On Watching Back to the Future

I spent the two days before Christmas watching the complete Back to the Future trilogy (and I’m a little shocked that you can buy the whole thing from Amazon for $20 right now). I haven’t seen the movies in a while and it was great to go back and enjoy them again.

The first one was by far the best, but I think the second two are decent, at least giving you a chance to revel in that fictional world a little more (which is what sequels are all about). It would have helped the sequels a lot if they were envisioned when the original was written (the whole ‘Marty goes nuts when someone calls him chicken’ plotline would have worked a lot better in the sequels if it had appeared in the original at all–instead it just showcases that the sequels were an after thought).

I loved how tight the writing and plotting were in the original. There’s hardly a moment wasted in the movie–everything has a purpose and is important. That’s pretty hard to do.

If you really want to get geeky about Back to the Future, you can check out IMDB’s trivia or an incredibly detailed timeline from the movie (both via kottke.org).

For further geekery, in Back to the Future 2 I can’t figure out one inconsistency: Older Biff is able to go back to 1955, give his younger self the sports almanac and return to an unchanged 2015. If he succeeded, wouldn’t the future of 2015 have changed? Yet when Marty and Doc are in alternate 1985 they can’t go back to 2015 to stop Biff because it’s part of the alternate timeline. I would think the same logic would make it impossible for old Biff to return to the unaltered 2015.

It’s also kind of funny how much of fuss Doc Brown puts over hearing anything about the future, yet 1955 Doc learns an incredible amount. You’d think that would have some kind of impact on the future. Especially at the end of part three when we learn that Doc has been traveling all over the place. It’s never explained how he deals with the risk of damaging the time continuum. I’m obviously over-thinking it and sucking the joy out of it, but it still makes you wonder. It’s part of why the original is better than the sequels–fewer inconsistencies (or at least they’re easier to swallow).

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