Back to the Future Part II
- Robert Zemeckis
- Reviewed by
- Gon Curiel a.k.a. Groucho
- Review date
- Thursday, January 24, 2008
They had to concoct a story where Doc (Christopher Lloyd), Marty (Michael J. Fox) and his girlfriend Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue) traveled to the future to do something about the couple’s kids. I’m glad they did this because the filmmakers were forced to create a vision of the future, and it turned out awe-inspiring to audiences back then, particularly the younger ones. But seeing the film from a more mature point of view I couldn’t help but realize how poorly developed it actually is and how long it takes to really take off. But once it does, it’s fun!
As for George McFly, the story explains why he’s out, and in fact achieves some good drama thanks to this absence… The character is not missed though, thanks to a few new scenes played by Jeffrey Weissman and some footage from the previous film.
Not surprisingly, the story is contrived to say the least. The Doc, who has always tried to prevent history-changing, promotes an intervention to help the children of Marty McFly in the year 2015. The trip turns out exciting though this future is made up of jokes in the spirit of making it so farfetched that no one would question it. In this 2015, cars fly, people have nostalgia for the 80s, and videogames don’t require the use of one’s hands. But aside from the wonders here and there, there are some awful truths that create unpleasantness and never quite revert: the same way as at the beginning of the first film Marty’s family was a mess, here his future family is such, he’s a loser, his children are dorks, and nothing quite looks like one would dream it. Not only is the “mission” in the future quite weak, but we don’t like what we see, and as I said, this is never fixed, at least not that we can see it.
But then something happens that’s a stroke of genius. Logic is challenged much more than in the first film, but it turns out that an old Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) has traveled back in time to change his own future, and the day he chose to do this is none other than the very day of the dance where Marty had previously fixed his parents’ romance. Marty and Doc go back home after their first-act mission in the future to find a bleak 1985 where Biff is ruler and everything stinks, something like the third act in It's a Wonderful Life (1946), a film more or less referenced throughout this time-traveling saga. Our heroes go back in time yet again to prevent the event that caused this unpleasant reality, creating a parallel with the first film. This is where the movie gets interesting, but it takes a while to get there.
You can never match the candidness of the original idea: what if one could meet their parents as teenagers? Revisiting the best moments from the 1985 film is, in a way, a cheat, because it relies on the nostalgia from that breakthrough flick to create interest yet again… but it works! We love that day in November of ’55 and we can’t get enough of it.
This is much more of a special effects film than the first one was. This time around we have flying cars, high-speed chases and a very cool “hover board” (a wheel-less skateboard). This is done impeccably. Alan Silvestri again provides the music score with familiar tunes and variations of them which provide an excellent tone. The performances of the two leads become somewhat routine, but Thomas F. Wilson, as the villain Biff Tannen, proves what a great actor he is in a wide variety of personalities and ages.
Unforgivable: the coming attractions clip at the end of the film, promoting the already filmed third part. Bad!
Yet, all in all, this is a worthwhile episode of quite a good trilogy.
“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
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