GREEN'S "ONE POINT TWENTY ONE GIGAWATTS" REVIEW:
Yes, that's right. This movie was released twenty-five years ago today. Hard to believe for some of us. That's why I've decided to review this movie today of all days.
The film is about Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and his accidental adventure back to 1955, after his friend, Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) gets shot by Libyan terrorists. Marty is chased by the terrorists and escapes in the time machine that the Doc made out of a DeLorean, which was programmed during the demonstration to go back to November 5, 1955, the day the doc discovers time travel.
When Marty finally realizes what has happened, he goes looking for the only person in 1955 who can help him - and coincidentally runs into both of his future parents (Lea Thompson and Crispin Glover) - interfering with their first meeting and subsequent relationship. While Marty has to fix this problem, it's up to the Doc to figure out how to get Marty back to 1985.
I still love movies that have to do with time travel and this is one of those benchmark movies that explores the possibility of time travel to some degree. At the same time, the movie only uses time travel as a device to get the main character back to when his parents were his age. I had just turned sixteen when this movie was released and I found it interesting that I was around the same age as the characters in the film.
Michael J. Fox may have established himself as a bonafide television star as Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties, which was on-air in the mid 1980's, but this movie made him a star on the big screen as well. It is interesting to note, from the extras on the DVD, that for a time Fox was filming his television series and this movie simultaneously, getting one or two hours of sleep a night. This lack of sleep, oddly enough I think, enhanced Fox's performance in the movie.
The script is superbly written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. Act One of the story introduces us to elements in the story and effectively foreshadows events that will become important later in the story, based on these seemingly trivial opening scenes. Zemeckis does a wonderful job directing, getting strong performances from his young and relatively unknown cast.
Both the sets and the score are also brilliantly done. The sets provide, what seems to me as a realistic look back at small town American life in the mid 1950's contrasted with the same setting thirty years later. The score carries you emotionally through the film right from the get-go and is exciting and upbeat throughout. Huey Lewis and the News, one of my favorite 1980's bands, add to the film's soundtrack with two songs that still get radio airplay today. Look for Huey Lewis in a cameo role near the beginnig of the movie.
The extras on the DVD I watched were very well done, blending interviews done in 2002 with archival interviews and footage shot during filming in 1984.
You can tell a classic film that, even after multiple repeated viewings, remains fresh and doesn't get old and tired. Take a look back and revisit one of the defining and most endearing movies of the 1980's. Rent it if you haven't watched it in a while but own it if you can.
***** out of *****
Back to the Future (1985, PG, 116 minutes), starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, Marc McClure and Wendy Jo Sperber. Written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale. Directed by Robert Zemeckis.