****NOMINATED FOR 4 OSCARS, WON 1****
Back in 1985, Back To The Future (BTTF) became the most successful film of that year, grossing $383Million worldwide. 30 years on, it still has a freshness about it, that has motivated us to celebrate it! Not only did it experience fantastic financial success, it also received critical acclaim and set Robert Zemeckis up, as a director to be contended with. I personally love this film and feel that it’s the perfect set up for the trilogy that it eventually triggered.
The first amazing thing about BTTF is the dedication from Michael J. Fox. At the time he was tied up with the long running TV sitcom Family Ties. To Robert Zemeckis, he was the only choice for the part, and insisted on having him, even though a part of the film had already been filmed with Eric Stoltz as Marty. Once Fox became available, only after the agreement had been made that he fulfil his responsibilities to the full, with Family Ties, it added $3Million to the budget, so as to re-film the parts with Eric Stoltz in it. I am certainly glad that Zemeckis insisted! I really can’t see anybody else playing the role of Marty, other than Fox himself.
Because of the Family Ties tie, Fox had to do the TV show during the day and most of the filming for BTTF took place at night. During the weekends, they’d film the day scenes for BTTF. During the production, Fox, apparently averaged about 5hours or less of sleep a day! That’s dedication indeed. His hard work has really paid off, considering we are still celebrating his performance down till this day. Michael J. Fox delivers the performance of a lifetime, really selling his part. His bouncy energy jumps out of the screen, becoming infectious. In this stand-alone film we don’t really see a lot of character progression for Marty, because this film is mostly about his parents, securing their future, and at the same time making sure that Marty is able to get Back To The Future. I love the tittle of this film, don’t you? Apparently it could have ended up being called, “Spaceman From Pluto”, gosh no!
Although we don’t see much of a character arc in Marty, we are instantly interested in him, as well as iconic Doc. Brown. Christopher Llyod also delivers a compelling performance as Doc. Brown, as energetic as Marty and as infectious too. Marty and Doc. Brown are such different characters, and yet they have an amazing friendship. Doc. Brown really trusts Marty and vice-versa, seeing such a friendship and relationship is what makes this film so memorable. It’s this pair that gives BTTF a classic status, almost instantly! Doc. Browns message, “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything”, is the philosophy that Marty tries to live by, no doubt Marty views Doc. as a mentor. I’m sure you’d agree that his message is still relevant to us today, and always will be. This film makes you feel good and is a great source of inspiration for all!
Robert Zemeckis has become the special effects master, perhaps as influential as James Cameron. BTTF employs some fantastic special effects. At a time where CGI was basically non-existent, BTTF manages to hold it’s age well. The sound effects were good enough to garnish BTTF with an Oscar win, although it was nominated for Best Sound and Best Original Song, for the catchy theme, The Power of Love. Interestingly BTTF was also nominated for an Oscar in the category of Best Writing. Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale are responsible for the creation of this amazing and engaging story. Bob Gale was flicking through an old photo album, and upon seeing photos of his dad, he wandered if he would have been friends with his own father, had they been peers. This was the original thought that brought this story to life, the rest is history. We are not to expect a reboot of this franchise anytime soon, well, as long as Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale are alive. In a recent interview, they stated that this would happen only, ‘over their dead bodies!’ So, no, there isn’t going to be a BTTF 4, which means there isn’t going to be a BTTF Genisys either, sorry to disappoint…
Then there is the DeLorean. The DeLorean most certainly feels like a separate character of the film, and becomes ever more relevant as the trilogy progresses. Humorous in hindsight, but initial drafts of the script had the time machine being a refrigerator! At the time the DeLorean had the most resemblance to a ‘space-ship’ with the upwards opening side doors, essential for a gag that plays out in a pivotal moment of the film. Never has a car been so immortalised than the time machine DeLorean! If you look closely at the new Terminator Genisys film, during a chase scene involving the T-1000, a DeLorean can be seen, as a cameo. This is a clear nod to BTTF, since those events take place in 1984, and BTTF was released in 1985. Additionally Alan Taylor has stated that he drew inspiration from BTTF for the overlapping timeline aspects of time travel in his latest film Terminator Genisys.
I am certain that you could argue about plot holes in BTTF, but when you take into account that BTTF is intended to be a fun comedic adventure film, the best thing is to sit back and enjoy the ride. As Doc. Brown says, “where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” BTTF is the perfect setup for the sequels to come. Although it was not initially intended to be a trilogy, looking back, how could this trilogy not have been a trilogy, right!?
How many times have you seen BTTF? What is your favourite BTTF film? 30 years on, and still as exciting as ever, BTTF is an undisputed classic and warrants felicitations for ageing so well. 5 star cuisine status!
TRIVIA COOKIES: The clock tower scene is a recreation of the clock scene from Safety Last!, a silent from from 1923. Main star Harold Lloyd also hangs from the clock hand as does Christopher Lloyd. A clock in Doc. Browns flat also foreshadows this very event.
A nod to Stanley Kubrick’s, Dr. Stangelove and 2001, is given with the inscription CRM114 in the ‘ultra-mega’ amp keyhole in Doc. Brown’s flat:
Huey Lewis, writer and performer of The Power of Love, cameos in this film: