Monday, November 30, 2009

Back To The Future

So I watched Back To The Future today, and realized with more than a little shock that BTTF is less than a month away from being twenty five years old.

…and you know what? That movie is as amazing today as it was the first time I watched it when I was about six years old.

There are a few moments when some of the special effects show their age a little, but if you'll pardon as slight pun, BTTF is absolutely timeless.

For me, the most surprising thing is that it deals with some fairly advanced concepts but manages to explain them incredibly easy without any long and boring exposition. Think about that. This is a movie that came out in 1985 that deals with the classic grandfather paradox, but no-one ever saw Back To The Future and walked away afterwards saying they didn't 'get it'.

Just to put that into perspective, I once spent almost two hours trying to explain the concept behind 'The Matrix' to a thirty year old co-worker who had seen the movie twice. Me and all my friends understood BTTF after seeing it once when we were six years old.

My favorite thing about BTTF is that it seems that every time I watch it I notice a new detail that I haven't noticed before. For example, at the start of the Movie, Marty meets Doc Brown in the parking lot of the 'Twin Pines' mall. Almost immediately after going back in time, Marty crashes the DeLorean into a fenced off pine tree at the then 'Twin Pines Ranch'… then, when he returns to the future, he runs up to the same parking lot, only this time the sign is missing one of the pines and we see it's now called the 'Lone Pine Mall'.

This is a movie that literally has everything. It has some awesome action sequences, some genuine drama a ton of humor and some pretty hefty morals as well.

For example, I love Tom Wilson's acting in this movie. There are times when he's deliberately over the top as the massive asshole Biff's meant to be, but there are some scenes with him that feature some surprisingly subtle and powerful acting. For example, watch the scene at the very start of the movie when he crashes George's car and makes out like the accident was somehow George's fault…then starts bullying him into doing his reports for him. It's a really 'over the top' scene, but look at the way Biff looks at Marty when he realizes he's staring at him. For a moment, he looks like a brat kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar…like Biff recognizes that Marty isn't the pushover his dad is, can't be intimidated and that realization makes Biff realize, just for a split second, what a complete asshole he is. One second he's a bully in complete control of the situation, and the next he looks uncomfortable and a little ashamed of himself.

Even the direction is top notch. Zemeckis manages to make scenes more powerful by juxtaposing opposing elements. For example, When Marty and Lorraine arrive at the dance we have a very funny scene where it turns out that Lorraine smokes, drinks and is a little more promiscuous in 1955 than the perfect angel she claimed to be as Marty's mom in 1985…and just as the audience is laughing at Marty's reaction to this, Biff opens the door, drags Marty out of the car and forces himself on Lorraine.

It's a genuinely uncomfortable scene to watch as Biff essentially attempts to rape Lorrain, and it's amazingly well acted by Lea Thompson as she cries for help… but it's a hundred times more powerful and jarring as it's sandwiched right between two very funny scenes.

Basically, Back to the Future is an amazing movie and quite frankly one of the best movies to come out in the past 30 years. It's a sci-fi movie that manages to appeal to and satisfy hardcore sci-fi fans and non-fans alike.

If you've never watched this movie, or have kids who haven't seen this movie yet…go pick up the DVD. It's as fresh and entertaining today as it was in 1985.




Sunny said...

You know what? I never realized hat about the mall scene altho I always felt something just wasn't "Right" about it when he came back!
Funny how you pick up on those little things. But then, you like the movie much more than I did.
You're right tho- it's a timeless movie for those who liked it.

MC Etcher said...

Hear hear! Great movie!