A look at the very real impact the Back to the Future movies have had on our culture. What was once a little idea that spawned a tightly-focused documentary has grown into something truly amazing over two years of filming. Back in Time is a cinematic monument to the vastness of the trilogy's fandom. In addition to the footage and interviews revolving around the time machine itself, the crew found that simply by delving into the impact of the trilogy an epic journey began to unfold before them. The crew captured countless hours of footage during filming. From Steven Spielberg to Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, to the Sheas and Hollers, and from James Tolkan and Lea Thompson to Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox, Back in Time features interview after interview that simply must be seen.
It's just such an endlessly entertaining myth, and it has a little bit of modernized ecstatic to it. But it really is just satisfying on a level of Jack and the Beanstalk or Ulysses like fighting a Cyclops or something it's just sort of a bunch of neat shit to happen to a kid.
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As Long As You Realize It Isn't Supposed To Be "Comprehensive", You'll Enjoy It
When this documentary came out (right around 10/21/2015, the date corresponding to when Marty explores his future in BTTF2), it was kind of touted as THE documentary to watch for BTTF fans. If you go into the experience with those kind of expectations, you will probably be disappointed, as that never seems to be the goal here. Instead, to really get the most out of the experience, you have to just sit back and relax, enjoying the fun little moments along the way.
What could have (and almost should have, to be honest) destroyed this documentary is the fact that it severely lacks any sense of focus. It meanders here and there, trying to cram in as many BTTF angles as possible. It wants to seriously evaluate the legacy of the film, and does a number of interviews with key cast/crew/writers...but then it also follows around a Delorean rider for awhile...and looks at some BTTF fan events...and takes time to ponder the overall significance of the film's legacies. There are a lot of irons in the fire, to put it mildly, and usually that is a recipe for documentary disaster.
Where "Back In Time" is able to pull through, however, is that many of those "odd little moments" are truly special and touching. For example...
-An interview with Donald Fullilove, who played Goldie Wilson in the first movie. Just seeing him again will bring a smile to your face! The same for James Tolkan (Mr. Strickland). -A scene in which a man proposes to his girlfriend at a BTTF showing...then is serenaded with "Earth Angel" by none other than Harry Waters Jr. himself. -A couple who restored an old Delorean and are now using it to raise money for the Parkinson's Foundation (the disease that currently afflicts Michael J. Fox).
Moments like that are why "Back In Time" is worth watching. It was never supposed to be a "comprehensive review" of the films, even if it seemed to be advertised as such. Instead, it's more of a peek into a few of the ways that the film trilogy has touched and inspired the lives of others.
Much like Star Wars (though not at quite that level, obviously), Back To The Future has becoming a cultural institution all its own. The films are watched, re-watched, and then passed on to the next generation to do the same. Even though we are now further into the future than Marty McFly himself actually traveled, it hasn't dulled their value whatsoever. "Back In Time" acknowledges of all that...and then takes "the back roads" in a search for unique and interesting ways in which the films have taken on a life of their own.
As such, once you realize what this documentary is/isn't supposed to be, you'll probably be able to enjoy it.
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