Back To The Future


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Back To The Future
"A treat, written and directed to a heartfelt formula of universal appeal."

Robert Zemeckis' delightful first in his time travel series of comedies is an easygoing, brilliantly made potboiler of a movie. Back To The Future is a treat, written and directed to a heartfelt formula of universal appeal, folding into possibly the best film ever made about time travel. It's the most fun, by far.

Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) goes back in time with Doc Brown's (Christopher Lloyd) DeLorean time machine and unintentionally messes up his own past, by preventing his parents, George and Lorraine, meeting and subsequent falling in love. It's up to Marty to find a disbelieving, youthful Brown to help him get back home, find a "1.21 jiggawatts" power source and make his father ask his mother out to the school dance so he won't vanish from existence.

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This high-concept idea breeds two masterstrokes. One: his mother is a little sexual carnivore, which gives the audience a hell of an Oedipus conflict to chew on when Marty takes George's place for Lorraine's affections. Two: the screenplay.

The real delight of Zemeckis and Bob Gale's script is its undeniably melodic style. Like a section of John Williams' leitmotif-driven film score, it's clear they like repeating visual and plot ideas in inventive and interesting ways, forming running gags, motifs and cleverly skewed story touches.

The film gives us 20 minutes of character-based storytelling history - all that we ever need - setting up locales, personalities and visual patterns and models the film will re-evoke later. Destiny and history will collide forever in Hill Valley - that much is clear!

Zemeckis' direction is wonderful, making all the events appear unexpected and destined at the same time, while keeping up a terrific pace. The film also boasts an inspired cast, many playing dual roles - their young and old selves - with charm and aplomb. Lloyd is at his zany and motor-mouthed best, his comic delivery and expressions awesome in their barely restrained insanity, spewing speeches that would give Dan Akyroyd silly science nightmares. Fox is cute, watchable and looks suitably bewildered when needs be.

Surprisingly, it's lasted 25 years without real challenge. Back To The Future is a modern comedy that already feels like a classic.

Reviewed on: 06 Nov 2005
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Back To The Future packshot
A time travel classic of supreme comic invention, involving Marty McFly, a mad scientist and a DeLorean motorcar.
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Read more Back To The Future reviews:

Stephen Carty *****

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale

Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, Claudia Wells, Marc McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber, George DiCenzo, Frances Lee McCain, James Tolkan

Year: 1985

Runtime: 111 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US

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