There was never meant to be a sequel though the open ending of Back To The Future would probably convince you otherwise. But when a movie is this successful and has an open ending old Hollywood rules say that a sequel must be made and that is why I’m now reviewing Back To The Future Part II. A movie that was never meant to be, but the again how many sequel were never meant to be. The whole Planet Of The Apes franchise consists of movies that were never meant to be, and they still keep on being made. Luckily the remake/reboot trend has not yet reached the Back To The Future Trilogy so I’m going back to good old 2015.
Because that is were Marty and Doc are going after a repeat of the ending of the original movie as Marty and Jennifer’s kids are apparently in danger according to Doc Emmett Brown. Also 1985 Marty looks exactly like his 2015 son but where Marty is rather fly (pun intended) his son is rather more like his grandpa George. It’s Marty’s task to pose as his son and say no to Griff Tannen, Biff’s grandson, who wants him to join on a robbery. Marty’s antics in the future set of a whole chain reaction as Biff steals the time machine and travels back to 1955 to do some changing of the timeline resulting in an alternate 1985 when Marty, Doc and Jennifer return there. This makes Back To The Future II the installment with the most time travel activity since everybody’s flying from decade to decade more or less.
This is kind of the strongest as well as the weakest point of Back To The Future II. Instead of focussing on a certain era the movie goes from 1985 to 2015, back to 1985 and from there to 1955, the last section carefully and very clever combining the storyline of the first movie. This is also what makes this, for some people at least, the most difficult movie to follow though Doc Brown does explain it very clearly in crayon. Though the set up feels a little forced here and there it’s clear that this movie should actually be seen together with Part III in one viewing. Small details from this movie return in the third as well as some big plot points.
There is something funny about this movie; When I was just a kid I thought this was the coolest movie of the three because they went to the future, they had the flying cars, the power laces, the self drying and auto-fitting jacket and Jaws 19. But now I find the whole future segment to be not so interesting anymore. Sure there are a couple of good gags here and there but the settings in the past appeal more to me now. It’s not only probably nostalgia speaking, but also the fact that the past setting feel more authentic. The future is more of a gimmick setting where the past settings are more realistic.
Like the original Back To The Future it’s clear that director Robert Zemeckis is a master of special effects and pulls off special effects that still look realistic this very day. A lot of that is due to the fact most of the special effects are practical and only a few come from a computer, something that wasn’t the tool of choice for making special effects in movies in those days. Flying cars, hovering boards, self-tying shoes. It all still looks great. The only letdown was the fact that the director thought it would be fun to have Michael J. Fox play his son and daughter as well. A little far fetched and a stupid reason to show off in my opinion. Sadly Eddie Murphy did it again in the Nutty Professor movies years later. If you steal from the best, at least steal the best elements.
Back To The Future II isn’t as good as the first movie but still a very good movie. The way the third act is combined with the events of the first movie is brilliantly done and the future elements on display here, like the hoverboards, are gimmicky but classics nonetheless. This movie continues the saga in such a high quality that it’s not surprising that the Back To The Future Trilogy is heralded as one of the best movie trilogies ever made.