Back To The Future: 25 Years On
I didn’t discover Back To The Future until I was 15, in 2003, and I didn’t watch it properly until I was 18, in 2007, but it is now one of the very few films that I would describe as being entirely faultless. Really.
25 years is a long time, and for a film to have not aged badly in that time is impressive beyond words. The Breakfast Club is one of my favourite films of all time, but watching it back now I feel very aware that I am watching an 80s movie. And of all the decades to root yourself in, the 80s has to be one of the worst. Think of the synthy scores, the huge hair and the dated computer technology. It almost brings a shudder. BTTF does none of these things. Alan Silvestri’s score is timeless – resisting the modal electronic score, the only big hair to be seen covers half of Christopher Lloyd’s head, and the ‘futuristic’ technology is presented as well as technology ever was up until the likes of 1995’s Hackers.
Really though, the genius of the film is not in any of the details, but in the sheer timelessness of the story and the humour. I can’t imagine I’m alone in every wondering whether I’d be friends with my parents if I went to school with them, and I’m certainly not the only one who has had to suffer the negative attention of an arsehole like Biff. I haven’t gone back in time though.
I can’t work out if the sequels let the original down. They clearly aren’t up to the standard of Part One – not many films are – but neither do they destroy the legacy of it, like the Star Wars prequels do. What they are is unnecessary, although inevitable given the success of Part One. The franchise is possibly the beginning of trilogies such as Die Hard and The Matrix where the first instalment is a perfectly self-contained story needing no further explanation, but is then expanded upon. BTTF and Die Hard, I would argue, are not ruined by their inferiour sequels, whereas The Matrix certainly is. I cannot now sit and watch The Matrix without thinking “Ah, for fuck’s sake. Why did they have to go and ruin this?” This probably helps BTTF remains so awesome after 25 years.
Those are my thoughts on Back To The Future. Rambling, perhaps, but honest at least. In future, I may try to plan my posts in advance a bit more. What I’m trying to say is that I love Back To The Future and if you’re not an idiot, so do you. It is having a 25th anniversary re-release on October 1st, and I urge everybody to make the trip to see it. It isn’t often that one gets the chance to watch a classic on the big screen – at least it isn’t in the middle of Yorkshire – so I for one will be taking the opportunity.