Back to the Future Trilogy (Universal): The time-travel comedy trilogy gets released on Blu-ray for the first time and Universal have put together a package which does full justice to these inventive and much loved films.
Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the first film was the tale of high school student Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) who accidentally travels back 30 years in time after an eccentric scientist (Christopher Lloyd) builds a time machine which strands him in 1955.
There he inadvertently interferes with the romance of his then teenage parents: nerdy father (Crispin Glover) and mother (Lea Thompson), whilst also having to deal with Biff (Thomas F. Wilson), Marty’s dad’s bullying supervisor.
The story, written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale, then becomes a race to reunite his parents-to-be and find a way of getting back to 1985.
An instant critical and commercial hit on its release in the summer of 1985, it launched Fox as a movie star and established Zemeckis as an A-list director.
The inventive premise, smart humour and excellent performances still shine and it has aged remarkably well, appealing to a new generation of audiences.
In retrospect, some of the comedy is surprisingly daring: it is difficult to imagine a studio comedy today featuring gags about terrorists (“the Libyans!”), potential incest (“are you telling me that my mom …has the hots for me?!”) and Ronald Regan (“who is the Vice-president in 1985? Jerry Lewis?).
Despite those more daring undercurrents, it is one of those rare mainstream films that genuinely appeals to audiences of all ages, combining innocence, invention and a great central premise which makes older and younger audiences think whilst they laugh.
The sequels, shot back-to-back, were not as good as the original but certainly had their moments.
The second film, which picked up precisely where they left off, saw Marty and Doc Brown travel to 2015 to fine-tune the future, only to cause havoc with the space time continuum, which they have to repair by going back to 1955 again.
One can only imagine the hoops Zemeckis and Gale had to jump through in writing the follow up – they hadn’t initially planned one – and their screenplay ingeniously interacts with the events of the first film.
Another impressive aspect, sometimes overlooked, is the visual effects, which are used to create multiple characters from the same actor, as well as painting a detailed picture of the future.
Made in 1989 on the cusp of the CGI revolution ushered in by The Abyss, Terminator and Jurassic Park, the visual effects still hold up well.
The third film, released in 1990 saw Marty (Michael J. Fox) travel back to 1885 in order to rescue Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) before he becomes smitten with a schoolteacher (Mary Steenburgen).
Cleverly referencing the first two films, it doesn’t quite match up to them but is still an amiable and entertaining end to the series.
A lot of viewers will be pleasantly surprised how good a job Universal has done with the audio and visual transfer (screenshots can be seen here) and it certainly gives them an added kick if you haven’t seen them in a while.
But for most people the reason for getting this box set will be the huge array of extras detailing the production.
The supplements duplicate all the extras from the previous DVD releases, including commentaries, but also feature a lot of brand new material, principally Tales from the Future, a 6 part, 2 hour documentary in HD.
The whole package is spread over 3 Blu-ray discs and there are brand new interviews with Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, director Robert Zemeckis, producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton, plus executive producer Steven Spielberg.
There is also a digital copy of each film for playback on a portable device.
(*Denotes new footage debuting on the 25th Anniversary Trilogy Blu-ray)
- Tales from the Future: New six-part retrospective documentary featuring interviews with Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Director Robert Zemeckis, Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton, plus Executive Producer Steven Spielberg.*
- In the Beginning . . .: Delve into the genesis of the project, casting, re-casting, the DeLorean, sets and overall pre-production.
- Time to Go: Production stories through the release of the first film.
- Keeping Time: The score and the songs of the Back to the Future Trilogy.
- Time Flies: Learn more about how the sequel came about, the futuristic look, the special and visual effects, recreating 1955 and more.
- Third Time’s the Charm: Learn about building a western town, Doc Brown’s love story, the casting of Mary Steenburgen, the train sequence and completing the Trilogy.
- The Test of Time: Back to the Future becomes a phenomenon! President Reagan quotes the film, the Back to the Future ride opens at Universal Studios theme park and fans rebuild the iconic DeLorean. The film’s cast and crew take a look back and discuss why these beloved movies live on.
- The Physics of Back To The Future: A discussion with celebrity best-selling author and physicist Dr. Michio Kaku about the overall appreciation of the science in the Back to the Future Trilogy*
- Nuclear Test Site Ending Storyboard Sequence: Storyboard sequence of the original proposed ending of the film.*
- 16 Deleted Scenes
- Michael J. Fox Q&A
- Q&A Commentaries with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale
- Feature Commentaries with Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton
- Making the Trilogy: Chapters One, Two & Three: Original 2002 DVD documentary that takes a look back in time.The Making Of Back to the Future Part I, II & III: Provides a vintage and historic look at the making of all three films.
- The Secrets of the Back to the Future Trilogy: a televised special hosted by Kirk Cameron addressing fans unanswered Back to the Future questions.
- Back to the Future Night: Hosted by Leslie Nielsen, this original 30-minute special aired on NBC prior to the first television screening of the Back to the Future.
- Behind-the-Scenes Outtakes
- Original Makeup Tests
- Production Design
- Designing the DeLorean
- Designing Time Travel
- Hoverboard Test
- Designing Hill Valley
- Designing the Campaign
- Back to the Future: The Ride
- Music Videos: Huey Lewis and the News “Power of Love” / ZZ Top “DoubleBack”
- Photo Galleries, Including Production Art, Additional Storyboards, Photographs, Marketing Materials and Character Portraits
- Theatrical Trailers
* There is also a Special Collector’s Edition featuring a Delorean blueprint, Outtatime number plate, Sports Almanac, Save The Clocktower poster, and a Lenticular photo of Marty’s family 8
INTERACTIVE BLU-RAY BONUS FEATURES *
- U-CONTROL: Universal’s exclusive feature allows viewers to learn more about their favorite film without ever leaving the movie.
- Setups & Payoffs: As you watch each of the three films, each “set up” showcases items in the scene that prepare you for a future plot point. When you get to that moment in the film, the “payoff” is shown.
- Storyboard Comparison: Compare key scenes in the movie with the original storyboards.
- Trivia Track: Get inside trivia and facts while you watch the movies.
- BD-LIVE: Access the BD-LiveTM Centre through your Internet-connected player to get even more content, watch the latest trailers and more!
- My Scenes: Bookmark your favourite scenes from the movies.
- pocket BLU™: Universal’s groundbreaking pocket BLU app uses iPhone®, iPod® touch, iPad®, Blackberry®, Android™, Windows and Macintosh computers and more to work seamlessly with a network-connected Blu-rayTM player and offers advanced features such as: o Advanced Remote Control: A sleek, elegant new way to operate your Blu-ray™ player. Users can navigate through menus, playback and BD-Live™ functions with ease.
- Video Timeline: Users can easily bring up the video timeline, allowing them to instantly access any point in their favorite episode.
- Mobile-To-Go: Users can unlock a selection of bonus content with their Blu-ray™ discs to save to their device or to stream from anywhere there’s a Wi-Fi network, enabling them to enjoy exclusive content on the go, anytime, anywhere.
- Browse Titles: Users will have access to a complete list of pocket BLU™-enabled titles available and coming to Blu-ray™. They can view free previews and see what additional content is available to unlock on their device.
- Keyboard: Enter data into a Blu-ray™ player with your device’s easy and intuitive keyboard.
The Back to the Future Trilogy is out on Monday 25th October from Universal Home Entertainment