Back To The Future review - Time-traveling ‘teen’ Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is on a mission: to get home from the ’50s, make his dad (Crispin Glover) man up, avoid shagging his mum (Lea Thompson) and invent rock ’n’ roll. Again. And it’s just as entertaining as it was in ’85.
Spruced up with a pin-sharp 25th anniversary print (which doesn’t do the old-age make-up any favours), Robert Zemeckis’ popcorn classic combines watertight scripting with broad but brilliant performances, all held together by Fox’s stumbling charm.
It’s raunchier than you remember, too. Local bully Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) is, basically, a sex pest, Thompson glows with unalloyed lust, and what exactly is goggle-eyed Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) doing hanging around with kids?
The ‘parking’ scene alone contains drug references, incest jokes, casual racism and an attempted sexual assault, somehow remaining a mini-masterpiece of comic writing/ timing. Seems PG entertainment has changed since then, or maybe parents have.
Starting slowly to pack in character beats, but paying off with a still-thrilling triple climax, BTTF is warm and beautifully detailed, with witty asides that comment on the action and the world outside (“No wonder your president has to be an actor,” says Lloyd of Ronnie Reagan, “he’s gotta look good on television”) without spannering up the fun.
Despite all the denim, the film hasn’t dated that badly because it gazes lovingly backwards, Capra-fying the era before nuclear weapons, social unrest and JFK’s assassination stole what was left of America’s innocence.
Indeed, the ’50s are so charmingly rendered it’s a marvel Marty wants to go back to the future at all.
Pitch-perfect scripting, pacing and performances conclusively prove it don’t take money to make a blockbuster for the ages.