Sunday Double Feature Part One: “Back to the Future: Part II”

Today’s double feature: the Back to the
Future
sequels.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Michael J. Fox
plays Marty
McFly.
Christopher Lloyd plays “Doc” Brown.

Lea Thompson plays
Lorraine.
Thomas F. Wilson plays Biff Tannen.

Marc “Jimmy
Olsen” McClure plays Dave McFly.

Written by
Bob Gale and
Robert Zemeckis
Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Complete
information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy
from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca
in a complete trilogy package. (The movies are not
available
individually.)

Past movie reviews can be
found here.

Premise

Marty McFly travels to the future to correct problems
with his
children. While there, he accidentally starts a chain
of events that
forces him to go back to 1955 in order to maintain the
latest version
of 1985 (which he and Doc Brown consider the correct
version, even
though it’s the one that Marty made by messing with
history during the
first movie.)

High Point

The mechanics of inserting scenes into the first
movie.

Low Point

SPOILER: If time travel works the way it was described
in the film,
Old Biff couldn’t have returned to
the 2015 that
Marty and Doc were in. Instead, he’d have taken the
Delorian back to
the new 2015 and stranded Marty and Doc in the new one
until the time
line corrected itself, at which point they’d have had
to hunt for the
time machine in 2015, done the research there, and
then gone back to
1955.

The Scores

This sequel isn’t as original as the previous
entry in the
series. It’s a collection of all the classic time
travel paradox
discussions cobbled together. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects had the occassional visible matte
lines, but in
general, they were very well done for 1989. Many of
the interactions,
particularly around the McFly dinner table, and still
very
impressive. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story has no big, cohesive idea. The
goals for the
characters change every 30-40 minutes, with a hunt
sequence that feels
expanded to fill time. It really feels like the
writers knew where #1
ended and where they wanted #3 to begin, and threw
together any old
concoction that bridged the gap. Some scenes felt
like they were just
toying with the technical fun you get from inserting a
new action
sequence into an existing film, and they forgot about
making it fun
for the non-film geeks in the audience. I give it 3
out of 6.

The acting isn’t as good as the original or
the next sequel,
which is odd given that this and the third were filmed
consecutively.
The principal actors were all over the top, and
Elisabeth Shue isn’t
nearly as good as she is in her later works. It’s
almost like they
were told to ham it up just for this one to compensate
for a weak
script, but that just introduced inconsistencies in
portrayal that
stand out for the audience. I give it 4 out of 6.

Th emotional response is weaker here than for
the others.
It’s not as funny as the other two, and the lack of
clear direction
makes it hard to get engaged in the plot. I give it 3
out of 6.

The production is extremely difficult for
this. There are a
number of sets and costumes that need to be designed
from scratch, and
there is the raw challenge of shooting “around” the
action of the
first film with new footage. My only complaint is
that effects
technology of the time restricted some of the camera
angles enough to
detract from the presentation. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, this chapter is necessary to get
from the first to
the third, but it doesn’t hold up on its own. See it
only as part of
the complete package. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Back to the Future: Part II
receives 26 out of 42.

8 replies on “Sunday Double Feature Part One: “Back to the Future: Part II””

  1. octa says:

    fond memories
    At the time I remember being blown away with all the special effects that I just ignored the plot for the most part. I would have chopped off my left arm for a hover skateboard. The flying Delorean was also oh-so-sweet. On a personal note it was the movie for my first date ever ;)

    I never caught the plothole you mentioned but you’re absolutely right, it doesn’t make sense. Also, was it the first movie to do back to back shootings like that? I remember the cliffhanger but wasn’t too dissapointed because we were GUARANTEED a sequal unlike a lot of other sci-fi cliff hangers.

  2. obiwan says:

    Not instantaneous
    From what we know about timeline changes in the movies, it takes a while for the changes to propogate throughout the continuum. In the first movie Marty doesn’t disappear right away. His brother and sister go first. I suppose by the same logic we can assume that the timeline changes only caught up to 1985 and not to the future yet. On the DVD commentary this was touched on, and the original shot had old Biff disappearing behind some garbage cans after he returns from the past.

    • Cerberus7 says:

      Re: Not instantaneous
      So, I gotta ask, was that _really_ the original shot, or did they just make that up for the commentary to try and ease some of the criticism they’ve received for the inconsistency? Did they include it in a deleted scenes collection, or just mention it?

      • octa says:

        Re: Not instantaneous
        If I remember correctly from a deleted scenes/bloopers clip show there is a deleted scene where Biff comes out of the car looking sick and staggering. I would hope that’s on the DVD.

        • fiziko says:

          Re: Not instantaneous

          If I remember correctly from a deleted scenes/bloopers clip
          show there is a deleted scene where Biff comes out of the
          car looking sick and staggering. I would hope that’s on
          the DVD.

          It is on the DVD. However, if Marty and Doc Brown could
          travel back to the new 1985, but old Biff went to the old
          2015, then that would imply that the Delorian could
          “outrun” the changes to the timeline, which means that the
          first movie should have ended with Marty landing in the old
          1985 and then watching it change around him.

          • UncleJam says:

            Re: Not instantaneous

            However, if Marty and Doc Brown could
            travel back to the new 1985, but old Biff went to the old
            2015, then that would imply that the Delorian could
            “outrun” the changes to the timeline, which means that the
            first movie should have ended with Marty landing in the old
            1985 and then watching it change around him.

            Perhaps he did. IIRC, the first movie ends with him coming home and falling asleep, waking up the next morning to find the changes to his present. He could have slept through the old 1985 changing around him and we just see the final result.

            • fiziko says:

              Re: Not instantaneous

              Perhaps he did. IIRC, the first movie ends with him
              coming home and falling asleep, waking up the next morning
              to find the changes to his present. He could have slept
              through the old 1985 changing around him and we just see
              the final result.

              Minutes after he returned from the past in the first movie,
              the name of the mall has already become the “Lone Pine”
              mall. I also vaguely recall a shot of the house from the
              outside without a wreck in the driveway, though they’d have
              had time to tow it away.

              • UncleJam says:

                Re: Not instantaneous

                Minutes after he returned from the past in the first movie,
                the name of the mall has already become the “Lone Pine”
                mall. I also vaguely recall a shot of the house from the
                outside without a wreck in the driveway, though they’d have
                had time to tow it away.

                Hurm. Okay…how ’bout this?

                The destruction of one of the trees that gave Twin Pines Mall its original name was one of the first effects that Marty had on the past. The ripples from that affected his 1985 before the ripples from his monkeying around with his parents did. So there would have been a point where there’d be a Lone Pine Mall and Marty would still have a crappy life.

                As for the wreck… uh, I’ll go with your “towed it away” because I honestly don’t even recall that there was one in the driveway.

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