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Back to the Future

Entry updated 5 May 2021. Tagged: Film.

Film (1985). Amblin Entertainment/Universal. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, Steven Spielberg among the executive producers. Written by Zemeckis, Bob Gale. Cast includes Michael J Fox, Crispin Glover, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Thomas F Wilson. 116 minutes. Colour.

One of the major sf hits of the 1980s, Back to the Future is a disarming, calculated and intelligent comedy about Time Travel. Teenage guitar-playing Marty (Fox), son of a tacky and ineffectual mother and father (Thompson and Glover), is interrupted by Libyan terrorists while helping Mad Scientist Emmett Brown (Lloyd) test a Time Machine mounted in a DeLorean car, and escapes to his Northern California home town in 1955. There he seeks out the young Dr Brown, but is disturbed to find his (now teenaged) mother strongly sexually attracted to him. The oedipal and culture-clash themes are deftly worked out with great good humour and something falling mercifully short of complete good taste. After demonstrating the power of rock'n'roll and convincing his teenage father to stand up to Biff the bully, he returns with the young Dr Brown's assistance to find a changed 1985, complete with a spruce mother and a confident father who is now a successful sf writer. The novelization is Back to the Future (1985) by George Gipe.

One of the few sf blockbusters made by a director wholly comfortable with the conventions of Genre SF, Back to the Future deserved its success and won a Hugo plus a Japanese Seiun Award. There was a four-year wait for its two sequels, Back to the Future Part II (1989) and Back to the Future Part III (1989). An obscure but enjoyable Japanese pastiche of these films is Bubble E Go! Time Machine Wa Drum-Shiki (2007). [PN]

see also: Cinema.



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