Courtesy: MVD Visual/MVD Entertainment Group
Thirty-one years ago this year, Universal Pictures released a movie that since its release has gone on to become a cultural phenomenon. That movie goes by the titled of Back to the Future. It is a movie that has led countless masses to dress up like their favorite time traveling characters at conventions around the country. It has led to an animated series and any number of documentaries, too. The latest of those documentaries, OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine was released this past July. This coming Tuesday, Sept. 13, another documentary centered on the now “timeless” (bad pun completely intended there) will be released MVD Visual that branches out on the movie’s significance even more in the form of the simply titled Back in Time. The ninety-five minute documentary, while another independent release, is another piece that cinephiles and Back to the Future fans alike will appreciate. That is due in part to the documentary’s story. That will be discussed shortly. The manner in which the story is told is just as important to note in the program’s presentation. Last of note in the doc’s presentation is its pacing. Each element is important in its own right to the documentary’s presentation. Altogether they make Back in Time another Back to the Future feature that, again, cinephiles and Back to the Future fans alike will want to see “time” and again.
MVD Visual’s new Back to the Future retrospective Back in Time is hardly the first documentary centered on Universal Pictures’ “timeless” movie. Regardless it still proves over the course of its ninety-five minute run time that it is another presentation that both cinephiles and Back to the Future fans alike will appreciate. That is due in no small part to the program’s story. The story presents the role that Back to The Future has had, and continues to have, now thirty-plus years after it made its big screen debut. It tells that story through interviews with the movie’s cast and crew—including Lea Thompson, Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Donald Fullilove, Claudia Wells, Steven Spielberg, and even Robert Zemeckis—and interviews with a small handful of the movie’s fans among others. Viewers learn through the interviews some very interesting facts and stories connected to the movie. One of the most interesting revelations made in the interviews comes from Bob Gale. Gale, who was one of the creative forces behind Back to the Future reveals that the movie was shopped around to every one of Hollywood’s major studios but none would take it. He said it was even shopped to Disney because that had been recommended by those other studios. Gale reveals in his interview that when the movie was presented to them, executives with the studio refused to touch it because they thought the topic of Marty’s mom falling for him in the past hinted at incest. This is funny to note because Gale said no other studios had even begun to take that angle in reviewing the movie’s script.
Another interesting revelation comes from an interview with Michael J. Fox. Fox recollects in said interview that none other than Princess Diana actually sat next to him at the movie’s premiere. He reveals in his interview that he didn’t know she would be sitting next to him and because of certain protocol about being around her, he couldn’t even use the bathroom, so when he started feeling nature call, he couldn’t even respond to its call. Throughout that anecdote, audiences can’t help but laugh along with Fox as he recalls that silly story. In the same moment, Fox also recalls Princess Diana’s reaction to one scene in particular in comparison to her reaction to other moments. That is worth its own share of laughs, too. It is just one more of the interesting tidbits that make the documentary’s story so interesting.
There is also an outright statement from Robert Zemeckis himself at one point that he has zero intention of making a fourth Back to The Future movie. Considering the way that most of Hollywood’s “Big Six” studios are taking right now, one can only hope that he will hold true to that even today and that no one else will ever try to make another movie. Keeping in mind all of the revelations noted here and all of the other interesting and intriguing information shared throughout the program, it becomes clear why the story at the center of Back in Time is so important to its presentation. Even with its clear importance to the doc’s presentation the story is just one of the program’s key elements. The manner in which the story is told is just as important to note as the story itself.
The story at the center of Back in Time is clearly an important element in the program’s presentation if not the program’s most important element. That means that even potentially being the program’s most important element, it is not the program’s only important element. As important as the story is, the manner in which the story is told is just as important to note as the story itself. The story is told through two clearly separated segments, which span the course of the doc’s ninety-five minutes. The first segment focuses on the movie and its significance through the eyes of the cast and crew. It should be noted specifically here the focus is strictly on Back to The Future, not the two sequels that followed or even the short-lived animated series that it spun off in the early 90s on CBS. Though there is an indirect connection to the work done by the restoration team in OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine in this segment. Two members of the build team are interviewed about the work put in to restore the trilogy’s “A” car with footage from that do directly incorporated into this segment. The program’s second segment examines the significance of Back to The Future through the eyes of some of the movie’s devotees. The fans in question are not just your average fans either. One of the fans in question owns the actual VW bus that was used in Back to The Future as well as the truck that Marty won in the movie, as well as other memorabilia. Another fan has one of the DeLorean replicas incorporated into his own nine-hole mini-golf course at his home. He uses the car, and the golf course, to raise money for good causes every year. In another case, viewers are introduced to a young pair of fans who ended up getting married at a Back to The Future convention. It just so happened that Christopher Lloyd was in attendance as the young man popped the question to his bride to be. He wasn’t the only one who was there, either. Harry Waters, Jr., who played Chuck Berry’s cousin Berry (from the movie’s high school dance segment), was also there and sang to the couple after the young lady said yes. It is a moment that will put a smile on any viewer’s face. Through it all, the documentary does a laudable job of balancing each segment with the other. The end result is a story that, thanks to that solid division, will keep viewers completely engaged and entertained. Of course the segments’ division and the story together are not the only factors that will keep audiences engaged in this presentation. The program’s pacing is important in its own right, too.
The story at the center of Back in Time and the general manner in which the story is told are both key to the doc’s presentation. That is because both elements work together expertly to keep viewers completely engaged and entertained from the story’s beginning to its end. While both elements are clearly important both in themselves and jointly, they are not the program’s only important elements. The program’s pacing is just as important to note as the story and how it is told. The program’s pacing is so important because without proper pacing there would be no reason to sit through either of the program’s two segments. Thankfully the program’s pacing is relatively solid from beginning to end. The topics that are discussed within each segment are many. But they do not move so fast that audiences will feel left behind nor do those behind the lens allow the program to lag at any point within any discussion either. That being the case, the documentary’s pacing joins with its story and its segmentation to make the program in whole one that will keep audiences completely engaged and entertained. In turn audiences will come out of the program agreeing that while it is not the only Back to the Future to ever be released, it is one that cinephiles and Back to The Future fans alike will enjoy watching “time” and again.
Back in Time is not the only Back to the Future documentary to ever be released. But in considering all that went into assembling the program it is safe to say that it is another enjoyable piece centered on the landmark movie. Its story explains not just the significance of the DeLorean (as in OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine) but the cultural significance of the movie in whole. That is examined through interviews with both fans and with the movie’s cast and crew. The division of the story into two distinct segments adds to the enjoyment of the program’s presentation. The pacing of each segment rounds out the doc’s most important elements. It should be clear in reading this analysis why each element is so important to the program’s presentation. All things considered, it is clear that the documentary is, in whole, another retrospective centered on Universal’s iconic movie that cinephiles and Back to The Future fans alike will appreciate. Back in Time will be available in stores and online this coming Tuesday, Sept. 12. It can be ordered online direct via MVD Entertainment Group’s online store at http://mvdb2b.com/s/BackInTime/MVD8722D. More information on Back in Time and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group/MVD Visual is available online now at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspickks.wordpress.com.