Back and Forth Thrice: Back to the Future Trilogy Review

It has been a fortnight since I last wrote. And it has been the first time in my life that I missed writing.  Since I started this blog, it has been my catharsis from the stresses of quarantined life and pandemic woes.  I am glad I am back after my longest absence (Yet!).  What could be a better way than to share my thoughts about being Back to the Future, right?  I, so, intended the pun right there.

(Credits to Netflix for all images in this post.)

Classic 80’s movie!  The three installments of the trilogy were released in 1985, 1989 and 1990, respectively.  I realized, I actually forgot most of the plot, except for their general gist.  The son’s obsession, of late, about time-travelling prompted us to run a weekend marathon. And it surely paid off for all of us.  I, especially, relished watching the son marvel at the thought of time travel.  He couldn’t help but display a mixture of amazement and confusion through the trilogy and long after we watched it. It extended through dinner, and it even lulled him to his bed time.

Doc (Christopher Lloyd) and Marty (Michael J. Fox), the lead characters, traveled through time in the years 1955, 2015 and 1885 from the current year they are in, which is 1985.  Robert Zemeckis probably did a great job at painting a picture of 1885 and 1955, but not really of 2015.  Well, we still got land traffic in 2020. Though we had a hover board a few years back, it did not levitate like it did in the movie. Also, a pizza hydrator is still no where in sight. What I will be picking from my brain, though, are the things I liked about the movie.

Back to the Future explains Time travel in its simplest form

This generation’s time-travel model, probably is the Avengers’ End Game.  However, my then, 7-year-old wasn’t able to fully grasp how it worked. He needed more coaxing to get the idea.  Marvel probably thought that movie goers would have a little knowledge on the concept, whereas, Back to the Future might have anticipated otherwise. In 1985, they were the ones introducing the idea to the masses.  So Doc even employed the old-school visual aid on a chalk board. He drew a simple diagram of the time-space continuum, explaining how slight differences creates skews, tangents and alternate timelines altogether.

It was clear as day. I saw the son’s eyes spark. He seemed to fully comprehend how time travel was supposed to happen (if it does really happen).  To be honest, it was also a good brush up for grownups like me. Time and again, I experience amnesia on how it all works.  I might have actually seen my own eye spark when I turned to the little one during the explanation scene.

Back to the Future exudes back-to-back Creativity and Wit

Admit it!  Today’s movies are smart and make us think while we get entertained.  It’s good! Back to the Future, as with all other “classics,” may be super simple as they come . But, think about it, its simplicity is screaming with creativity and wit!  The recycled dialogues from the same characters (Biff and George) from different timelines is gold!  I think they still use this idea today.  It’s nice to think we saw it first in the 80s.

The characters went back to 1955 in Back to the Future I.  They traveled forward to 2015 in Back to the Future II but they needed to go back to 1955, as well, in the same movie.  I am not certain if they had to shoot scenes all over again for Part II but the use of the same scenes in 1955 was a great move!  I’m thinking, in terms of the script, costumes, props and setup, they probably saved a lot!  It also ties the movie tighter together and also reinforces the concept of time travelling and timelines.

The movies also took more effort to explain scenes, which they might have thought, might be in question.  Doc’s letter to Marty, which the Western Union kept for 70 years is one example.  But at the end of the day, it’s one of the movie’s intriguing and hard-to-forget tidbits.

Back to the Future puts emphasis on the importance of Life

It may have been very subtle, but Back to the Future Trilogy definitely emphasized the value of life.  The vanishing images of Marty and his siblings on a photograph in Part 1, the news about the killing of George McFly, as well as the disappearing inscription on Doc Emmett Brown’s tombstone in Part 3 were among the key scenes in all movies.  It was a sign that guided the characters whether they were doing the right thing or not.

And when Marty told Seamus to take care of his baby, who is going to be the former’s great grandfather, it was heartwarming, to say the least.

Back to the Future proves that Love conquers all

A cliché, I guess, but it’s true. The lead character, Marty gambled with his life trying to fix his family’s problems.  He made their life better when he encouraged his young father-to-be to speak up.  He made sure that his father and mother got together for the sake of his and his siblings’ existence. 

Not only did he do this for his family, but also for his friend, Doc.  Against Doc’s wishes for him to go back to 1885, he still did so to save his friend.  In the first place, Doc sacrificed his life in 1985 when he chose to stay in 1885, instead of asking to be rescued (by using the time machine that he, himself, invented). Read about my post on Friendship here.

Of course, this 80s flick also displayed romantic love by Marty and Jennifer, Marty’s parents, Linda and George and Doc and Clara.  All these through different time periods.

Back to the Future is an Inspiration to the past, present and future generation

Michael J. Fox, playing the lead character, Marty, is an inspiration himself.  Though he was diagnosed in 1991, after the trilogy was screened, his fight against Parkinson’s gives motivation and strength to Parkinson’s patients and their families.  I have recently seen him guest in modern-day series such as Designated Survivor.

The trust given by a seasoned inventor to his teenager friend sounds impossible but in my opinion, is essentially inevitable, given that the youth is the future.  Again, it sounds cliché and cheesy but it is the truth.  It is only when we hold our children to be responsible and accountable, that they can prove themselves worthy.

Marty’s weakness was being called chicken and his aggression that follows.  The last installment gave him a chance to better himself by accepting who he is and not getting affected by it, nor affecting others because of it.

Speak up and stand up for yourself…

The happy ending in Marty’s life is brought about the real talk he gave his young father in 1955.  Speak up and stand up for yourself, or else forever be bullied by those who believe they can.  Claim what is rightfully yours now and create ripples, positive ones, for your future generations.

Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. It is whatever you make it, so make it a good one.

– Dr. Emmet Brown, Back to the Future III

The pandemic had us take a few steps back.  But Back to the Future sends all of us, whatever generation we come from, hope that the future is still ahead of us.  We just have to be creative, full of life, love, and inspiration.  There is no need to travel back or forward in time.  We just have to be in the moment and do our share to make our world, in its present state, a good one to live in.

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