Several renowned movies are celebrating milestones anniversaries this summer, whether it’s “Jaws” (40 years), “Clueless” (20), or “Ghost” (25). But the anniversary I’m sure that even the most hardcore movie fans will be anticipating is the commemoration of the 30 year release of Robert Zemickis’ enchanting science fiction classic, “Back to the Future”, which was first introduced to us on July 3, 1985. Everybody should know the basic premise of the trilogy, seeing as it’s been around for quite a while now. But for those of you who aren’t as familiar with the story, I’ll give you a brief overview of the trilogy as a whole.
Michael J. Fox stars as our skate-boarding teenage protagonist, Marty McFly. Despite being the epitome of teenage coolness, he mostly hangs out with his much older friend, the delightfully eccentric scientist, Doctor Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd). Naturally, Doc has assembled a time machine out of a Delorean (yet another reason to favour these car brands above others). As we all know, Marty gets inadvertently transported back to 1955, where he has a run in with both of his future parents- passionate, outspoken Lorraine (Lea Thompson) and the meek, nerdy George (Crispin Glover). While he learns some home truths about what each were like when they were his age, he must not only convince them that they are each other’s “density”, but try to rebuff the advances of his infatuated mother in order to ensure his own existence, and contend with Hill Valley bully, Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson). Will Marty ever get back to the future?
Part II is famous for having the characters travel to the future as opposed to an excursion to the past, where they end up in the far out year of 2015! In this installment, Marty and Doc must prevent nasty Biff Tannen from winning big on a sports almanac, thus risking the McFlys’ own blissful lives in 1985. It is hilarious to look at the character’s outfits in the 2015 universe and realize that in the 1980’s, people depicted that those would be the clothes we’d be wearing regularly in that era!
Finally, “Part III” takes us to the old Wild West in 1885, where Marty faces a showdown with Biff’s identical great-grandson, Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen. Meanwhile, Doc falls for schoolteacher Clara Clayton (Mary Steenburgen), where he has to pluck up the courage to inform her that he’s a time traveler from 100 years into the future…
The “Back to the Future” franchise still continues to be just as timeless (no pun intended) to contemporary audiences just as it was to viewers in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. What keeps the series so fresh to me is the sheer likability of Michael J. Fox as Marty, as he makes us root for him. He has an iconic sidekick in Doc Brown, who defines zany, unconventionality to its core. Thomas F.Wilson delivers an outstanding performance as Biff, and by extension, his equally despicable family members (though it’s worth noting that Wilson actually based his role on his experience of being bullied, and he’s perfectly affable in real life). Lea Thompson is fantastic playing various versions of Marty’s mother, and Crispin Glover, at least in the first movie, has his character grow an abundance of ways.
For the entire trilogy, I give it a rating of five out of five stars, as it manages to remain as fresh and compelling as ever. It still manages to entice new audience members after all these decades, without losing the quality that made it fresh and exciting. I’d recommend it to kids of all ages, as it’s perfect for family viewing. Remember, the future’s what you make it, so make it a good one!