Time flies. It’s 25 years since Back To The Future was released in cinemas and it remains one of the best films of 80s, if not of all time. If you haven’t seen it why are you reading this review? You should be high-tailing it down to your local cinema before its limited two week release expires. For those of you who want to reminisce about how absolutely brilliant, how sublimely magical this movie is, read on.
Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) is just your average 80s school kid but he’s friends with the eccentric Doc Brown, a haphazard inventor whose creations rarely work as planned. This time though, Doc is definitely on to something and Marty gets catapulted back through time in the Doc’s homemade time machine – a souped-up DeLorean.
In 1955 Marty has to set about returning to his home time, all the while trying to undo the damage his presence has done to the timeline by getting his parents to fall in love all over again while trying to stay out of the way of the school bully and fending off the misplaced advances of his future mother.
Back To The Future is quite simply a masterpiece. It’s got a perfect script written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, which artfully balances the plates of romance, nostalgia, action and drama, all edged with a razor-sharp light-hearted wit which infuses nearly every scene.
It’s a film chock-full of marvellous set-pieces – the race to get the DeLorean up to 88mph before lightning strikes the clock tower; Marty’s Van Halen-esque guitar solo on stage to a shocked 1955 audience (“Maybe you guys aren’t ready for that yet but your kids are going to love it”); Marty’s premature invention of the skateboard as he escapes the clutches of the local bully, to name just a few.
The cast is flawless – Michael J Fox has exactly the right kind of go-get-‘em teenage attitude that reminds you exactly why he was one of the most formidable acting talents of the 80s. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how good Christopher Lloyd is as Doc Brown. His comic timing is spot on – everything from a shocked look to the twitch of an eyebrow is brilliantly executed – his cry of “Great Scott!” will go down in history as one of the all-time most quotable lines of the 80s.
It’s all aided by Alan Silvestri’s unforgettable score. There are a few scores that most people can hum under their breaths (Superman, Stars Wars, Indiana Jones are some of the others) and Back To The Future is an assured member of this elite group. The music is so part of the tension and drama that it’s impossible to imagine the film without it.
Back To The Future is the perfect piece of escapist fantasy, the quintessential 80s movie and it’s a welcome return to the big screen for one of cinema’s greatest achievements. Quite simply astounding, even a quarter of a century later.