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Stranded in 1955, Marty McFly receives written word from his friend, Doctor Emmett Brown, as to where can be found the DeLorean time machine. However, an unfortunate discovery prompts Marty to go to his friend's aid. Using the time machine, Marty travels to the old west where his friend has run afoul of a gang of thugs and has fallen in love with a local schoolteacher. Using the technology from the time, Marty and Emmett devise one last chance to send the two of them back to the future. Written by
Even in the best franchises which proved that sequels can be just as good, if not better than the originals, the third parts are often fairly controversial. Look no further than to the third entries in "The Godfather" and "The Terminator" movies. "Back To The Future III" is no exception to that rule as it clearly is the weakest part in the trilogy, but it's still one hell of a great ride.
Writer/producer Bob Gale and writer/director Robert Zemeckis are two very clever men. They know the difficulties of sequels well. As Zemeckis explains somewhere on the "BTTF"-DVD set, the hardest part is to give the audience something new without moving too far away from the original's spirit. "Back To The Future II" achieved that goal gloriously (although Zemeckis who is very critical about his own work is always downsizing the greatness of it). Maybe the two Bobs went a bit too far away from what audiences loved about the original in part 3.
Although the movie is set mainly in the Wild West, it's still seen through the eyes of two people from the 80's. There are shootouts, horse chases and train robberies, but "Back To The Future III" is never a real Western. What makes this movie seem different from its predecessors is that fittingly it doesn't have a lot to do with teen culture anymore (save for a Michael Jackson-reference). Marty himself seems to have grown up quite a bit and you'll be surprised to see him behaving more focused on his mission than Doc in the latter half of the movie. This change of places by the characters was a deliberate decision by the writers and it does push the story and the relationship of Marty and Doc forward, but something about it just doesn't feel right.
It's intriguing to learn about the origins of Hill Valley and the ancestors of the McFly-clan. However, the earnest Seamus McFly and his family - that for some reason includes a woman looking like Marty's mother - seem strangely out of place in a BTTF-movie. They're just not quirky enough.
What makes the story seem even more estranged is the introduction of a new character, Clara Clayton, with whom Doc falls madly in love. Now, although we should all be happy for Doc having found his own private happiness, somehow we don't want him to behave like that. It's not Doc as we know and love him - and that's exactly the problem Robert Zemeckis was talking about. Marty and Doc used to be a team. Was anyone happy for John when Yoko got between him and The Beatles?
I still think "Back To The Future III" is an amazing accomplishment, a fine finale to one of the best trilogies ever made. You can't give enough praise to Zemeckis and Gale for not just making these movies for financial reasons but for actually trying to make them as good as possible. Personally, I love this movie to bits and I don't think it could have been realized any better. The only explanation I got for why this brilliant sequel got a lukewarm rating of 6.7 from IMDb users, is the dilemma Zemeckis himself was aware of, but couldn't fully avoid.
Fans who are still longing for a fourth part should keep that in mind and would be best advised to let it go. Zemeckis and Gale have said repeatedly that they don't plan on ever continuing the story. And why should they? Everything has been said, everything has been done. The movies are perfect the way they are. Let's be thankful there are still filmmakers that stick to their artistic conviction.
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