Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Thomas F. Wilson, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Mary Steenburgen, Claudia Wells, Elizabeth Shue, James Tolkan. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. (1985-1990, 342 total min). UNIVERSAL
Aside from the original Star Wars trilogy, you'd be hard-pressed to name a film franchise as universally loved as Back to the Future. Seriously...have you ever come across anyone who ever declared, "Wow, Back to the Future really sucked"? If so, you really need to find new friends.
And no one ever speaks of them as three individual films anymore. Today, whenever someone brings up Back to the Future, they're almost always referring to the entire trilogy, a single epic saga with a definite beginning, middle and end. Because of this, we tend to forget the first film was a surprise hit with no initial aspirations of going any further. We also tend to forget Back to the Future Part II was not as warmly received by critics or fans at the time, the common complaint being that it was too dark, too FX-driven and too in-love with its own labyrinthine storyline. And few seem to remember the simultaneously-filmed Part III, while still successful and well-recieved, actually underperformed at the box-office compared to the previous two.
But perhaps even more-so than the original Star Wars trilogy, each Back to the Future film is now universally loved because they click togther perfectly as three acts in a single, sweeping story. Almost nobody looks at them otherwise, which is obviously why these films are hardly ever available individually these days. Even cable channels usually show them all back-to-back...
...which also means if you've a fan (and who isn't?), you probably already own the previously-released DVD set or the 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray edition.
So now we have the inevitable 30th Anniversary set...not just the anniversary of the original film, but also the year Marty McFly travels to the future of 2015 (October 21, to be exact, the same day this was released). So yeah, it's an important date worth commemorating with this nicely packaged four-disc collection.
However, it should be noted that the films and bonus features on the first three discs are almost exactly the same as the 25th Anniversary edition. Only the fourth supplementary disc contains any additional material (outlined below). These extras vary in quality, from promotional fluff to some truly great new documentaries. If you already own the previous Blu-Ray set, you have to decide if this fourth disc of bonus features (roughly 2 hours) is worth the upgrade. But if you still haven't included Back to the Future in your collection, this set is definitely a must-own. The picture & sound quality is outstanding. As for the films themselves...the special effects still hold up, the characters are still endearing and the story, considering it's definitely rooted in the 80s, remains timeless.
As stated before, the bonus features accompanying the films on their individual discs are nearly identical to the 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray set. While they are substantial, informative and very entertaining, there's no point in rehashing them all here, especially if you already own it.
This new set features a fourth disc of all new extras to celebrate the first film's 30th:
- "2015 Message from Doc Brown": A brief hello from Christopher Lloyd in-character.
- "Doc Brown Saves the World": A ten minute promo film, again with Lloyd, in which Doc Brown features various gadgets from the trilogy that supposedly will destroy the world in 2045. Shot on a stark white set, it's kind of silly, redundant and dumb.
- "OUTATIME: Restoring the DeLorean": This is a wonderful twenty-minute film about the restoration of one of cinema's most iconic cars
- "Looking Back to the Future": A nine-part retrospective featuring new interviews with Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and a slew of others involved in making the original film. Also included is a lot of vintage behind-the-scenes footage. This is easily the best of the new bonus features.
Back to the Future: The Animated Series: One episode from each of its two seasons are included. While interesting from a historical perspective, like most Saturday morning cartoons based on hit films, the show itself was never that good (and looks downright archaic today).
- "2015 Commercials": Two brand new fake commercials for Max Spielberg's "Jaws 19" and the now-iconic Hoverboard. "Jaws 19" is absolutely hilarious and worth watching over and over, managing to provide the perfect skewering of Hollywood's current trend of rebooting, re-imagining, sequeling & prequeling.