Back To The Future 30th Anniversary (Blu-ray)

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Back To The Future 30th Anniversary review (Blu-ray)

If Back To The Future is not the greatest film trilogy ever made, it's certainly the most fun. And the first film at least is, without a doubt, the greatest time travel comedy in the history of film. Hell, it's one of the best films of all time, period. Even in an era of sweating assets, of maximising every last dollar out of a film's life, who could possibly deny the remastering, the cinematic re-release and Blu-ray release of such a classic series of films? Do you know anyone who doesn't like Back To The Future? We certainly don't. And how many other films can you say that about?

The first film, it has to be said, is easily the best of the three (although some of us have a soft spot for the second). From the opening tracking shot of the clocks and homemade inventions of Doc Brown to his own triumphant last lines ("Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads"), Back To The Future is as close to entertainment perfection as you're ever likely to see. While superficially a science fiction story, it's also a family drama, a romance, a comedy and a period piece all rolled into one.

After a time travel experiment goes wrong, Marty McFly (Fox) ends up in 1955. Being hit by a car sets off a chain of events which put his very existence in jeopardy. He seeks out a much younger version of his friend the eccentric but brilliant Doc Brown (Lloyd), whose genius got him to the '50s in the first place. But the only way he can get "back to the future" is by ensuring that his mum and dad get together, something which is unlikely to happen since she thinks he's a dreamboat...

While Back To The Future was not the first and almost certainly won't be the last time travel story, it is perhaps the simplest and most satisfying – and what cooler way to travel than in a DeLorean (and to think the machine of choice was at one point a refrigerator!)? Thanks to a sparkling script from Zemeckis and Gale, it's consistently funny throughout, helped enormously by outstanding performances from all the principal actors. Lloyd is on especially good form and displays a dazzling array of facial expressions while let's face it, no one falls over quite as well as the always amiable Fox. From the likeable characters (even the bad guys are kind of fun), great special effects (except for that bit with Marty's hand) to the philosphical musings on life itself, like all true classics Back To The Future bears repeated viewings and is still as fresh as a daisy and an absolute joy to behold from start to finish.

The repeatablility factor continues in Part II, which takes a darker turn when Marty accidentally makes a mess of his own future while in 2015 and so must return (again) to 1955 to, once again, put things to rights and preserve his own existence. (As an aside, if Jaws 19 is due out in 2015, Spielberg and his mates had better get cracking. And don't start us on the flying cars. Or hoverboards. But they were only five years out with the 80s revival.) Although this film doesn't have the feelgood factor of the original, it's generally overlooked that this is a far more clever story, not only dealing with the fact that Crispin Glover didn't want to appear and thus losing a major character, but also incorporating the already complex shenanigans of the first film into the second.

In Part III, Marty has to head back to the wild west of 1885 to rescue the Doc after a lightning strike accidentally propels the DeLorean there. This is perhaps the lightest of the three films and while slightly sentimental still has plenty of laughs and refers back to the previous films in a neatly familiar way. Some critics aren't big fans of the second and third parts (which were actually shot back to back), but we have to admit to loving them all. As we said at the start, Back to the Future is about as perfect as any film trilogy could be, and if you don't already own it, then this 30th anniversary Blu-ray release is the perfect way to rectify that.

EXTRAS: First, the bad news. The UK version of this 30th Anniversary release is missing a whole bunch of stuff that IS on the US edittion - namely, the full Back To The Future animated series. Why is the series being omitted from the British release? Who knows, but it happens so much that nobody will be surprised. Anyway, on to what IS on the Bonus Disc: the featurette Doc Brown Saves the World (9:38), a new short, starring Lloyd, in which Doc Brown must prevent a nuclear holocaust in 2045 by ensuring that hoverboards, food hydrators and self-lacing shoes are never created; the featurette Outatime: Restoring the DeLorean (22:00), a look at the restoration of the main car used for the movies; Back to the Future: The Animated Series (46:32) just two episodes from the 1991 series; Looking Back to the Future (45:28), a nine-part retrospective documentary from 2009; 2015 Commercials, which are two new "commercials" for Jaws 19 (1:28) and the Hoverboard (1:06); Tales From The Future (2:05:45), a six-part documentary that looks at all aspects of the film, from development through filming and release; The Physics of Back to the Future (8:25), a chat with physicist Michio Kaku about how the films get the science mostly right; 16 Deleted Scenes (17:57); Michael J Fox Q&A (10:20); eight Archival Featurettes (1:39:08); Outtakes (5:23); Back to the Future: The Ride (31:06); Music Videos of Huey Lewis and the News performing Power of Love (6:27) and ZZ Top performing DoubleBack (4:09); Q&A Commentaries with Zemeckis and Gale; Feature Commentaries with Gale and co-producer Neil Canton; Photo Galleries; and Theatrical Trailers and Teasers.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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