Friday, January 2, 2015

Back to the Future [A Fat Jesus Trilogy Review]

I honestly have no clue why, but I woke up New Years Day thinking about trilogies. How the age old tradition in the film industry is to take a good films and ideas, and tap them dry, whether the subsequent films are good or not. Of course not all film series are like this at all. So, I rounded up a bunch of the best trilogies (and the ones I just plain enjoy) and I've decided to go through them and watch them at my leisure. Since it is the New Years, with the hope of our future year fresh on minds, I figured why not start the year watching one of the best trilogies of all time dealing with the future..and the past and the present and everything in between. I've seen 'Back to the Future' growing up, but I've never properly watched it (and the rest of the trilogy) as a whole. I must say, it has been a pleasure going through these three films today and I'm blown away at how well they hold up to a viewing still.

'Back to the Future' follows the story of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) as a teenager growing up in Hill Valley, California in 1985. He is an aspiring musician and is dating a girl, Jennifer Parker. His father and mother are less ambitious. One night, Marty meets is scientist friend, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), in the parking lot of a mall. Doc unveils a time machine to Marty which is modified into a DeLorian. He tells Marty that time travel is possible thanks to his invention, The Flux Capacitor. The Flux Capacitor is powered by plutonium that he swindled off of Libyan terrorists. The machine works once you get the DeLorian up to 88 miles per hour, transporting you to whatever time and date you have input. Trouble erupts when the Libyans come back for the stolen plutonium, Doc is shot and Marty takes the car and travels back to 1955 by mistake. In 1955 Marty accidentally changes the course of his families history by saving his father from being hit by a car. Causing his mother to become infatuated with him. Now Marty and Doc must find a way to get Marty back to the future while keeping the future they both know, intact.

'Back to the Future Part II' picks up after the events of the first film, with Marty about to take Jennifer to the lake in his pick-up truck, back in 1985. Doc rides up in the DeLorian and informs the two that he needs them, as in the future (2015 to be precise), their kids are in big trouble. Marty and Doc must team up in the 2015 and, once again, go back to 1955 in order to right all the mayhem they always seem to cause when they use the DeLorian.

'Back to the Future Part III' begins, once again, right where the end of the second film leaves off. Marty, who is still in 1955, receives a letter from Doc, who is stuck in 1885. Informing him that he is okay and the location of the DeLorian, which is in need of some repairs. He also tells Marty not to come back and save him. After repairing the DeLorian, Marty spots a tombstone with Doc's name on it dated a week after he sent the letter. Marty ignores Doc's wishes and travels back in time to save him, before he is killed by an outlaw with an all too familiar face.

'Back to the Future' was the best film of the three. While all three are fantastic, the first film holds the best overall feel and charm to it. The story is expertly crafted, the action is fun, the romance feels genuine, the music and score is nearly iconic and the humor is top notch. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are a highly charismatic duo throughout the series You can really see how well they work off of each other, even in the first film. It's one of the best films you'll ever see. What makes it even better, is that it gives you incentive to watch the second part, rather than just watching it because it is the second part. 'Back to the Future Part II' is probably the weakest of the three films, but that doesn't make it any less good. The future world crafted may be a little too mundane and over-saturated with fax machines, as we're currently living in the 2015 they traveled to, but it's fun to see what we all hoped we could be now. Hover-cars (and boards), full body holograms and bio-genetic touch controlling everything we use (that's not too far of). The story is less humor and more science. As the second film focus' on Doc and Marty trying to avoid themselves, to not break the present, while fixing the alternate present, that they caused by going into the future. Kinda confusing right? Doc explains it way better than me. The same elements are there, but it just doesn't feel completely like the first or third installments. While it's a great film in it's own right, it doesn't have quite the fun and charm of the first film. 'Back to the Future Part III' is a great end to this series and takes it to a place no explored by the first two films. The past. Doc is stuck in 1885 Wild West Hill Valley and it's quite a change of scenery. I say that, because it really is. 1955, 1985 and even 2015 Hill Valley are pretty distinct and seem familiar and accessible. But, 1885 Hill Valley it truly becomes a western. With this film comes back a lot of the charm the first film had. There's humor and one-liners again, the science is still there, but toned down, and a romantic element sorely missing from the second film is re introduced again. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are completely settled in as Marty and Doc by this point. Familiar faces abound in this lively western town, while the story remains pretty much the same as the first two films. This is probably the best designed of the films, as I thought that Wild West Hill Valley and the sweeping shots it brought with it, were awesome. What puts this ahead of the second film is the ending. Which is hard to pull off a times in a trilogy of films. It made your heart feel warm, it made sense (for the most part) and most of all, it put a smile on your face. Here's hoping to that Chicago Cubs World Series win too.

The 'Back to the Future' trilogy is a must watch for anyone, as it's one of the best sci-fi, comedy, romance, western, you name it, series ever put on film. While the sub genre may change, the sci-fi element stays true throughout each film. The comedy, action, romance are kinda iffy in spots, but you're not gonna find me complaining. Same goes with the actual science and plot-holes that are here and there. Not to mention the music and score throughout each film is a pleasure to listen to. Robert Zemeckis, who directed all three films, did a fantastic job with each film and deserves praise for this awesome trio of films. Same goes for executive producer Steven Spielberg. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd as Marty and Doc, may be one of the most iconic duos in film history. Both shine in each film and drive the stories that span the trilogy. The acting support from Thomas F. Wilson, Lea Thompson, Claudia Wells, Elizabeth Shue and Mary Steenburgen, is more than adequate and helps lend to the talents of Fox and Lloyd. 'Back to the Future' is a film series you can sit down and watch in a day, that you won't feel bad about. Each film is so good, you're never not happy about viewing it. Great Scott, indeed!

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