Movies: ***** out of 5
Video: **** 1/2
Audio: **** 1/2
Article first published as Blu-ray Review: Robert Zemeckis’s ‘Back to the Future: 30th Anniversary Edition’ Goes Back In Time With New Special Features on Blogcritics.
As if it wasn’t hard enough to face the facts that Back to the Future
celebrated its 25th anniversary, here we are, celebrating its 30th.
It’s a little weird knowing that we are officially living in the future.
October 21, 2015, has come and gone, and a few current events have
happened in the meantime. Nike announced that we should be getting
power-laced shoes next year; the hoverboard keeps getting closer and
closer to a reality, and Pepsi has managed to bungle not just one
release of their fictitious Pepsi Perfect, but two! Leaving a bad taste
for fans worldwide.
On the plus side, there are two new new shorts featuring Christopher
Lloyd reprising his Doc Brown role. “2015 Message from Doc Brown” (:45)
is a super quick message from Doc about making the future a good one.
“Doc Brown Saves the World!” (9:38) has Doc on another adventure through
space and time to stop Biff Tannen from creating Bifftech and
destroying the planet with malfunctions involving all our beloved BTTF items such as the Food Hydrator, Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor, and even the hoverboard.
“Outatime: Restoring the DeLorean” (22:00) shows the painstaking,
year-plus task of restoring the most iconic time machine ever invented.
“Looking Back to the Future” is comprised of nine short featurettes that
cover all the things about BTTF we may already know and love,
but it’s nice to see them get broken down and discussed. “The Script”
(3:02) has Bob Gale declaring the original film “The best screenplay I
ever wrote” and I am not arguing that. “Casting Marty McFly” (5:05) lets
fans know that Michael J. Fox was always first choice, but yet we still
never see footage of Eric Stoltz in action.
“Christopher Lloyd Reflects on Doc Brown” (5:18) is a nice retrospect
of Lloyd, well, reflecting back on playing such a treasured role. In
case you didn’t know, Jeff Goldblum was also in contention. “The
DeLorean Time Machine” (6:26) lets us in on the fact that the original
time machine was going to be a fridge, and it’s also hilarious to see
the driver using a giant fake dog head to drive the car when Doc is
sending Einstein into the past. “Building Hill Valley” (5:02) finds
Robert Zemeckis cracking wise about how he wasn’t old enough to remember
the ’50s, but did his best to make it feel authentic and that those
scenes were filmed before the ’80s sequences. “Preparing for the ‘Johnny
B. Goode’ Scene” (7:28) has fun with Huey Lewis on set and watching Fox
go over the guitar riffs — made funnier only with how fake it looks
onscreen. “The Score” (5:08) was a highlight for me. I love a good film
score and Alan Silvestri’s Back to the Future is by far one of the most iconic ever recorded.
A set of 2015 commercials are included: the first is a fake, hilarious trailer for Jaws 19
(1:28) and a “Hoverboard Commercial” (1:06). Two episodes of the
animated series flesh things out for those who don’t spring for the
complete set, but these two episodes show that the series is clearly not
a wise investment. Full of choppy animation and stale writing, the only
interesting aspect is that the episodes are introduced by Doc. But
sadly, not even the most brazen Back to the Future fan will be able to get much out of the nostalgia here.
Needless to say, anyone who doesn’t already own the trilogy — this
person can only exist in some kind of alternate reality — the packaging
is much better. Here we get a digibook case with a flip book making the
discs way easier to get out compared to the ghastly 25th anniversary
casing. I suppose the additional special features make this a no brainer
for hardcore fans, but I don’t see anything else of interest for those
who already own it considering these are the exact same audio/video
presentations. I suppose sometimes it may be better to leave well enough
alone, and in the case of such a classic trilogy, a 4K remastering was
all the more we could hope for. Maybe we’ll have better luck with the
35th anniversary edition. Until then, any set you pick up is worth it,
because when it comes to Back to the Future you can never go wrong. Unless it’s DVD, this is 2015 after all.