Wednesday, October 13, 2010

1986 Hugo for Dramatic Presentation, 1985 Saturn Award – BACK TO THE FUTURE

No post Friday, as I journey to the frozen wastelands of Canada for a conference this weekend. In the meantime, here's another halfhearted review of an '80s SF classic of which everything worth saying has already been said. Is it just nostalgia that makes the '80s the SF movie golden age for me?

Back to the Future is the quintessential '80s film. It's really the quintessence of the 80s, period. Take the adventure movie prototype of Lucas and Spielberg (the director, Robert Zemeckis, was a protoge of Spielberg, who also executive produced this film), add in Iranian terrorists, Reagan jokes, nostalgia for a "simpler time," Huey Lewis, yuppies and punks, and you've got the whole decade nicely summed up in under two hours. It's also incredibly fun.

If you've somehow missed the film, the film begins with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), a cool, guitar-playing high schooler with an unhappy homelife. In the evenings, he works for mad scientist Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd, in the performance of a lifetime). When Doc Brown tries to show off his time machine (the Delorean, a futuristic-looking '80s novelty car). Muslim terrorists show up (of course!) and Marty ends up in 1955, where he meets his Mom and Dad in high school and things get weird.

The movie is fast-paced, funny, and exciting. Michael J. Fox is fantastic, as this week's surfaced footage of Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly has made me realize. I'm not sure that version would have worked, even though I like Stoltz.

I also enjoyed the film's two sequels, whose reputations are not quite as solid. For me, this is part of the holy trinity of '80s trilogies alongside Indiana Jones and Star Wars.

Grade: A

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