I have to restrain myself from writing this review in all capital letters. It’s difficult because I have no lower case feelings about this movie. In fact, I can’t even be objective about this movie, so I’m not even going to try.
I’ve seen Back to the Future more times than I can count. I’ve casually quoted it in everyday conversation. I once thought I had lost my DeLorean key chain that came with the 20th anniversary DVD box set, and let me tell you, it was a tense half hour (also because my keys were still attached, but they could be more easily replaced than the keychain). I’m still hoping someone will make me a “Welcome Home, Uncle Joey” cake for my birthday one year. On my first visit Universal Studios Hollywood the studio tour didn’t drive through Hill Valley, and it put a damper on the whole day.
I love the time travel. I love that the time machine is a DeLorean and that it travels through time but not space like all good time machines should. I love Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson and Crispen Glover, and yes, even Thomas F. Wilson as bully Biff Tannen. I love that a major plot point is that you should listen to all your parents’ boring stories so in the event you accidentally interfere with the past you can make sure they still fall in love, because I’ve listened to all my parents’ boring stories and I’m pretty sure I’d be successful at this. I love the music– both Huey Lewis and 50s rock. I especially love the scene that goes, “Chuck! Chuck! It’s Marvin. Your cousin, Marvin Berry. You know that new sound you’re looking for? Well, listen to this!” Actually, I especially love all the scenes.
I just love this movie.
This film is a classic. It is the A standard when it comes to time travel movies. Everything about is first class. Michael J. Fox is brilliant as time travelling teenager Marty McFly. This was one of his first film roles and it remains his best by some margin. There is so much to like about this film. It’s funny, has a great cast and a great story. As far as time travel movies go, they should all aspire to be as great as this film.
Michael J. Fox became a bonafide star after this film was released. He carries this movie well, as an audience we see most of the movie through his eyes so it’s important he is likeable and charming. Fox delivers in spades. I read that they’d originally cast Eric Stoltz in the role of Marty, even filming scenes with him. I’ve never seen the footage, but can’t imagine anybody else in the role. Fox is great.
Fox is well supported by his cast. Everyone shines in this film. Christopher Lloyd is delightfully cooky as ‘Doc’ Emmet Brown, creator of the DeLorean time machine. He and Fox have great chemistry together, you believe they’re good friends straight away. Crispin Glover is good as Marty’s dad George. Although he looks much too old to be playing a teenager, it’s not a huge problem. Lea Thompson is also having fun as Marty’s mum. She is hamming it up as the heavier 80s version, but attractive and funny as her younger self in the 50s. The cast make this film work as well as it does. The scenes between Fox and Thompson are great. It’s very awkward seeing her flirt with her future son. You feel for Fox a lot, and it’s due to the solid cast. Thomas F. Wilson rounds out the cast as Biff. He’s very good as the villain Biff. You really don’t like him at all and can’t wait until he gets his comeuppance during the final sequence.
For those that don’t know the plot, McFly is a teenager living in 1985 that is upset with his life. He wishes his dad would stand up to his bully supervisor at work, Biff. One night his scientist friend Doc Brown tests a newly invented time machine, asking Marty to record the trial. Antics ensue and Marty ends up in 1955 where he inadvertently prevents his parents from meeting which threatens his own existence. He must find a way to get his parents together, while trying to get back to 1985 with the help of 1955’s Doc Brown.
I love this film. It is charming and really entertaining. A lot of the time travel jokes may seem a bit cliche today, but that’s because this film invented the cliches all other time travel films copy. It’s fantastic.
I also have to mention the soundtrack. The score by Alan Silvestri and theme song by Huey Lewis and the news is great. They’re so catchy, even nearly 30 years later.