoes and clothes, flying cars and hover boards. It's perfect.

So they get to the future and save the day, but then future Biff comes along and steals the Delorean for a few minutes. Biff takes an old Sports Almanac to his past self, so that he can get rich betting off the results found therein. Biff sneaks the Delorean back unnoticed and everybody returns to the present again, only it's not the same present they knew from before. Marty's dad is dead and rich Biff has taken over the town.

Here's where the movie takes a few minor missteps for me. Biff has always been a bit of a cartoon but rich and crazy Biff is just a little too over the top for my liking. Luckily we aren't in the new present long, as Marty and Doc have to go back in time again to relive the events of the first movie and stop Biff from getting to use the Almanac for the first time. The re-creation of the first movie is very clever and extremely well-done. It also follows the time-tested formula for a good second movie in a trilogy by ending when everything is at its worst for our heroes.

BACK TO THE FUTURE: PART 3 - After an unfortunate accident at the end of Part 2, Marty has to follow Doc back into the year 1885. Doc finds love in the form of Mary Steenburgen's school teacher and Marty has to stop notorious outlaw (and relative of Biff) "Mad Dog" Tannen from killing everybody, all while trying to figure out how to get the Delorean back up to 88mph without any gasoline.

Christopher Lloyd really shines in this flick as he's allowed to play an off-beat romantic lead. It's a little jarring at first but everything comes together beautifully.

Part 3 is my favorite of the trilogy for two reasons. The first is that I love Westerns. I love that they got staples of old westerns like Harry Carey Jr, Dub Taylor and Pat Buttram to be background characters. I love that Marty uses the pseudonym "Clint Eastwood" and all the little jokes it brings. The second reason is Mary Steenburgen. Despite the 33 years between us, I am completely and utterly enchanted by her. I cannot explain it at all but I find her to be the most attractive actress working today. And with BTTF and TIME AFTER TIME, she has proven to be the female best suited to romantically travel through time with.

There are literally a million more things to love about the trilogy, from Michael J Fox in drag to Lea Thompson's Fake breasts. The movies are so densely packed, while at the same time being completely entertaining, that they are endlessly re-watchable.
Whoever designed the case is a butthead. Plain and simple. The discs are held in the case in such a way that it feels like you're in constant danger of snapping the discs in half while taking them out and putting them back in. I've never seen a box set using this system to hold discs in and I hope I never do again. Also, when are digital copies of the film actually going to be, you know, digital? Isn't the point of a digital copy so you don't have any physical copy of it? I hate having to see three ugly, plain discs every time I open the set. Simple download codes would be much preferred.

With that out of the way, let's get to everything that's great about bonus features:

Tales from the Future - The highlight of all the bonus features. It's an exhaustive 6-part, feature length documentary spread out evenly between the three discs. It features interviews with almost everybody involved with the movie, including Steven Spielberg but no Crispin Glover, talking about everything you'd ever want to know about the movie. It begins with the creation of the idea by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, moves into pre-production and casting and then focuses on the major components of each movie's filming, crew and releases. You can also see some of the footage shot with the original Marty McFly: Eric Stoltz. It's a shame they didn't cut everything he shot into usable scenes so we could see exactly what the movie would have looked and felt like with him in the lead. I would've preferred them all be on one disc but overall, it's as interesting and enjoyable as these studio-produced pieces could ever wish to be. Once you watch this, the rest of the special features will feel kinda repetitive.

The physics of BACK TO THE FUTURE - Physicist Dr. Michio Kaku pretty much just fellates the movie but provides some pretty good insight into the general physics behind time travel movies and how BACK TO THE FUTURE seems to be a lot closer to reality than most.

Behind the Scenes - A bunch of outtakes and production tests. The standout here is a brand new little featurette on the first movie's original ending. Through storyboards and Producer Bob Gale's commentary we learn that originally Marty was going to return to the present at the end of the first movie by driving into an atomic bomb blast. He was literally going to drive to an atomic testing facility, get up to 88 and use the plutonium from the blast to go through time. The scene was changed due to budget concerns.

Blu-ray Exclusive "U-Control" - Trivia, storyboards and other pop up bubbles explaining how everything is connected.

That's the extent of all the new features. Everything else is from the previous DVD release.

Deleted Scenes - Spread out across the three discs, you get a bunch of deleted scenes from each movie. The video quality on these range from great to sub-VHS.

Michael J. Fox Q&A - Marty McFly discusses where his career was before the movie, the crazy schedule he had during the shoot to accommodate his TV show and the film's legacy.

Q&A Commentaries - This really isn't a commentary, it's a Q&A session that took place after a screening of the film. It's a cool concept and Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale are engaging. I always get bored watching these Q&As, so it's nice to get the info while being able to keep my eyes on something interesting.

Feature Commentaries - Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton discuss every aspect of the movies. At this point, there is a lot of overlap but they're still an interesting duo.

Music Videos - Huey Lewis! Seriously, between this and PINEAPPLE EXPRESS, I don't think any rock musician makes better music for movies.
One of the best trilogies ever made. It's hard to find one movie this great let alone three. There are times where things become a little too cartoonish (Biff) but it's a minor and mostly inconsequential quibble in what are three of the most relentlessly entertaining movies ever made.
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