Great scott! It’s a Back to the Future retro review! This is one of the SIIAG teams favourites so it was only a matter of time before this was going to happen. So, is it still any good?
For those of you living in a cultural vacuum, Back to the Future centers around 1980s teen, Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) – best. name. ever. – who helps out his quirky genius friend, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and winds up being taken back to the 1950s in the Doc’s time-machine/dolorean. Inevitably, he does some damage to history just by being in a time he shouldn’t be and has to help his parents fall in love the way they were supposed to so that he will actually exist in the future.
Watching this movie again is like looking at a time capsule – it was made in the 80s so it’s set in the 80s (at least until they go back in time), with very obviously 80s characters. The effects have aged, as have some of the references, and the fashion but there is something about this movie that is timeless and it’s no wonder that it is still as much loved as it was when it was released.
Zemekis and Bob Gale did an absolutely amazing job writing the script – it’s beautifully crafted and is lighthearted while still being able to negotiate the issues of the time travel paradox. And who can forget the fact that Marty’s mum cracks onto him – creepily oedipal but weirdly hilarious. I hadn’t watched it in years and so it really struck me how well everything was handled and how great all the little plot details were handled so it very much stayed a comedy rather than becoming some weird drama hybrid.
The set and props are brilliant, with so many little intricacies that you don’t really think about – like Marty pretty much inventing the skateboard when he rips the top off a box cart, something that wouldn’t have been around in the 50s. The score, though less obvious, is awesome too, and Marty’s quip (“Maybe you’re not ready for that, but trust me, your kids are going to love it”) after playing a Hendrix-style guitar riff is so off the cuff that it’s almost like it wasn’t even scripted.
Amazingly, Michael J Fox’s casting almost never happened, with Eric Stoltz originally being cast as McFly, and even getting a month into shooting before they pulled the pin on Stoltz to cast the teen lead from Family Ties (you can see some of his work in the role here) It was so worth the re-shoot though – Michael J Fox is awesome in the role and a huge part of why the film is so rad.
Seriously, if you don’t like Back to the Future, you can GTFO. Definitely one to show the kids. Make them love it too.