Time travel is insane and has the ability to make movies stop making sense if you over think them. Look at The Terminator and Terminator 2. Great movies, but the plot can fall apart if you start to over analyse the intricacies of its story as it pertains to the rules off time travel.
The twisty turny-timey whimey craziness of going back in time has been at the heart of many a time travel tale, in books, movies and television shows, and one aspect that can both be fun, and yet infuriating, especially when time travel narratives start to bring in the likes of paradoxes and altered timelines.
So it is, Back to the Future Part II introduces to the series an altered timeline that our heroes Doc and Marty must reset by the end of the movie and to think all the craziness that is unleashed is brought upon them and the world by, of all things, a damn sports almanac.
The second instalment of the Back to the Future series would be filmed back to back with the third instalment (yes, it will be the next entry of the bucket list), and sees the series at is most daring and experimental. Whilst the first and third movies would settle into one time period for the majority of their running times, Part II spends its near two-hour length in three different time periods.
Frighteningly released in 1989 when its October 21st 2015 setting seemed so far away, and which was brilliantly celebrated recently when we actually caught up to it, Part II’s depiction of the future was in many ways brilliantly accurate, predicting video calling, multiple television channels and, to a certain extent, hoverboards, although sadly not in the manner that they are depicted here which would be all kinds of awesome. Flying cars was overreaching it a touch, as was the dehydrated pizza maker, but there is a real sense of awe and wonder to the future scenes that it almost seemed sad to me when I watched it as a five year old that the movie didn’t spend all of its time there.
Soon we’re back in 1985, but one that has been altered by Biff where the use of a sports almanac has made him one of the richest men in the world, having briefly stolen the DeLorean and went back to 1955 to give his younger self the book with sports results of the future thus making him the most successful gambler in history, thus meaning that Doc and Marty must go back, AGAIN, to 1955, and the events of the first film, and tip toe around themselves whilst their past selves play their parts in the first film.
Its crazy, a touch darker than the first film of course, but still funny, engaging and wonderfully imaginative. The trip to the alternative 1985 sees the film go all Temple of Doom/Empire Strikes Back on the audience, but it’s strangely good fun too and makes Thomas F Wilson’s performance as Biff an undoubted highlight, especially given recent comparisons.
Not without controversies either, the replacing of Crispin Glover with Jeffrey Weisman would see Glover successfully sue Zemeckis and Gale and change the rules in Hollywood when it came to the right to use an actor or actresses’ likeness on screen without their permission.
Filled with pace and wit, humour and energy, it’s a family blockbuster that is brilliantly complex and one that the audience really has to try to stay in tune with, and although it lacks some of the charm and innocence of the first and third movies, it does not deserve to be discounted. Even better, if you think about it long enough, the time travel intricacies actually hold up.
Oh la la indeed.
COMING SOON: “If you don’t go out there, everybody, everywhere, will say Clint Eastwood was the biggest yellow belly in the west.“