Let us begin with the most enjoyable aspect about reviewing films. The most rewarding part has to be actually re-viewing them and discovering hidden gems of cinematic genius. This is not always the case though, regrettably we sometimes stumble across a major plot hole that we have always overlooked. Our uncontrollable infatuations with the story, characters or scenes tend to succeed in blocking out the negative technicalities.
The hardest part about starting a new blog, especially with regard to film, is knowing where to begin. Do you start with film reviews, an introduction to personal tastes and hates, or jump straight into a list that most will disagree with? I’ve started with my favourite film and we’ll work from there.
To get this discussion underway a certain plutonium fuelled vehicle is in order.
My number one, for anyone that knows me is undoubtedly Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future. The unfortunate likelihood with this choice is that this isn’t the first time you have seen Back to the Future on somebody else’s list, or even blog for that matter. But what the hey. For too long my views on Marty McFly and Doc Brown have been limited to close friends and family.
The greatest strength of the Zemeckis/Spielberg joint venture, aside from its enduring quotable value is the way everything fits together so neatly. Film analysts who spend too much time destroying films for pleasure will argue against this point. But it’s difficult not to get lost in the charm of Hill Valley and to ignore the teasing clues in the opening scenes of this science fiction masterpiece.
The story centres around one Marty McFly and his relationship with eccentric scientist and inventor Dr. Emmett Brown. In a lonely Twin Pines Mall car park at 1:15am Doc prepares his experiment involving a time travelling Delorean and his pet dog, Einstein. The level of intrigue that lays hidden on the surface of the film is compelling. You want to see what happens next, what this eccentric scientist has in store for Marty and Einstein. But what is truly commendable is the ability of the film to shock us. The whirlwind of events leading up to Marty’s first experience behind the wheel of an 88mph time machine encourages undivided attention as we are transported to the essence of Hill Valley’s charm in 1955.
Beneath the stylish layer of 50s swing Marty sets out on a mission to preserve and return to his 1985 existence. The premise of building a time machine out of a Deloreon has more to it than a flux capacitor. It has the power to change the future, much to Doc’s dismay. One of the most attractive and often overlooked aspects of Back to the Future is the relationship between Marty and his father George McFly. Brought to our attention pretty quickly are George’s severe confrontation and anxiety issues and it’s difficult to find the connection between himself and Marty, but it’s there and that’s just something we have to accept. The role reversal of the father-son relationship plot device is brilliantly executed. Marty inadvertently succeeds in transforming George into a more confident and attentive man. Doc’s astonishment that George stood up to his high school bully Biff Tannen cements Marty’s prescience that history certainly is going to change.
Each and every scene is constructed in such a way that complements the scene before it and the scene after it. This probably doesn’t sound particularly striking, but this process fuels the intrigue that the film thrives off. There isn’t a single scene from the ticking of the clocks to the sound of Doc crashing onto the driveway where you feel you have enough time to make a quick cup of tea or run to the loo. Every moment is important. Every moment is enjoyable. Every moment can be relived.
I’m not one to refer to academy awards as a measure of greatness but the awards of 1986 just go to show that they just weren’t ready for it yet. I mean seriously, a love affair between Robert Redford and Meryl Streep or a time travelling scientist in a Delorean? I know what gets my vote.
I’d happily dish out a rating of 1.21 gigawatts for this Timeless Classic. Oh the irony…
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