Movies At Random – Back To The Future, Part II

“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”

Picking up where the original left off, Marty and Doc Brown travel to the future then back to the past to fix a screw-up Marty caused when he tries to bring a sports almanac from 2015 back to 1985. Instead, it ends up with Biff in 1955 and the whole present changes.

Back to the Future, Part II (1989)
Directed by Robert Zemekis
Written by Robert Zemekis & Bob Gale

It’s a little weird watching a movie from 1989, that takes place in 1985 where the characters travel to the “far-flung future” of 2015, especially now that we’re three years beyond. It’s pretty easy to get caught up in a mindset of “aww, man, why don’t we have that” on a lot of things. No hoverboards, no self-drying clothes, stuff like that. But, honestly, there wasn’t a whole lot about the 2015 of BACK TO THE FUTURE, PART II that I was really all that upset to be missing out on.

Jaws 19? Pass. The Cubs winning the World Series? Come on. It’s just so far-fetched!

As far as the technology goes, I think we’re probably better off where we are. But that’s usually the case, isn’t it? It’s tough to conceive of the technological advances we’re going to actually stumble upon, and the ones we dream up are usually pretty well off base. I’ll take my iPad over a Mr. Fusion any day.

But back to the movie, I guess… Marty and Doc Brown’s second time travel adventure is pretty much a disaster. Doc brings Marty to 2015 to stop Marty’s future son from getting arrested for… really, it’s for being an idiot. While Marty successfully messes up changes the future to save his idiot kid, he proves that the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree by letting future Biff get his hands on a sports almanac that has results from 1950-2000, gets in the time-traveling Delorean and goes back to 1955 to give it to his (much) younger self.

We also get some pretty shitty treatment towards Marty’s girlfriend (and future wife) Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue). After she tags along to 2015, Doc knocks her out when she starts asking questions about her future and then dumps her in an alley.

Marty’s screw-up causes everything to change – Biff becomes a Donald Trump-like multi-millionaire, marries Marty’s mom and the whole town in 1985 is a wasteland centered around Biff’s casino. So Marty and Doc have to go back to 1955 and fix everything without messing up the events of the first movie.

The whole thing makes my head hurt. Making it worse, the plot is just an excuse for Zemekis to get cute with MIchael J. Fox, Lea Thompson and Thomas Wilson to either play multiple characters and multiple versions of the same people. Fox, especially, plays Marty, future Marty, his son Marty Jr. AND his daughter Marlene.

While the original BACK TO THE FUTURE was a funny film with a pretty original premise, the sequel is pretty disappointing. The whole film is either sight gags or lines that seem like throwaways that end up teasing the third film in the franchise, which was announced at the end of this flick after they were filmed back-to-back. All the care and consideration was put into part III, not part II. It’s not the worst second film in a franchise, but it’s far from the best.