It's '80s Movie Month! "Back to the Future Part II" Review

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

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It's '80s Movie Month! "Back to the Future Part II" Review

Rating: PG
Length: 108 minutes
Release Date: November 22, 1989
Directed by: Robert Zemeckis
Genre: Adventure/ Comedy/ Sci-Fi

Back for another time-traveling adventure, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) teams up with Dr. Brown (Christopher Lloyd) to set things straight with Marty's future family and deal with the antics of Biff Tannen (Thomas Wilson).

The movie starts where the first film in the series left off as Marty opens his garage to find his birthday present—the Jeep he has been wanting. While he is thinking about how happy he is and trying to decide what he will do next, his girlfriend Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue) shows up in his driveway. He is captivated by her beauty because he has not seen her in a week, having just returned from his first trip into the past. While he is trying to assure her that he is OK, Dr. Brown comes crashing in in the DeLorean. He tells Marty he needs him to go back to the future with him to help get Marty's children out of trouble. He insists that Jennifer also needs to go, because they are her children too. Brown grabs some trash out of a garbage can to use as fuel, and the three of them climb into the DeLorean to speed off to 2015.

While in the DeLorean, Jennifer begins asking questions about the future. Brown hypnotizes her, and they leave her in the alley when they arrive in Hill Valley to avoid the consequences of her running into herself in the future. Because the film picks up where it left off, the director seems to bring Jennifer along for the ride simply because she is there. It's almost as though the filmmakers had no clue what to do with her, so she is left hypnotized and out of the way.

Things have changed in the future. People drive flying cars and use hover boards instead of skateboards, but on top of that, Marty's hometown has turned into something less desirable than the place where he grew up. The town is almost like a slum version of itself. Directors know that tampering with the future can be tricky, because you have to foreshadow events that might happen. The film tells the viewer that in the future, the weather will be on a schedule, cars can fly, people can rejuvenate their appearance to keep themselves looking young, and shoelaces seemingly can tie themselves.

McFly's job is to help save his son, Marty Jr. (Fox), from prison. McFly enters the '80s-style café where he knows Marty Jr. will be and discovers his son is a wimp. This is reminiscent of the first film, in which he finds his father in a similar situation. McFly switches places with his son in an attempt to save him from the current justice system.

In the future, people who commit crimes are brought before the court and sentenced within hours. Brown tells McFly that his son will be sent to prison, his daughter will try to get him out, and she will end up with a twenty-year prison sentence herself if they do not try to change the course of the future. In the meantime, Biff remembers the DeLorean. He steals an almanac with the intention of returning to the past and using the almanac to become the richest man on the planet.

"Back to the Future" was an uncertain film at its inception. Michael J. Fox was essentially a new and upcoming star without many successful films under his belt. Released in 1985, the film was a massive worldwide hit that brought back the rock-and-roll era with hits such as "Johnny B Goode."

Often seen as the least popular entry in the "Back to the Future" series, part two is almost a retelling of the first movie from a different perspective. Viewers need to see the first film in the series in order to gain a complete understanding of the plot. In fact, the film was never meant to be a standalone movie. When McFly and the doctor discover that Biff has stolen the almanac and returned to the '50s with the book, the two know they have to go back to the past, steal the book, and set things straight. This is where the movie takes all of the events of the original movie and reimagines them in a dystopian fashion. For example, in the first film, Marty is woken up by a much younger version of his mother; in part two, she wakes him up as a surgically enhanced version of herself.

The first and second films in the series were written and produced at the same time, which is why viewers see so many parallels between the two. Fox delivers an impeccable performance as Marty, his son, and Marlene McFly in an interesting film with excellent effects that is sure to delight any fan of the original movie.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5