Back to the Future: The Complete Trilogy

Starring:
Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly
Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown
Lea Thompson as Lorraine Baines (McFly)
Crispin Glover as George Douglas McFly
Thomas F. Wilson as Biff Tannen
Claudia Wells as Jennifer Jane Parker
Marc McClure as Dave McFly
Wendie Jo Sperber as Linda McFly
George DiCenzo as Sam Baines
Frances Lee McCain as Stella Baines
James Tolkan as Mr. S.S. Strickland
Mary Steenburgen as Clara Clayton
Elisabeth Shue as Jennifer Jane Parker

Special Features:
Michael J. Fox – Discusses his experience making the Back to the Future Trilogy
Outtakes – Flubs, bloopers, and antics from the films
Deleted Scenes – Exclusive, never before seen footage from all three films
Audio Commentaries – By writer/producer Bob Gale and producer Neil Canton
Live Q&A Session – On all three films by director Robert Zemeckis and writer/producer Bob Gale
Hoverboard Tests – Original “flying skateboard” on-location road tests
Making The Trilogy – A rare, behind the scenes look at the making of all three films, including original and new interviews with cast and crew
Animated Anecdotes – Hundreds of fun facts and interesting trivia you can choose to view while watching the films
Music Videos – “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News, and “Doubleback” by ZZ Top
Evolution of Special Effects – Lucasfilm’s ILM shows how the films’ special effects were developed
Behind-The-Scenes Segments – Designing the DeLorean, Make-Up Tests, Time Travel, Storyboarding, Production Design, and more!
Production Archives – Interactive environment featuring production photos, original storyboards, conceptual art, props, and theatrical marketing materials

Other Info:
Anamorphic Widescreen (1.85:1)
Running Time: Disc 1 – 1 Hr. 56 Mins., Disc 2 – 1 Hr. 48 Mins., Disc 3 – 1 Hr. 58 Mins.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
English, Spanish, and French Audio Tracks
English Captioning
Spanish Subtitles

Synopsis:
This is the DVD debut of the classic Back to the Future Trilogy.

Marty McFly is your typical teenager from 1985. He has a band, a girlfriend, problems at school, and geeky parents. However, he also has a friend who happens to be an eccentric scientist. “Doc” Brown unveils his new invention to Marty one night – a time machine made from a DeLorean. Unfortunately, he accidentally sends Marty back in time 30 years and strands him there in 1955. Marty must track down the young Doc Brown for help getting back to the future. There’s one minor problem – Marty ran into his young parents and disrupted their first meeting, thus causing them to never marry and himself to never be born. He must now get them to meet and fall in love in order to continue his own existence. But will his hopelessly nerdy dad by able to stand up to bully Biff Tannen to win the girl?

In the following adventures, Marty and Doc travel to 2015 where they must solve some problems with Marty’s children. Along the way, though, they disrupt the past and cause an alternate, horrific 1985 to be created. The two must set things right in the timestream once more and the key to doing so is back in 1955. There, we see their earlier adventures from an entirely different perspective.

In the final film, Doc and Marty are both stranded in the old West where they meet their ancestors and must face off with the outlaw Mad Dog Tannen, ancestor of the bully Biff. Along the way Doc Brown finds an unexpected love.

The Back to the Future films are rated PG.

The Movie:
I’m a big fan of the Back to the Future movies, so I was particularly pleased to finally find them on DVD. The picture and sound is better than ever, so fans of the movie should be happy. There was some controversy about the widescreen editions of Part 2 & 3 and how they weren’t framed properly in parts, but I must admit that I didn’t notice this.

The effects are cleaned up and look great. My favorite shot of the flaming tire tracks passing Doc and Marty still looks horribly blue screen, though, so they didn’t mess with it too much. Otherwise, it’s an improvement.

It’s ironic that while the first film was a nostalgic look at the 50′s, this film is now a nostalgic look at the 80′s. The hair, fashions, music, and slang are all there in their horrible glory. Now I’m just waiting for my hoverboard, flying cars, and Jaws 19 in 2015.

If you’re a fan of the original films, you’ll want this DVD set. If you’ve never seen them, then this DVD set is still well worth checking out.

The Extras:
The extras on this DVD are a bit of a mixed bag. They range from being excellent to being handled completely wrong. Here’s a run downÂ….

Michael J. Fox – On the first BTTF film, you can select this option when you watch the movie. Little icons will pop up and Fox will come on and talk about the making of the movie. While what he has to say is interesting, it doesn’t always have something to do with what’s happening on the screen. In fact the comments seem pretty random. Through the videos, Fox is extremely fidgety and seems nervous. I don’t know if this is a side effect of his battle with Parkinson’s, but it does become distracting. There are 20 of these 1-minute clips throughout the film.

Outtakes – This is one of the highlights of the DVD set, though it is rather short. One of the funniest, though politically incorrect, is an outtake of Fox and Lloyd playing out a scene as a Hispanic gang member or something. You’ll just have to see it to believe it.

Deleted Scenes – This is another highlight of the set and we get deleted scenes from all three films. There’s an extended “Darth Vader” scene from the first movie. You see Marty actually using chloroform on his father. Another scene shows his mother cheating on a test. In the third film there’s a death scene for Sheriff Strickland that was rather grim and understandably removed from the movie. Overall, these are worth checking out.

Audio Commentaries, Live Q&A Session, and Animated Anecdotes – All three of these special features are interesting on their own, but they all highlight a similar problem. In order to take advantage of them, you have to watch each movie three separate times. And if you throw in the Michael J. Fox feature, you’ll have to throw in an extra viewing of the first film. While I love the Back to the Future movies, I really don’t want to watch them so many times just to view these extras. I’m sure they’ve all got great info, but I don’t have enough free hours to go through them. I did look at a bit of the Animated Anecdotes and was thoroughly unimpressed, though. The trivia was generally weak and pointed out rather obvious things happening on the screen.

Hoverboard Tests – These are kind of cool to check out. It was a rather innovative technique for creating a flying skateboard and it was convincing enough that some people still believe they are real.

Making The Trilogy – These features on all three discs contain old documentaries on the making of the movies as well as new ones featuring Zemeckis, Gale, and Fox. While the new ones offer the advantage of hindsight, the old ones are much more interesting. They contain interviews with more of the cast and they have a lot more insight into the making of the movie. It’s fun to see all of the actors when they were younger, too. The documentary is fairly candid as well. Gale briefly discusses how Crispin Glover was not brought back for the sequels and how that actually impacted the writing of the story.

Music Videos – The video for “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News is particularly funny. It features an out of character Doc Brown pulling up in front of a club in the time machine and allowing a bunch of 80′s teens to play around with it. In the club, Huey is on stage and hypes how their song is in the movie. They then begin to play the music. It’s a particularly cheesy flashback to the 80′s though the music is still fun.

Evolution of Special Effects – While this is hyped as a major feature of the DVD, it’s a relatively minor addition. It is still interesting, though. We primarily see how the flying cars were made for the second movie. The effects supervisor shows the original background plates and subsequent elements.

Behind-The-Scenes Segments – There are a batch of short features on the DVDs giving you looks behind the scenes. “Designing the DeLorean” discusses the development process of the time machine and how they arrived at the final design. “Make-Up Tests” shows early tests with the makeup. Though awkward, they are interesting. Others like the “Storyboarding” are short and lacking in content. Overall, though, they are worth checking out.

Production Archives – Fans of the BTTF series will enjoy a lot of rare photos featured here. My particular favorites as a movie poster buff and a Drew Struzan fan were the early versions of the movie poster. It took quite a few iterations before they arrived at the classic design, and they are pretty different from the final product.

The biggest disappointment about the extras is that the supporting cast is nowhere to be found in the new material. No Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, or Tom Wilson anywhere. It’s a major disappointment. I heard Tom Wilson speak at a convention once and he’s absolutely hilarious. He had fantastic stories about the filming of the movies that any BTTF fan would want to hear. It’s a terrible shame they weren’t included in this. In short, it’s nowhere near the definitive DVD set you’d hope for.

The Bottom Line:
The Back to the Future Trilogy is a great DVD to add to your collection, but it may disappoint some hard-core fans of the series.

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