Tom Pheby goes back...
Back To The Future remains one of the most rounded, well scripted and faultless films in movie history. I tend to agree with many other fans that installments two and three failed to capture the perfection of the original. But boy, what an original it was! If the first film in the trilogy has any flaws, then I haven't noticed them whilst revisiting it over and over again since its release in 1985.
Here, in Back In Time, cast, crew, and fans explore the classic time-travel trilogy's resonance throughout our culture 30 years after Marty went back in time, and we get some insight into how the original movie made it to the screen. The documentary was first shown on October 15th 2015, the exact date on
the DeLorean console.
Writer/director Robert Zemeckis reveals he had problems getting the project off the ground, submitting the original script over forty times, only to receive a series of shrugs and dismissive phone calls that put the whole thing firmly on the back burner. Columbia Pictures thought the idea was too warm and fuzzy for their liking and suggested that Zemeckis and co-writer Bob Gale take a punt and offer it to Disney. However the Mouse balked at the idea of a mother and son being the subject of a romantic entanglement, even though it was purely innocent and was due to traveling in time. So Disney quickly passed and gave up their chance of bringing the project to the screen. A decision they must surely regret to this day.
During the documentary we get to see some of the original footage with Eric
Stolz as Marty McFly. Studio executives and director alike felt the
casting was wrong, not that Stolz was terrible, far from it, but
he was unable to capture the comic innocence that Michael J Fox would later bring
to the screen as the same character. So after seeing the rushes it was
agreed that the production would hold out for Fox, who was
under contract with the sit com Family Ties.
Back In Time also looks at the fans who continue to support the film through conventions and projects, such as Terry and Oliver Holler who built their own DeLorean to
tour America and raise money for the Michael J Fox Foundation. This is all
the more remarkable when you discover that the majority of the build was
achieved by freeze framing the film to establish the vehicles design and
The DeLorean itself is as much the star of the show as the actors, and it's
amusing to think that at one point Back To The Future was going to use a pickup
truck complete with a massive time traveling contraption at the back, and,
more bizarrely, a refrigerator. I can't see either of those options becoming quite so iconic as the DeLorean, can you? I found it hard to believe that the original vehicle used in the film was left in a studio
lot to just rust and decay (someone should get a rather terse memo for that),
and so it required extensive work to bring it back to its former glory. I also learned that thanks to Back To The Future the demand for replica
DeLorean's has never stopped, each costing $45,000 upwards. A cottage
industry has emerged as the film continues to pick up new fans who
never even saw it in a cinema setting and are only leaning to appreciate
it through its anniversary re-release.
Back In Time is nostalgia at its best, crammed full of behind the scenes goodies and, often touching, stories from fans. We hear from Zemeckis, Gale, Lea Thompson, Steven Spielberg, Huey Lewis, Christopher Lloyd, Claudia Wells, Alan Silvestri, Dean Cundey, Dan Harmon, Frank Price and of course Michael J Fox who, naturally, has the best anecdotes, especially his revelations about the Royal premiere and Princess Diana.
Hard core fans may well know a lot of the information given here, but as documentaries go Back In Time is absolutely a must see for anyone who loves Back To The Future.
Script Writer, Poet, Blogger and junk television specialist. Half
English, half Irish and half Alsatian, Tom is well known for insisting
on being called Demetri for reasons best known to himself. A former film
abuser and telly addict who shamefully skulks around his home town
of Canterbury after dark dressed as Julie Andrews. Follow Tom on Twitter