Archive for January 5, 2009

Back to the Future part 2

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Marty McFly, “Doc” Brown, and Jennifer Parker (now played by Elisabeth Shue) arrive in 2015. Jennifer begins asking many questions about her future. Doc tranquilizes Jennifer, who is not necessary for his plan, explaining that he brought her along only because she saw the time machine. After landing in Hill Valley, Marty and Doc leave Jennifer in an alley, expecting her to remain unconscious while they attend to the crisis involving Marty’s children. Doc explains that Martin McFly Jr., Marty’s and Jennifer’s son, is about to be approached by Griff Tannen, Biff’s grandson, and his gang, who will offer him the chance to take part in a robbery. According to Doc, this event leads to the ruin of the entire McFly family. Marty impersonates his future son and tells Griff he will not join the robbery; however, his self-control crumbles when his courage is called into question, and he is accused of being a “chicken”. The resulting confrontation leads to a hoverboard chase that causes Griff and his thugs to damage the glass facade of the nearby courthouse. Griff and his gang are arrested and the planned robbery never occurs.

Before reuniting with Doc, Marty notices a sports almanac displayed in an antique store window, which lists sports statistics from 1950 through to 2000. He buys it, intending to take the book back to 1985 and use the data within for financial gain. Doc discovers the almanac, and sternly tells Marty that the purpose of inventing this time machine was for scientific investigation, not financial gain (especially dishonest), and pitches the almanac into a garbage can. Meanwhile, Jennifer, still tranquilized, is found by the police, who mistake her for her future self after thumbprint identification, and take her to her future home, waking her up just as they arrive. Confused, she hides in a closet, not seeing Marlene McFly, Marty’s and Jennifer’s daughter, letting George and Lorraine in for dinner. She also witnesses the Marty of 2015 being fired from his job after his Japanese boss catches him “cooperating” in an illegal scheme (a sting operation) that his immediate boss and longtime friend, Douglas Needles, goads him into joining, again by taunting him that he is too ‘chicken’ to try it. Travelling to the house, Doc leaves Marty with the DeLorean, finds Jennifer and sneaks her out of the house. Along the way, she encounters her older self, who has just arrived home, with the shock causing both women to pass out. Unable to carry her himself, Doc calls Marty for help, leaving the DeLorean unguarded.

While Doc and Marty rescue Jennifer, the original Biff (age 78), having overheard Doc and Marty talking about time travel and about the folly and hazards in using it to win at gambling, recovers the discarded sports almanac, steals the DeLorean and travels back in time. He returns the car just before Marty and Doc return to it to leave for their own time, stumbles away in pain and collapses (he has the same symptoms that Marty exhibited in Back to the Future when he was beginning to be “erased”). Upon arrival in 1985, Marty and Doc find that Hill Valley has become a dilapidated, crime-ridden slumlorded over by a middle-aged Biff, who is now immeasurably rich, powerful and corrupt thanks to decades of successful sports betting, the proceeds of which he invested in toxic waste dumps, oil, and to purchase the Hill Valley courthouse and convert it into a luxury hotel and casino. Biff has also married Marty’s widowed mother, Lorraine, after secretly killing her husband George. Doc deduces that the Biff of 2015 must have given the almanac to his younger self sometime in the past. Marty confronts Biff and finds out that he received the almanac on November 12, 1955, the date of the lightning storm that Marty used to get back to the future. Biff then intends to kill Marty (telling him that it’s the same gun that he used to kill Marty’s real dad George) as he now knows too much. Marty again is saved by Doc when Doc knocks out Biff with the DeLorean’s gull-wing door.

Marty and Doc travel back to 1955 to prevent Biff from getting the almanac. Marty goes through a long and complicated series of events involving his multiple attempts to recover the almanac, all the while making sure that he does not interfere with past events again and does not undo all that he had previously done in 1955 in the first film to set his parents up with each other. After revisiting the events of the Enchantment Under the Seadance, he eventually manages to steal the book from the 1955 Biff with the help of Doc in the flying DeLorean, and burns it, restoring history to its proper course. As Doc fights the controls (and accidentally turns on the time circuits) while attempting to land the DeLorean during the storm to pick Marty up, the car is struck by lightning, causing it to disappear, the time-travel capability having been triggered by the lightning. A few minutes later, a Western Union delivery man appears with a letter, which he explains was sent seventy years ago with the explicit instructions that it be delivered to Marty “at this exact location, at this exact minute, November 12, 1955”. Marty opens the letter, which is from Doc, explaining that he is now living happily in 1885. Knowing he has only one source of help, Marty runs to the clock tower to find the Doc of 1955, just as lightning strikes to send the previous film’s Marty back to the future. The shock of suddenly seeing the new Marty, whom (he thinks) he has just sent back to 1985 causes Doc to faint. The film ends as Marty tries to revive Doc.

REVIEW:

This series of films is a true trilogy, as each film is a different part of the story. This particular one is  arguably the most entertaining.

Michael J. Fox reprises his role as Marty, but this time he also had to go into makeup so that he could play his son, daughter, and older self. I almost didn’t recognize him as  the daughter.

Christopher Lloyd reprises his role as Doc Brown and is more eccentric that in the first film. A very good performance from him here.

Elizabeth Shue takes over the role of Jennifer from Claudia Wells. While not the biggest role in this film, she does a good job with what she has. I actually think she’s a better Jennifer, if for no other reason than she’s cuter.

Thomas F. Wilson is all over this film as young Biff, old Biff, present Biff, corrupt Biff, and his grandson Griff. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought he was the star of the show. Still, he makes a good villain.

Lea Thompson is a cutie and though she doesn’t have as big of a part in this film as she did the previous one, she does have a similar scene with Marty, only instead she’s nursing her son back to health and apparently gained some implants in the corrupt world of Biff’s 1985.

The best part of this film has to be the future scenes. It’s too bad they rushed everything back to 1955, though. Here it is 2009, and we don’t have flying cars, hoverboards, fusion fuel generators (you know you thought of those when gas was inching ever so close to $5/gal), and all the other gadgets and gizmos in 2015, but hey there’s still 6 years left, right?

The alternate present was actually kinda scary and dark. It really left the impression that it wasn’t someplace you wanted to live.

1955 was, well it was 1955, but this time we got to see it from a different angle and some of the other event that happened while Marty was fixing his past from the first film.

All in all this is a good film. Like I said earlier, it’s part 2 of a trilogy, not a sequel, so you may need to refresh your memory by watching the first one. After doing so, you’ll enjoy this one that much more. I know I did!

4 out of 5 stars

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