Movie Club Relaunch: Back To The Future

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Mar 4, 2017.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this. It’s going to be an enjoyable ride!

    To ease everyone back into this gently, we'll start with another proper bona fide 80s classic, specifically "Back To The Future". (Parts 2 and 3 will be the subject of the following two weeks' discussions.)

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one).

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these episodes, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I have a dislike for time travel stories as with most films, TV shows and comics they suffer from lazy, inconsistent writing with numerous plot holes.

    However I can think of a few exceptions of some excellent time travel adventures and thankfully the BTTF trilogy falls into that category.

    BTTF has a really fun plot and the great performances from the cast, Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd especially. I really should get these movies on DVD for my movie collection.

    I recall the first time I ever seen this movie. It was advertised between programmes on BBC for their Saturday night TV line up to the Elton John song ''Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting''. After seeing the advert I had to watch it.
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  3. Booshman

    Booshman Thunderian Legend

    This is my favourite trilogy ever. For me it beats out Star Wars/ LotR/ Indiana Jones. I've seen the movies more time than I could say, but they're all to the point of being memorised. I know them back to front, as well as a ridiculous amount of production/ behind the scenes minutia that most people would have no need to care about. BTTF1 is my favourite of the 3 and tied favourite movie ever, with Superman the Movie. As a film is is almost perfect. I can nitpick a few bits, but it really would be nitpicking. The screenplay is a masterclass in set up and payoff, and I've heard it's taught to film students on how to do a great screenplay. The special effects are top notch (other than Marty's see through hand), the performances fantastic, and the score is brilliant. Everything about this movie is a 10/10 for me. I love it, and could watch it anytime. If I catch it on TV randomly it will probably be on until it finishes.

    I know that without this movie I would be a different person to the one I am today, it's had a very substantial effect on my a lot f aspects of my character, the friends I have, and was a gateway to other movies and hobbies. They don't make them like this any more, fingers crossed there is never a part IV.
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  4. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Everything about this movie just screams "the 80s"! Such an iconic and integral part of film history. No wonder it is referenced in one way or an other in so many movies.

    Watched it a lot when I was young and still find it very enjoyable. The balance between seriousness and comedy is nothing short of brilliant. There is no forced humor and the way the story juggles with and eventually ties everything together is very neat! I don't think they could have gotten a better cast. I always enjoy reading all the various trivia and "did you know" facts about this movie, including how the time machine was originally supposed to be a fridge!

    I have a feeling that we might eventually get a reboot starring someone like Justin Bieber! :00
    Mark M likes this.
  5. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I really like how you class Star Wars as a trilogy and I agree 100%. :D :thumbsup
    I love the Teen Wolf movie and found it funny some of the houses and filming locations from BBTF were also used in it.
    I found it really amusing when I found out that in Brazil Teen Wolf was titled "Garoto do Futuro" ("Boy from the Future") even though the plot has nothing to do with time travel.

    The way film reboots/remakes/sequels/prequels are I think it would be more than likely be Selena Gomez they would be cast as Marty. ;)
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
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  6. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Let's hope that Spielberg or Zemeckis don't frequent these boards otherwise we've just given them some very bad ideas! LOL! :laugh
    Mark M likes this.
  7. Booshman

    Booshman Thunderian Legend

    I also have a big soft spot for Teen Wolf. MJF doesn't seem to look back on it too fondly in interviews and is quite dismissive of it in interviews. It's the crap project he did before he got a proper gig with BTTF. It's a shame since it's a fun movie and has a lot going for it. I always found the quote on the back of the VHS puzzling though. It said "MJF is much better here than he is in BTTF".

    No need to worry about a reboot for now. Bob Zemeckis and Bob Gale, have said no more movies will be made in their lifetimes. Lets hope they both reach a good old age.
    Mark M likes this.
  8. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    As long as I get paid for my ideas for terrible movies I don't care. ;)
    I actually prefer Teen Wolf to BTTF. :) I suppose when I was growing I found changing into a werewolf and playing basketball more fun.

    I should have mentioned I live in Northern Ireland where the BTTF car the Delorean DMC-12 was built. A family friend has one. On rare occasions some can still be seen driving around.
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  9. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I'm about to put my DVD on and have another watch of this.

    Absolutely agreed that a remake would be a bad idea. The only way I might be persuaded to peek an eye out from behind the sofa would be if Kelsey Grammer was cast as Doc Brown. He can scream like Christopher Lloyd on occasions . . . but I hasten to add I'm not encouraging a remake. I can't imagine the young so-called talent of today could produce anyone capable of handling the Marty role.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  10. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    And I have just finished watching the film.

    Absolutely a classic. Do not remake!

    This is one of the most perfect films ever made. Not a frame is wasted. Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale were clearly taking several leaves out of Alfred Hitchcock's book when they made this. The way the whole film just plays through so effortlessly from start to finish owes a lot to Hitchcock classics like Strangers On A Train or North By Northwest - we did the latter in Movie Club late last year, anyone wanting to join in the discussion for that one is heartily encouraged to watch it. But I digress. Back to Back To The Future (!)

    The opening scene is so low-key, there is lots going on but nothing really happening. It lasts for about 3min, the credits run over it without any music. You'd never get a scene like that these days. You could almost be forgiven for thinking that it's not essential to the plot, but you'd be wrong, as it establishes the friendship between Marty and Doc and tells us that something is brewing.

    I said before how effortless it looks, but at the same time, you can see that an incredible amount of effort went into this. Especially the script, every detail was meticulously worked out. There are so many facts to establish about 1955 while we're still in 1985 before the time-travel happens. The state of the McFly family and their relationship with Biff, the lightning bolt, the farmland, how Doc came up with the Flux Capacitor idea. It's all there. And one by one, each of these little fireworks is set off and explodes in a dazzling brightness when the details are got out again when we go back to 1955.

    That's another thing. The time machine is presented first of all as a very deliberate project, and it would have been so easy to make the featured time travel action deliberate, but no - in true Hitchcock style (again!), the action happens to the ordinary guy who doesn't know what he's getting himself into. When he hits 88mph, he's fleeing for his life, he has already forgotten the fact that the vehicle he's in can travel through time. It's understandable enough, if someone starts shooting at you, you jump in a car and drive away for dear life. You're too busy trying to save your neck from the people with guns to remember that you're in a time machine.

    And back on the "getting out the details you planted earlier" bit - the lightning bolt is my favourite of these by a long way. "The only way to generate 1.21GW is with a bolt of lightning, and you never know when or where they're going to strike!" - "We do now!"

    Then we get onto the 50s doings - especially with his parents' younger selves. Marty is freaked out by that, and rightly so - especially the way his mother has the hots for him. I remember watching the bonus features many years ago, and they were stuck with the script at the moment of the kiss, they didn't have a clue how to resolve it, and having Lorraine feel "like she was kissing a brother" was like a great weight being lifted from their shoulders.

    I don't know if I'm sticking my neck out here, but watching it this time round, I got the impression that Marty did slightly fancy her as well, not in an Oedipal way, if anything it was the fact of her being his mother that meant he was never in a million years going to let her have her way with him. And yes I know, he had a girlfriend back in 1985 and didn't want to cheat on her. (But is it cheating if it happened before they were born? Suddenly I'm thinking of Nicholas Lyndhurst in Goodnight Sweetheart!) But that's a detail for conspiracy theorists!

    The rock & roll bit too was great, especially when Marvin calls his cousin, Chuck Berry, who of course wrote Johnny B Goode in the first place. It's so much fun, I was clapping along with the drums.

    And then the finale with the car going back to 1985, again, pure Hitchcock in its suspense. I've seen this film so many times, but I always gasp at this bit, are they going to make it? The credit for this lies with composer Alan Silvestri as much as director Zemeckis.

    Which brings me to the music. The music - for the whole film - is pitch perfect. There's actually a lot of 1950s flourishes to the incidental music here. Not just the songs that are played in the background, but the actual incidental music. Some of these bits of music would not seem out of place in a Hitchcock film. Mr Silvestri, I take my hat off to you.

    And then we get home to 1985, and suddenly everything is looking a lot better for the McFly family. They're a lot more successful in all areas. And, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think I noticed for the first time tonight - is George wearing the same suit at the end that Biff was at the beginning?

    All in all, yes, 10/10. I would say "five stars", but with what I'm reviewing, I don't need stars!
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  11. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I just caught BTTF again playing on a channel and noticed one thing that got me thinking. So just thought I'd share it here and would love to hear your views. :)

    According to the time travel theories used in BTTF, technically, if something is changed in the past, then the effect should take place immediately in the future. Like if a building is destroyed in the past then it would just vanish in the future, right? Well two things in the movie feel a bit odd.

    1. When Marty's mum falls for Marty, then it's strange that his brothers and later he himself, slowly start to vanish. Like first his brother's head disappears from the photo and so on and so forth. Shouldn't they all just disappear instantly completely? I know of course if that happened then the movie wouldn't be possible and they probably put in the slowly vanishing thing to create more tension. Like the building example that I gave. If it is destroyed in the past then it will simply disappear in the future and no one will have any memory or knowledge of it. It won't slowly fade away in front of shocked onlookers. :00

    2. Even when Marty and Doc change something in the past (or the future), their photographic evidence shouldn't change. That's because the photo was taken at that time and has recorded the event. Even if the event is changed, the photo simply cannot change. Again, I'm sure the filmmakers did this so that Marty and Doc (and us the audience) can actually see and confirm that the past (or future) has indeed been fixed. Otherwise there would be no way of knowing it until they make a trip to said time.

    I know I'm just nit-picking things and looking at it more from a realistic scientific point of view. But I find it enjoyable to delve more deeper into movies that I love and have seen a million times. :) This is one of the reasons why I feel that a movie like this would never work if made today. The audience are too critical and the filmmakers would have to make sure that they consult physicists to get scientific accuracy, which at times can destroy the "entertainment" element.
    Mark M likes this.
  12. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    It's things like this why I truly hate time travel stories. The adventures the characters have in the past future may be fun and interesting enough. It's when you start to thinking of all the ramifications on the past and future that really mess everything up.
    BTTF, Star Trek, Bill and Ted, all time travel movies have the same major flaw in their story.
  13. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    Spot on! A lot of time travel movies are fun to watch. But if you later start analyzing them more deeply, you end up with a lot of unanswered questions. Even in BTTF, every time that Marty and/or Doc go back in time, they are creating a lot of changes in the future. Even something small that they do, like talking to someone, could potentially change the future drastically. So even in Part 2, when Doc tells Marty that they are living in an alternate 1985 because of the Almanac that old BIff gave to young Biff and they need to restore the timeline back to the original 1985. The "original 1985" that they eventually restore the timeline to isn't really original at all. It's also an alternate 1985 but one which is more favorable to Marty and Doc. The moment they went back in time, they already created an alternate 1985. Now how different this 1985 is from the original one depends on how much they modify the past.

    WARNING: Spoiler Alert! (If you haven't seen "The Terminator" or "Terminator 2", don't read further).

    However, I can easily overlook such small discrepancies in BTTF, but I can never ignore the massive flaws in "The Terminator" and "T2". Kyle Reese simply CANNOT be John's father and the CPU chip and the arm from the first Terminator CANNOT be the reason why Dyson eventually creates Skynet.
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  14. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Completely agree. Terminator 1 and 2 are great movies but the time travel aspect of both really cause problems. Terminator 1 would have worked so much better if Kyle was not John's father and Sarah was already having a baby. They could have said he was in the military or navy or working over seas to explain his absence.
    Dyson creating Skynet because of the arm and CPU was so stupid. They would have to have had something in place already. Something from the future can not go back and create something in the past. I get the whole reverse engineering technology thing and that would work if the Terminator had been alien, but not from the future.
    Then when you factor in alternate realities then when it all just becomes utter nonsense. Lazy writing!
    It reminds me of an episode of Transformers in which Optimus Prime had the Arialbots created yet they go back to Cybertron's past and end up helping in the creation Optimus Prime.
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
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  15. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I'm glad you agree with me. I had once discussed this same point on the old IMDb message boards and many of the Terminator and Cameroon fans really got upset and came up with very weird and incomprehensible theories to defend the movie's plot. I simply don't agree. Doesn't mean I hate the movies. I love them! I'm a big fan of both the movies. But what's wrong is wrong. And I recall in one interview Cameron said that he always intended for Kyle to be John's father and it wasn't a writing mistake. I disagree. Like you said, you can't have something from the future coming back in time to create itself.
    Mark M likes this.
  16. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    The ''explanations'' really don't hold up though when you think about it.
    I suppose when the Terminator went back in time he altered the events which would lead to Sarah meeting John's original father. So Kyle being his father would mean he would then still be born to fight Skynet....
    But that is a pretty ludicrous explanation.
    And I suppose Dyson discovering the CPU and arm could be explained as just speeding up the timeline so they didn't exactly invent it themselves but just reverse engineered their own future maybe the time it would take them to reverse engineer would be the same time as it would take to invent it...but that is a bit of a stretch.
    But again these two explanations would drastically alter the time line....or alternate realities/timeline?????
    When you really think about the plot of Terminator it is rather stupid. They send a Terminator back in time to kill the mother of the leader of the freedom fighters. Why not just go back to when he was a child or go back to a point when you know where and when the freedom fighters would be and have a trap ready for them to get rid of them.
    This is why I hate the time travel genre. It doesn't really make sense and when you try to make sense of it, it just complicates everything proving why the concept of time travel is so stupid and couldn't work. It only works for a fantastical tale and a bit of a filler story.
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  17. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist Staff

    I too always felt that the whole idea of "The Terminator" was a bit far fetched. I mean Skynet went through A LOT of trouble, creating cyborgs that look exactly like humans and then creating a time-travel device to send one through to kill the resistance leader. That's like constructing a super-computer to solve 2 + 2. :confused: If Skynet's main objective was simply to eliminate all human life, then there were far more simpler ways to do it. Why not simply flood the world with toxic gas or deadly radiation? Then it wouldn't matter where the humans were hiding, they would die.

    The ridiculousness of Skynet's over-elaborate plan is made even more evident in "Terminator Salvation" where there are numerous kinds of robots roaming the streets. Plane robots, drone robots, motorcycle robots, giant robots etc. It almost felt like a Transformers movie! :roflmao

    Also there's the whole question of the timeline. Like in BTTF, we saw that any changes that Marty or Doc made in the past took immediate effect in the future. So after Skynet sent the first terminator back to 1984 to kill Sarah, it then waited for a decade before sending the T-1000 back to 1995 to kill the teenage John, and then waited another decade to send the TX back in time to 2003 to kill an adult John. And during all this time, the resistance were right there to send their own human/cyborg back to stop Skynet's killer. :00

    That's one of the things about time-travel movies. Making sequels to them usually raises a lot of questions and plotholes.
    Mark M likes this.
  18. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I do agree about the issue of changes in the past showing up instantly in the future. That much is obvious. How that affects the person from the future still in the past, we can shrug and say "he's in the past so out of the way of the time ripples" - after all, we can't have him disappearing into thin air. And indeed that's something these movies were a little inconsistent on. When Old Biff disappears into thin air after successfully changing the timeline in part 2, why? He was still around in the new timeline. Or was his more successful incarnation killed between 1985 and 2015? I can understand the danger of Marty fading out in part 1 because of the potential future in which he'd never been born.

    That's why Star Trek is the best bet if you want a good time travel story. If you ask the fans what their favourite episodes are, they'll mention plenty of time travel episodes. Sure, no two episodes cover the "rules" of time travel in quite the same way, especially in terms of who knows that history has been changed, and it's a tricky subject to get one's head around. They even acknowledge this in one episode of DS9 where O'Brien travels a few hours into the future and has a conversation with his future self, where they both say at the same time "I hate temporal mechanics".

    Check out "The City On The Edge Of Forever" from the originals, "Yesterday's Enterprise" from TNG, "Children Of Time" from DS9 and "Non Sequitur" from Voyager. DS9 also did "Trials And Tribble-ations" in which they revisit the events from an original series episode. We're going to have to do the TNG movie First Contact in movie club at some point. Not just yet though.
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  19. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I would hope those episodes are done a lot better the movie The Voyage Home. That movie plot was really stupid as was their means of time travel.
    Maybe the hatred of time travel is an Irish thing. ;)
    Maybe Skynet didn't wait that long and it was only months to a couple years and the years they sent the Terminators back just varied.
    Then of course The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Terminator Genesis create more plot holes.
  20. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Star Trek has employed many different means of time travel. The combination of warp speed and the extreme gravitational pull of a star or dying planet is one of the most famous, and indeed it turned up in a joke that got made last night when we were talking about the difficulty of firing something straight into the sun. But there are other, more mysterious, methods. The Bajoran Orb of Time was used in a couple of later DS9 episodes, the original episode I alluded to employs the mysterious Guardian Of Forever, some just have temporal rifts open up in space, and I can't remember what else.

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