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Back to the Future

 

  • Film: Back to the Future
  • Director: Robert Zemeckis
  • Actors: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson
  • Genre: Science fiction/comedy
  • Year: 1985
  • Duration: 116 minutes
  • Rated PG-13: Mild violence, themes of sexuality, drugs, and language

Marty McFly’s having the time of his life. The only question is – what time is it?

Marty McFly is accidentally sent thirty years into the past in a time traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend and scientist Doc Brown.

The iconic DeLorean from Back to the Future. 🚗🌌

CONCEPT

We begin with the sounds of many clocks ticking. The camera slowly pans to the right and the audience sees a disorderly room filled with an abundance of trinkets. A boy opens a door and leaves the key he used underneath a welcome mat.

The boy begins to turn on the sound system to connect his electric guitar and amplifies the speakers. He plays a hard note that sends him flying across the room creating a mess. A phone rings and he picks up to answer to a man named Doc who asks him to arrive at Twin Pines mall at 1:15am.

The clocks that were ticking begin to ring. Doc tells Marty that the clocks are 25 minutes late. Freaking out, Marty hangs up and heads to school. Power of love is played as Marty rides his skateboard to get across town. He arrives late and Marty receives a scolding from the dean saying he is a slacker and will amount to nothing just as his father.

“Yeah, well, history is about to change.”

McFly plays guitar with his rock and roll band but is rejected for being “too loud” at the auditions for school talent show. Feeling depressed, he walks with Jennifer to sit on a bench in front of the towns clock tower after school. A lady approaches them to ask for a donation while handing out a flyer as they are about to kiss.

Marty arrives home to find his father’s car in a tow truck. A man named Biff is bullying Marty’s father inside, manipulating him and taking advantage of his father’s easy going personality. Marty’s family gathers over the dinner table.

His older brother leaves to go work at his night shift at a local fast food chain. Before reciting how their father and mother met, Marty is left with his sister to listen to how his mother tells him that Jennifer shouldn’t be calling him as she thinks girls chasing boys is unacceptable.

In the next scene we see that Marty’s asleep on his bed when he receives a phone call from Doc asking him to stop by his house and take a video recorder before heading towards the mall. As Marty arrives he notices a van with Dr. E Brown Enterprises written on the side with Einstein, Doc’s dog outside of the vehicle.

Marty approaches and sees a DeLorean slowly backup from inside the moving van. We see Doc emerge to ask Marty to begin recording immediately as he buckles up Einstein into the vehicle.

“If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour, we’re going to see some serious shit.”

Doc begins to drive the car with a wireless remote control. He revs up the engine before letting it drive towards them. Marty’s nervous but noticing Docs expression on his face, he decides to stand beside him. Once the car reaches 88 miles per hour, a stream of lights and flashes begin to spark around the car until it disappears before colliding into them.

Doc Brown and Marty McFly stare in amazement. 🚗🔥

He states to have created a time machine out of a DeLorean before it reappearing in the background again. He teaches Marty how to use the time machine, how he invented time travel and explaining that it runs on plutonium which he stole from Libyan nationalists.

Doc and Marty insert a vial of plutonium into the vehicle and notice that the Libyans arrive and shoot Doc. Their assault rifle gets jammed giving Marty enough time to jump into the DeLorean for safety. He turns on the car and begins to drive while the nationalists chase behind him. As he pushes the car into full throttle he is transported to November 5, 1955, the exact day that Dr. Emmett Brown discovered time travel.

The technology, location and cultural phenomenons that Marty once knew don’t exist and he has to manage living in his hometown in the past. His first plan is to contact Doc by finding his listings the yellow pages, however; he encounters a younger version of his father and Biff at a local dinner.

Biff has always bullied on his father since they were in high school. They have a small conversation before George takes off on his bike. Marty follows him and to his dismay he notices that his father is on top of a tree spying on a woman changing but falls down from the branch into the middle of the street. Marty is hit by an oncoming car after pushing his father out of the street. He wakes up in a daze realizing he’s still stuck in time. Marty encounters a younger version of his mother by his bedside. Marty decides to leave to continue his search for Doc.

Marty meets a younger version of Doc Brown testing out a mind reading machine. 🧠⚡️

Emmett Brown is convinced that Marty’s from the future after being explaining how he invented time travel by bruising his head and creating the flux capacitor. Together they transport the DeLorean back to Emmetts garage where Marty shows Doc the tape of the recording he made in the future. Emmett is astonished to the fact that the car needs to run on 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to be able to reach 88mph, which is an unachievable feat at that time. Doc tells Marty that the only thing that can generate that type of power is a bolt of lightning.

Thankfully Marty is still carrying the ‘Save the clock tower’ flyer which states that a thunderbolt will strike at precisely 10:04pm next Saturday night. They begin to devise a plan to channel the electricity into the flux capacitor. At the same time they also realize that Marty has disrupted the natural order of things by altering the past. His mother, Lorraine, has become infatuated with Marty, her son, instead of his father George McFly.

Marty’s goal for the next week is to make sure George gains the confidence enough to ask Lorraine out for the Enchantment of the Sea Dance at their high school that coming Saturday to reassure his existence in the future.Marty wants to tell Doc about the night before traveling back in time but is insistent on not hearing a word of it as it might have repercussions. Regardless, Marty writes him a letter telling him about the events in hopes he’ll read it in the future.

Marty takes Lorraine to the dance but while parked inside the car, Lorraine drinks liquor and smokes cigarettes. Marty is surprised and tells her to stop as it will damage her in the future. Lorraine ends up kissing Marty but finds it repulsive as if she was kissing her own brother. Biff approaches the car and pulls Marty out to fight. Biff begins to harness Lorraine while his goons take Mary away and stuff him in a trunk of a car. The car happens to be of the hired band members playing for the high school dance. The lead guitarist damages his hand as he pries open the trunk.

During this time George ventures out into the parking lot and confronts Biff as he tries to take advantage of Lorraine. He knocks him out with a solid punch and they take a walk inside to dance. Marty fills in the role to play guitar allowing the music for the ballroom to continue, leading to George and Lorraine’s kiss on the dance floor; securing his existence in the future.

Marty leaves the school to meet Doc in front of the clocktower to say goodbye to one of the other. The car gets in alignment with the thunder strike and they’re able to safely transport Marty back to the future. Marty arrives at Twin Pines Mall just in time to see his other self go back in time after escaping the Libyan nationalists.

After noticing what happened, Marty goes to Docs body only to find out he wore a bulletproof vest to protect himself. Doc drops Marty at his house and tells him he’s going to travel into the future. The next day Marty wakes up to find that his family and lifestyle have changed for the better. His siblings and parents are living a healthier, successful and fulfilled life. Biff on the other hand now services George by waxing his families cars.

Jennifer arrives and Marty is relieved to see her. They kiss and immediately Doc appears in front of the driveway with the DeLorean telling Marty that they both need to accompany him. The three enter the car and fly into the sky, traveling into the future.

DESIGN

Many of the nuances of the film are made to show that Marty has been a catalyst or had some involvement for the majority of future events such as Hill Valley’s first black mayor and inventing the skateboard during a chase scene. Powerful scenes like inside the dinner show Goldie telling George not to be bullied around by Biff. “Why you let them boys push around? Stand tall, show respect for yourself. If you let people walk over you now they’ll walk over you for the rest of your life.”

Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) was played incredibly. He’s such a tough act but pulls off the bully attitude perfectly. We end up being really threatened by him which is how we notice authenticity in the character. A fun fact is that cast members of the film even mentioned him as being one of the most kindest persons offset.

Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox are a dynamic duo. Every scene with them together is memorable. The whole story revolves around their crazy friendship and it’s an enjoyable ride where the two of them eventually find a way to resolve the situation in the end even with all the mishaps. Every character has told Marty that Emmet Brown is a dangerous person but Marty consistently neglects their advise. Throughout the film we notices that Doc has sold his entire family fortune and estate with nothing to show for his accomplishments and crazy gadgets. His entire family is dead and his only friend is a mild mannered teenage boy who dreams of happiness and success.

During the scene where they first experiment if the time traveling machine works; it’s extremely odd that Doc would ask for Marty to stand side by side with each other. He really could have just done it from another perspective but he chose that exact point of view. After various times of watching the film one begins to question these things and in my opinion, the creators always know what they’re doing. At the moment of creating these scenes they must always ask themselves “Where should they be standing?” “Why there?” “What happens if he fails?” “What happens if he succeeds?” “Should one of them move?” “How does he know it’s going to work?” and etc.

He must have felt threatened by the Libyan nationalists and was willing and able to kill himself, Marty and Einstein after having stolen the Plutonium. he would be over 50 years old. As a human, it would seem almost natural to be as selfish to cave in having a midlife crisis if he never amounted to anything.

The day Emmet Doc Brown invented time travel was onNovember 12, 1985. ⏰⏱⏲⏳🕰⌚️

AESTHETICS

The movie has age very well with time. Any other car that wasn’t a DeLorean wouldn’t have worked as perfect to being a time machine. Robert Zemeckis has previously stated that as long as he is alive there will never be more sequels or reboots to the original trilogy as he owns the rights to the franchise. He will pass down the rights to his kids as well.

The iconic OUTATIME license plate in from of Emmet Browns house. 🚗🏡⏳

VALUE

Back to the future is one of the most beloved Hollywood films by bringing together quality talent to turn the script into a reality. Before landing on Steven Spielberg’s desk, the script was rejected over 50 times. He had faith in the project and it only takes one man to believe in the idea to make it a reality. Humanity is able to enjoy such a timeless movie thanks to him and the rest of the team. This is an amazing start to such an incredible trilogy. Back to the future never gets old.

“Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads.”

Concept9.7
Design9.3
Aesthetics9.5
Value10
Positive
Amazing storyline and characters
An unforgettable adventure for the whole family
The set pieces are large, elaborate and full of life
The DeLorean is the time machine is an iconic part of the film
Timeless classic
Negative
Lorraine repeats variations of the phrase,"He's a dream.", referring to Marty's charming personality, in various scenes.
9.6
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