Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
10 out of 10
Extras Rating:
9.5 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG

Starring:
Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly
Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown
Lea Thompson as Lorraine Baines
Crispin Glover as George McFly
Thomas F. Wilson as Biff Tannen
Claudia Wells as Jennifer 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. Strickland
J.J. Cohen as Skinhead
Casey Siemaszko as 3-D
Billy Zane as Match
Harry Waters Jr. as Marvin Berry

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Special Features:
Blu-ray Exclusives:

U-Control
Setups & Payoffs: Note key scenes and see how they play out as you watch the movies
Storyboard Comparison: Compare key scenes in the movie with the original storyboards.
Trivia Track: Get inside trivia and facts while you watch the movies.
Pocket BLU: Experience Blu-ray in an exciting new way with the app for iPhone, iPod touch, BlackBerry, Android and more
BD-Live: Access the BD-Live Center through your Internet-connected player and download even more bonus content, the latest trailers and more
My Scenes: Bookmark your favorite scenes from the movies

Bonus Features"

"Tales from the Future:" 6-part retrospective documentary featuring all-new interviews with Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Director Robert Zemeckis, Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton plus Executive Producer Steven Spielberg
"In the Beginning..."
Time to Go
Keeping Time
Time Flies
Third Times the Charm
The Test of Time
The Physics of Back to the Future
16 Deleted Scenes
Michael J. Fox Q&A
Archival Featurettes
The Making of Back to the Future Parts I, II & III
Making The Trilogy: Chapters One, Two & Three
Back to the Future Night
The Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy
Behind-the-Scenes
Outtakes
Original Makeup Tests
Nuclear Test Side Ending Storyboard Sequence
Outtakes
Production Design
Storyboarding
Designing the DeLeorean
Designing Time Travel
Hoverboard Test
Designing Hill Valley
Designing the Campaign
Photo Galleries Including Production Art, Additional Storyboards, Behind-the-Scenes Photographs, Marketing Materials and Character Portraits Music Videos
"The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News
"Doubleback" by ZZ Top
Back to the Future: The Ride
Q&A Commentaries with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale Feature Commentaries with Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
DTS-HD MA 5.1 Sound
Spanish and French Subtitles
Spanish and French Language
Running Time: Part I - 1 Hour 56 Minutes, Part II - 1 Hour 49 Minutes, Part III - 1 Hour 59 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"Experience one of the most popular movie series of all time like never before with the Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy! Join Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and a time traveling DeLorean for the adventure of a lifetime as they travel to the past, present and future, setting off a time-shattering chain reaction that disrupts the space time continuum! From filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, these timeless films feature all-new 25th Anniversary restorations for enhanced picture and sound plus hours of exciting bonus features."

"Back to the Future," "Back to the Future Part II," and "Back to the Future Part III" are rated PG.

Mini-Review:
The "Back to the Future" Trilogy returns, this time on Blu-ray. It was last offered on DVD back in 2005. This new 25th Anniversary Edition gives you everything that was on the DVD set plus more. The "Tales From The Future" documentary is a series of 30 minute featurettes that cover the making of all three films. Total running time is somewhere around 2 hours. I'm a major "Back to the Future" fan and even this documentary had stuff I've never seen before. As you may have already seen online, you get to see the original footage shot with Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly. They shot with him for 5 weeks before switching to Michael J. Fox, so seeing the actor in all the familiar scenes is quite a shock. Spielberg tells another story about how a Universal Executive suggested they change the title to "Spaceman From Pluto" since "Back to the Future" didn't make sense. How they dodged that bullet is a funny story. In the segment covering "Back to the Future Part II," they discuss why the character of Jennifer was changed from Claudia Wells to Elisabeth Shue. It turns out Wells quit acting entirely to take care of her mother who had been diagnosed with cancer, so the role was recast. They also discuss the departure of Crispin Glover in a candid manner. (Needless to say Glover isn't in the documentaries. But then again neither is Thomas F. Wilson who as far as I know is still on good terms with the creators. So the documentary feels somewhat incomplete.) The documentary is filled with other interviews with Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, Michael J. Fox, Lea Thompson, Marc McClure, Christopher Lloyd, and many more.

Also new is "The Physics of Back to the Future." This is a brief interview with physicist Dr. Michio Kaku about what the movie got right and what it got wrong. Also new is a storyboard sequence for an alternate ending to the first "Back to the Future." In it, Marty and Doc break into an atomic bomb testing site in order to capture enough energy to go back in time. When the studio scrapped that due to how expensive it would be, they came up with the lightning sequence as an alternative. This, to me, is a classic example of creators coming up with a better story when constrained by something like the studio or the budget. Rounding out the new bonus features is all the footage from the "Back to the Future" Ride from Universal Studios.

The rest of the bonus features were all on the previous DVD release, but they're still good. There are a lot of interviews, featurettes, commentaries, outtakes, deleted scenes, music videos, and other goodies. The only thing missing is an episode of the old "Back to the Future" cartoon series. That would have been a nice addition. Even if you already have them, you'll want to pick up this Blu-ray for the HD experience (and the digital copies for your portable devices!).

One word of warning. I have a Master of Science degree in Engineering and it still took me something like 5 minutes to figure out how to get the disc out of the case without breaking it. It's a really poor case design and it's not immediately obvious how to get the discs out. (Hint - You push down on the top of the disc so it clears the clips, then you lean it out.) Be careful when trying to get them out.

Overall, I can't recommend enough that you add this Blu-ray to your collection. I took this opportunity to show it to my kids for the first time. It's so much fun to see them gasp and laugh as the DeLorean races down the street to the lightning bolt. Seeing them experience it for the first time was worth the price of the Blu-ray set.

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