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Sunday, January 6, 2008

Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future was another movie from the Steven Spielberg stable, this time not directed by him. The movie was directed by Robert Zemeckis, with Steve Spielberg being the producer. The movie had some struggle in getting made, because of 2 conflicting opinions. One studio felt that showing a possible relationship between a mother and son (even though the clash due to time travel could bring out such a situation) was undesirable, on the other hand, due to movies like Porky, other studios felt that this movie was not risque enough. Even the selection of Michael J Fox was not automatic, with some initial shooting happening with Eric Stolz, but after some time, with Michael J fox being able to devote time to the movie, he was made the main lead replacing Stolz.

Back to the Future (1985)
The Back to the Future version 1 was so popular and money-making that sequels had to be made, and hence within a few years, versions 2 and 3 came out (not doing as well as the first Back to the Future, but still making around a $100 million apiece). However, they could not match the money-power of the first version, with the movie making over $200 million dollars on release (and becoming the most money-making movie of 1985) on a budget of $ 19 million.
Back to the Future was very popular, and there are multiple reasons for why the movie became so popular. The movie takes the popular stereotype of the eccentric professor, and delivers a crazy scientist who exactly fills the description; there is the use of the popular paradox of time travel where you can go to the past and kill yourself (what would happen then?) - in this case, if you prevent your parents from meeting, how can you exist; the characters (besides the mad scientist) are people you can relate to such as the young man wanting to have a good life, struggling to make it big and settle down with his girlfriend; with the concept of people bullying you and the fight to show the bully his place; and then the feeling of getting stuck in a different place and wanting to get home to the comfort of your family. Together, they are spun into a great tale, one that was greatly appreciated.
The movie starred primarily Michael J Fox as Marty McFly (a 17 year old living in California), Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown (the eccentric scientist), Lea Thompson (Lorraine McFly) and Crispin Glover as George McFly. Marty is a 17 year old aspiring musician wanting to make it big from his middle-class life, and eventually settle down with his girlfriend Jennifer (Claudia Wells). He is also friendly with Doc, who asks him to come over in the night. The same evening, he sees his father getting bullied by his supervisor, and his mother also tells him the tale of how she and his father met (her father hit George with his car).
When Marty meets the Doc, he sees what the Doc was working on. A car, the De Lorean DMC-12, which has been converted into a time machine. The car, when it reached eighty-eight miles per hour, goes to a programmed day and time, using plutonium. As an example, the Doc sets the time to November 5, 1955 (based on the date when he first conceived of the engine, the flux capacitor). This was not to be the final destination, but just then, 2 Libyan terrorists from whom the Doc had stolen the plutonium arrive and start shooting, killing the Doc. Marty escapes by using the vehicle, and promptly moves into the past when the vehicle reaches eighty-eight miles per hour.
Marty is now in 1955, with the surroundings reflecting the then culture. He soon finds his dad George, and saves him from being hit by Lorraine's father's car; this breaks the time loop since Lorraine is now infatuated with Marty rather than George. Marty realizes that he needs help, and the Doc (from thirty years earlier) is the only hope. He manages to convince the Doc that he is from the future, and soon they realize that the only hope to get back is to get immense power, from the soon-to-happen lightning strike on the clock tower.
Marty has to get this parents to meet and fall in love, and he arranges a situation where George appears to save Lorraine from a bully. The situation happens in reality, and George does defend her for real, knocking down a bully. They do start to fall in love, thus ensuring that Marty will exist. And now Marty can head back, trying to reach at a time 10 minutes before the Doc gets killed (so that he can save the Doc). Marty also tries to warn the 1955 Doc with a letter, but the Doc does not want to read it so that he can avoid knowing the future.
Marty does manage to head back, but the car stalls on landing, and he is unable to be there in time to prevent the shooting. However, the Doc had read the letter, and is wearing a bullet-proof vest that saves him from the shooting, and he is now alive. There have been other changes, with his parents becoming closer, and his father more confident. Marty and Jennifer re-unite, and soon see a Doc from the future, 2015 appear. They climb onto his time machine and head off into the sky.

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