Saturday, December 12, 2009

Back to the Future

Back to the Future; science-fiction comedy, USA, 1985; D: Robert Zemeckis, S: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Crispin Glover, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson, Claudia Wells, George DiCenzo

1985. Marty McFly is a normal teenager who is ashamed for his father George who is always taunted and bullied by his neighbor Biff. Marty works for scientist Doc Brown and one night enters his time machine, in the shape of a car, in order to escape from some Libyan mercenaries. Speeding to 88 miles per hour, Marty accidentally makes a time travel back to 1955. There he meets the young Doc, but also his own teenage mother, Lorraine, who falls in love with him. With a little bit of luck, Marty manages to match his mom and dad, and with Doc's help return back to 1985 - where now George is in charge and Biff is a wimp.

Excellent comedy "Back to the Future" surprisingly became one of the movie icons of the 80s thanks to a simple, fun and elegant story that philosophically plays with the notions of destiny and coincidence, proving how high art and fun don't necessarily have to be two separate things. The film was nominated for several awards and it is unbelievable how much of its identity it owns precisely to Michael J. Fox's performance. Although relaxed, the movie as a whole is filled with irresistible situations (for instance, in his getaway from the Libyan terrorists, Marty speeds in the time machine car and accidentally transports himself in 1955; in a cafe he accidentally sits next to his future dad, teenager George, so they both turn their heads when Biff shouts: "Hey, McFly!"; Marty's future mother, a teenager, falls in love with him (!) when she nurtures him while he is in his underwear in her bed) and "subtle ambitiousness", while the soundtrack is full of love for the 50s culture and songs ("Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine)"), thus also serving as a nostalgia essay involving an interesting concept in which the hero, Marty, gets a chance to meet his own parents when they were teenagers, concluding that they had many tribulations as well. So many time travel films trip over their own feet and mess everything up due to numerous plot holes and inconsistencies, but this is one of those rare instances where a time travel storyline was so meticulously constructed that everything works in wonderful harmony, especially in the perfect end that humorously shows a "change" in the relationship between George and Biff in the (altered) present. The only question that remains unanswered is how the film would have looked like if Eric Stoltz starred in it, as originally intended, before he was replaced by Fox.


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