Back to the Future (1985)

by The Movie Diorama

Back to the Future accelerates its time-traveling nostalgic adventure to a whopping 88mph. Great Scott! Finally managed to watch the quintessential 80s flick that combines a plethora of genres to generate an astounding 1.21 gigawatts. Enough to make me want to go back in time and watch it again. Damn. Damn damn! Now, it’s no surprise that Zemeckis’ most accessible film is the one that has stood the test of time.

Spielberg matching him with this project was seemingly fate, and in the process they had created a pop culture phenomenon that contributed massively to many childhoods. A teenager, who documents a time travelling experiment with an eccentric scientist, accidentally travels back in time to which he must repair history and return to the correct year.

With Zemeckis’ overwhelming contribution and Gale’s stellar writing, they had amalgamated an absurd amount of genres into one adventure. Primarily a romantic comedy with the aesthetics of a science-fiction adventure packed with arresting action set pieces. A whimsical invention that perfectly balanced a variety of tones, resulting in an instant classic. Embedding various intricacies within its script, from the clock tower donation fund to the flux capacitor revelation, that you subconsciously start to cling onto every line of dialogue. Every word is so important in its foreshadowing, that it progressively enhances the enjoyment of its story.

It has to be said that the execution of some of these moments were heavy-handed (in case we missed anything…) and the paradoxical nature of its time travel premise was frequently brushed over. But the purposefully engaging characters and plot are able to distract us from these loopholes that sci-fi features commonly fall into. Although the final ten minutes wrapped up far too neatly for my taste, considering Doc went against his own words of advice.

Speaking of good ol’ Doc Brown, Lloyd’s performance was the highlight for me. Capturing the eccentric personality of his character perfectly, from the exaggerated facial expressions to the excitable scientific mumbo-jumbo that he blurts out. He is just as memorable as the pimped out DeLorean. Fox, again, was perfect casting for Marty McFly, the flyest kid in town with his hardcore skateboarding skills hanging onto the back of vehicles.

Comedic timing was exquisite and the more dramatic moments involving his past younger mother and father were well handled by him. Glover deserves some praise also, no longer will I class him as the “creepy thin man” from ‘Charlie’s Angels’. He is George McFly, author extraordinaire and my new personal hero for decimating Biff with one punch. Now, Biff for me was too one-dimensional to have a lasting impression and became a forced plot device just so that the film had an antagonist of some sort. Personally, it didn’t need one. Exclude him, or grant him some development time, and the story would’ve benefited from those alterations.

It must be said that Silvestri’s grand score accompanied the joyous onscreen shenanigans stupendously, and certainly had that Spielberg flair found in most Amblin productions despite the small scale drama. Oh, and “The Power of Love” is banging. All this time, and I didn’t know it was associated with this film (I’m so uncultured…)!

Suffice to say, regardless of the shortcomings and an absence of personal childhood nostalgia for the film, it still delivers strong entertainment today. Perfect casting, punctual dialogue and memorable scenes. It may not be the best 80s film I’ve seen, but it certainly has the gigawatts the maintain its lasting power for many years to come.