Back to the Future

Year: 1985
Production Co: Amblin Entertainment
Studio: Universal
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Producer: Steven Spielberg/Bob Gale
Writer: Robert Zemeckis/Bob Gale
Cast: Michael J Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F Wilson, Mark McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber, James Tolkan
I rarely make references to myself in these reviews, but here's my first memory of Back to the Future. I was at the independent cinema in Sylvania, Sydney, which is now a gym. I can't remember the film I was seeing, but there were two trailers, and I remember thinking 'that's funny, they're both about time travel'.

One was the original Future Cop – I don't know if it did good business but it descended into a straight to video series of endless (and what looks like endlessly bad) sequels, the star Tim Thomerson getting older and his hair getting whiter in every instalment.

The other trailer didn't give much away – it showed several angles a very cool car as the camera tracked over its surfaces.

When it exploded across the world, I was just one of millions of 14 year old kids caught up in the adventures of Marty and Doc.

Ostensibly a science fiction film, the latter instalments of the series contain more effects and action – the original was as much a cute and sweet reminiscence of small town America during a more innocent age (funny now that we now consider the early Reagan years a more innocent age).

Marty McFly, a high school student in the fictional town of Hill Valley California, gets a call from his eccentric friend Doc, a local inventor who he says has finally cracked the big one. Marty meets Doc in the empty parking lot of Twin Pines Mall in the middle of the night and is met with a gleaming DeLorean covered in wires, circuits and additions.

Doc barely has time to explain that the car is a time machine and give Marty a demonstration when Libyan terrorists (another nod to the times) turn up for some payback over the plutonium Doc has swiped to power the flux capacitor.

Doc is gunned down and Marty dives into the DeLorean to escape, unwittingly transporting himself back thirty years in to the past.

Time paradoxes ensue as his own mother falls in love with him instead of his father and Marty – together with the 35 year old Doc – has to put things right.

For a film with a minimum of action and special effects (mostly at the beginning and end), it continues to be a huge hit and have fans everywhere. What was the appeal, I now wonder?

At the pinnacle of his career with Family Ties, Michael J Fox never regained that much credibility in movies again, acting in a string of light hearted failures for the next fifteen years until Spin City resurrected his past glory.

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