Biologically, I am a 90’s child. I remember Furbies, easy-bake-ovens, Gel pens, music on MTV and much more. However, thanks to the influence of my older brother who is 10 years my senior, I am “cinematically” an 80’s child. Movies like Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, The Last Dragon, Rocky and more sort of defined my early life. After all, without Rocky Balboa how would I have ever learned to never give up and that “going the distance” can often be more fulfilling than actually winning. Furthermore, Bruce Leeroy pushed me on my journey to eventually become “The Master”…or was that Shonuff? I can never remember if having someone kiss my converse was more fulfilling than catching a bullet with my teeth… And that is not counting a whole host of other films like Die Hard, Karate Kid, Lethal Weapon and more! While the 90’s was a memorable consumer-driven time, I cannot help but think that the 80’s was a golden cinematic age where films of all kinds and types were made an accepted. When someone thinks of “cult-classics” they are most likely thinking of a movie from the 1980’s.
So, naturally, when Back to the Future II was slated to release today, on the anniversary of the day that Mary McFly travels to the future in the classic film (Novemeber 21st of 20150), I was extremely elated and excited to watch the movie. I bought my tickets a week or so in advance and I just barely made it, there was about 7 seats left in my local theater and, the ticket sales were so spectacular, that they opened up a second theater just to allow more people to see the film. And I have to say, even 26 years later, the movie still holds up as an extremely entertaining piece of art on the silver screen!
After the events of the first film, Marty and Doc Brown travel to the November 21st, 2015 to stop Marty’s idiot son from being arrested which would inadvertently cause a chain reaction that would lead to the downfall of the entire McFly family. Upon arriving in the future, Marty attempts to keep his son away from danger, but accidentally allows his family’s rival, Biff, to travel back to the past and give his younger self an almanac containing every sports statistic from the 1950’s to the year 2000. This allows young Biff to gain millions and change the future. When McFly and Doc believe that have stopped the downfall of the McFly family, they go back to the year 1985 and see that it is a very different place than when they left. Biff runs the town and has married Marty’s mother as well as murdered his father, George McFly. Doc and Marty need to, once more, travel back in time to 1955, the point in which their time line broke off into the new, and strange, time line in hopes of changing things back to the way they were.
By the way, I am writing this review assuming my audience has seen the movie… or at least knows enough pop-culture references from the film to get by. If you haven’t seen the film, well… that is your fault!
This film has it all, action, adventure, humor, an interesting plot and spectacular world-building. Marty McFly, (Michael J. Fox) was spectacular in the classic role and I, quite literally, will always have a mental image of him in my head as the time-traveling “life jacket”-wearing character that always time traveled with a sense of purpose even if he had one or two major character flaws to boot. What he is, for this film (and the series) is the accessible character that you can insert your own thoughts into. We would all react pretty much the same way if our genius scientist-friend was able to travel to the future. I, along with many others like me, would seek to exploit the opportunity to cash in on our knowledge of the future and make it big, right? Furthermore, he acts as the dumbed-down every-man that forces Doc Brown to explain his ideas in such a way that time-travel and science, in a broad sense, seem easy and understandable. But he is also the adventurous character– the wish-fulfillment character. We all want to ride a hover board, get the girl, best the bully at every turn and be the hero. And Michael J. Fox does it so well and effortlessly that we can’t help but to have fun as Marty does in the movie.
But my favorite thing about the movie has to be how effectively they build the world around them. We cannot quite say this for the first installment in this franchise. This is because of the simple fact that, when the first film was made, they had no intentions of a sequel. it was a one-off movie. However, the film gained so much popularity that they decided to make it a trilogy. This fact becomes pretty evident if you have watched both the second and third movie. There are tons of little gems and nuggets in the second installment that foreshadow the third that both films warrant multiple viewing!
The film also gave everyone in the world something to look forward to for the future, or not if you didn’t like certain things about the film like the style of dress and whatnot. And some things they even got right, thumb-print technology, big screen televisions, 3-D movies, Drones, tablets and more! Sure, fax machines and dual ties never became a thing, but technology is cyclical right? It could make a comeback!
But I am keeping this review short and sweet, you probably have seen all three movies before and, if you haven’t, you need to go out and buy these films!