#64: Back to the Future [1985]

I imagine many of you will be justifiably appalled to learn that I had reached the age of 21 without ever watching the Back to the Future trilogy. I honestly don’t know how it happened, or didn’t, that is. BTTF is a pretty big deal, but somehow it had passed me by entirely; I never stumbled upon it on TV, never came across the DVD while scanning shelves and no one had ever suggested it during those hour long arguments over what to watch when at a friend’s house. It was time to put things in order and watch this classic.
Director Robert Zemeckis sets the scene in small town America during the 80s – a fun-filled and optimistic time to be alive for sure. Except, life is not so great for teenager Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), whose family are a shambles, headed up by a weak and bullied father (Crispin Glover). The redeeming factors of his less than enviable life are his pretty girlfriend, his dream to be a rock star and his friendship with the lovably mad Doc Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Ridiculous events unfold and McFly finds himself transported back through time to the 50s. He struggles to ensure his own existence by making his parents fall in love after inadvertently attracting the attentions of his teenage mother (Lea Thompson), all whilst attempting to find a way back to the 80s with the help of the younger Doc Brown.
As might be expected in a film about time travel, the plot is intricately interwoven. Zemeckis co-wrote the script with previous collaborator Bob Gale and you can only praise their resourcefulness. There’s no last minute scramble to tie up loose ends as every plot line neatly fits into place, references back to earlier scenes and jokes keeping the smiles fixed on our faces. In fact, the humour of the whole film is well-judged and, what with poking fun at not-too-distant American culture, hilarious to young and old alike. Whilst it’s not exactly deep stuff, though read into the representation of different time periods as you will, we forgive the frivolity of Zemeckis and Gale’s script for the sheer pleasure it brings. Throw in an uplifting score and some comic performances all round, and we’re left with a masterpiece we wouldn’t have any other way.
The crowning glory is Lloyd’s embodiment of the crazy professor type, his physical humour causing me to emit squeals of delight. I was not as impressed with Fox, however. He pulls off the more comic sequences wonderfully, but the performance falters where more serious elements come in; his delivery of more sober lines a little wooden. Aside from this brief reminder of reality, BTTF whisks us away on a sci-fi adventure which is a joy to behold. If you haven’t seen this already, follow my example and fix the problem immediately.

@robpannell 's summary: The one question I can't answer is thus: why did a lightning strike stop a mechanical clock? Other than that point the science in this trilogy is clearly flawless. 
I've loved these films since I was a kid and I feel like a kid again when I watch them. The score is really uplifting, possibly the best film score around in my opinion. The other strength the trilogy has is that it was written as such, not sequels trying to milk a one off hit. The plot interlocks so beautifully, unlike, I imagine, the post it notes on the desk when they were writing it. 
Part 3 is my favourite. I'd love to go back in time and see the Wild West...

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