Tuesday, June 29, 2010
#8 - Back to the Future Part II - 1989
Its SciFi/Fantasy week for me and I gotta admit it will be nice to see some "real" people in the movies now. haha. The animated set I chose was awesome and I loved those movies but now its on to SciFi mode. I was leaning towards a Journey to the Center of the Earth as my first choice but I instead picked Back to the Future Part II. I wanted to save Journey since it is a bluray one and its shorter for tonight since I'm more limited on time. Below is my detailed review of Back to the Future Part II.
Now most people know the story of the Back to the Future films so I'm not going to spend as much time going over the storyline but more so review the characters, the circumstances, and the details that make this movie great. Marty McFly played by Michael J Fox is a hyper, always bouncing type character that has that extra kick in his step. Fox is the perfect person to play this role. Picking up right where the first film ended McFly is checking out his new truck as his girlfriend Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue) appears. They are quickly interrupted by Doc Brown (Christopher Llyod) who in my mind is the best BTTF character of them all. He takes Marty and Jennifer and they take off and the famous line by Doc Brown of "where we are going we don't need roads" is uttered before the opening credits.
Brown had to get Marty to go into the future to change events that will ruin his life (in the future forever). It all has to do with his family. The beginning scenes are my favorite because it depicts life in 2015 which was very interesting to watch now that it is 2010 and 2015 is less than 5 years away. Now granted I saw this film in 1989 when I was 13 years old so some of these futuristic ideas may have been a possibility in ones mind back then but now looking at it, it made me laugh. Not in a bad way, just in a "that isn't ever happening" way. Let me divulge. As Doc lands in the year 2015 the weather is so accurate it can change within seconds from rain to sunlight, boy if only that was possible huh? Marty is advised he must stay clear from his future self and also any family members but his goal is to go meet Griff at Cafe 80's (oh there's more to this to come) and say No, just say no. Reminds me of the saying to drugs in grade school.
Marty eventually confronts Griff in Cafe 80's and after a chase outside on some hover boards Griff and his gang of hoodlums crash into the courthouse while attempting to catch Marty. This altered the future events as Doc and Marty could tell by almost instantly by the USA Today paper which had the ability to update by the minute. As they get back to the delorian they realize Jennifer is gone. The cops had seen here lying outside the car and took her home, to her future home which could be catastrophic. This leads Doc and Marty on a chase against time to go get her before she runs into her future self which could cause another chain of events that could disrupt the future. Ok before we get to that let me discuss a few things about the "future" world in the town square area.
Lets start with Cafe 80's. I loved the Michael Jackson and Ronald Reagan monitor waiters and even more so I loved that you could say out loud a drink and poof, its there! The 80's cafe was heavily Michael Jackson themed with a wall clock of his Thriller album cover and the song "Beat It' playing when you walk in, it was quite comical especially since the movie was made in the 80's. I also loved the Darryl Strawberry plaque on the wall and the especially cool looking treadmill's in place of bar stools. When Marty goes up to play the Wild Gunman I immediately noticed one of the kids and there's a reason why. It was Elijah Wood as a child in his first movie role ever. Crazy huh? Outside of the cafe I love the sketchy at best Jaws graphic for Jaws 19 that attacks Marty, oh how far we have come with special effects. The flying cars and hover boards are all things that are obviously not going to be present in 2015 and might never be in my lifetime. Someone at Universal was a little proactive with their future thinking, haha. One interesting note, the old man who talks about the Cubbies winning the world series is actually Charles Fleischer, the same guy who was the voice of Roger Rabbit. I loved the water area in front of the courthouse in the future world, looked very cool.
As the movie moves on Doc caught Marty trying to bring back a Sports Almanac in which he was going to use to go back in time and make some money but he makes him throw it away as he clearly stated "he didn't create the time machine for monetary gain". Biff oversees this and notices the time machine and takes the book from the trash and follows the delorain to McFly's neighborhood. The police meanwhile have dropped Jennifer off at her home and she is clearly confused but then understands she is in the future. Some cool effects here were the sky garden over the dinner table which allowed you to pick fruit or vegetables at your choosing and the large pizza that could fit in your palm and be heated up in the Hydrator in about 3 seconds. Doc and Marty successfully get Jennifer out of the house but not after she saw her future self. The damage had been done though, not by Jennifer but by Biff who had stolen the delorian and already gone back in the time to deliver the almanac to his "old" self.
Once back in 1985 Doc drops Marty off at his old place or at least he believes he does. When Marty attempts entering what used to be his room he accidentally invades a girls bedroom and almost gets clocked by a baseball bat wielding father. I mention this scene because there is something funny about it. The Michael Jackson poster on the wall in this girls room with him in a yellow shirt is an actual poster I owned as a kid. No jokes please. As Marty gets out of the house and walks down the street he realizes something is awry. What has happened is that Biff made millions in gambling after receiving the sports almanac and he basically owns the city now. A huge Casino named Biff's Please Paradise is where the courthouse once stood and the streets are filled with hookers, hoodlums, and vandalized vehicles. Upon entering the casino Marty watches a tv screen showing highlights of how Biff got rich in front of a wax figure of Biff at the entrance of the Biff Tannen Museum. We get a first glimpse of Buford Tannen in this clip who is a main character in Back to the Future Part III. After flipping out at the video Marty is grabbed by Biff's security team (the same three in his gang back in 1955) whom one of them is Billy Zane better known as the Phantom.
Marty awakens to his Mom on the 27th floor and quickly realizes she married Biff. No surprise here but Biff hates Marty and we learn Marty's really dad, George, is dead. As Marty goes to check out the gravestone of his father Doc Brown meets him there and tells him that the only way to change the order of events is to go back in time, yet again, and stop Biff from becoming a millionaire. When Marty confronts Biff about how he got the sports almanac things turn dangerous and he finds out that Biff is the one who killed his father. After being rescued from the rooftop of Biff's casino by Doc and the delorian Marty goes back in time, yet again, and the final 15 minutes of the film include a lot of short snippets of the original from different perspectives and angle points, it was pretty cool. After a cool chase scene in a tunnel with Biff, Marty while on his trusty hover board gets the sports almanac while Biff crashes into yet another maneuver truck. The film ends with Doc and the delorian being struck by lightning and Marty to be left alone on a street only to be approached by a single man in a car holding a letter. It is a letter from Doc Brown from the, get this, past, 1885 to be exact. This leads way to the third film which was great as well and completed Back to the Future Part II.
Since I do not have the original or third on my list to watch this week Ill just say this. After watching this one last night I really enjoyed it. It brought me back to my childhood and it was the oldest movie Vie seen since starting this marathon. I thought it was hilarious that Flea was cast as Needles. Doc Brown like I said before is my favorite character of all and is so eccentric and crazy it makes it hilarious to watch him in this film. He is even better in the third one. One thing I really enjoy about the BTTF series is the accuracy and authentic nature of each of the characters. In all three movies and all the different ages of each character they are still very noticeable and true to the original. I love that about movies that have sequel's. My favorite scene had to be when they first reached the future and Marty went into Cafe 80's, very cool, very nostalgic considering it was supposed to be in the future. I liked all the eye candy with the hover boards, flying cars, Jaws special effect (even though it was pretty bad), and the board less billboard stating the Cubs win the world series. One thing that was pretty funny was that old blank cd's were used for packaging and you could see this behind Jennifer when she was placed next to the deloraian when Marty was getting ready to go into Cafe 80's, too funny. Overall I would say that I really enjoyed this film and if it had spent a little more time in the future I might have given it an A- but since a good portion was in the 80's and 50's I will have to give it a B+!