Back to the Future

You’ll never believe this. I was standing on the toilet, hanging a clock when I slipped and hit my head on the sink. When I came to I realised I hadn’t reviewed any of the “Back to the Future” films. Great Scott!

Back to the Future (1985)

It’s really hard reviewing the films you love. It’s very tempting to just say “It’s all good” and move on. However, I like to think I’m better than that (although I’m open to the fact that I may be wrong) and so I’ll try to explain why I think “Back to the Future” is so damn good.

“Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?”

The plot follows time-travelling teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) who accidently goes back to 1955 in a time machine which his friend Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) invented. Things start to go wrong as Marty inadvertently screws up his parents’ first meeting and so his very existence is threatened. To me, it’s a pitch-perfect escapist story chock-full of comedy, romance, peril, action and everything in between. “Back to the Future” shows that if your story is strong enough, it can outlast anything, even the fashion disasters of the ’80s. Michael J. Fox is fantastic as Marty- he is effortlessly cool (well, for an ’80s kid). Lloyd is brilliant too, not only putting in the best performance of his career, but also giving us one of the greatest movie scientists ever. Every time I watch this film, I’m always reminded of how strong the supporting cast is with Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson and especially Thomas F. Wilson giving us some really memorable characters. Biff Tannen has got to be one of the all-time biggest twatbags ever, but somehow he’s likeable too.

The friendship between Doc and Marty, although we never get the back story, feels very real. On paper it seems odd and possibly very creepy, but somehow as the film goes on, I bought the fact that they are great friends totally without the word “grooming” crossing my modern, cynical mind. As you probably know by now, I appreciate films not treating me like a drooling retard and actually allowing some imagination and thought- this film does this and more, giving the deceptively simple plot enough twists and turns to keep us entertained. “Back to the Future” is one of those rare films that doesn’t lull or lose focus of the story. It’s pacy enough so the audience doesn’t get bored, but spends enough time on the characters for them to feel well-rounded and to make us genuinely care about them. The time travel element is used to its full potential too, with clever nods to both fifties and eighties culture.

As for favourite scenes, there are too many to choose from. The scene where Marty wakes up in 1955 to his doting teenage mother is brilliantly written and funny. I get the feeling that if in different hands, the scene wouldn’t have played out as nearly as well and possibly have had a horrible Oedipal situation on its hands. The skateboard sequence with Biff and his cronies is genius too, with the bit where Marty evades the car and Biff and co. crash into the manure truck never failing to raise a smile from me. The “Johnny B. Goode” sequence is also excellent, with Marty practically inventing Rock ‘n’ Roll before its time at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. The score is worth mentioning also as Alan Silvestri out-Williamses John Williams with a very memorable and epic main theme.

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour… you’re gonna see some serious shit.”

To be honest, I could fan-wank about this film for days. To me, it’s about as close to perfection as a film can get. This is why I’ve cooked up a new rating for it and other classics of it’s ilk. Basically, the five gold star rating is given to films which are exceptional and are just that bit better than other excellent films. So, I award “Back to the Future” the first five gold rating in the history of this site purely because I don’t think I could ever get tired of it.

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