If ever you happen to run into a rueful thirtysomething named Grady Cooper from Iowa, don’t tease him. Don’t snigger. Don’t point. Sure, he was once possessed of the rank idiocy to write to the makers of Back To The Future asking where, precisely, he might purchase a hoverboard. But let’s not be hypocritical – to see Part II was, for an entire generation, to tear through the next Argos catalogue in a frenzy of shaky-handed optimism. Perhaps the most shamelessly indulgent adventure series ever, this gloriously unscientific odd-couple romp has lost none of its sense of riotous, wide-eyed wonder in the intervening decades.
Poor, confused Grady is one of several (probably entirely fictional) Midwestern bottom-feeders whose asinine queries give rise to a brilliantly naff Secrets Of... featurette, tackling those nagging questions you always feared were too stupid to blurt out in the pub. Alongside a neat demo-reel on how specific effects shots were realised, it anchors a somewhat random blizzard of extras (surely the segment on creating the DeLorean deserved more than four poxy minutes?) and renders this a worthy, if not particularly reverent, treatment. Elsewhere, things get increasingly hit-and-miss: Michael J Fox engages us in an affable conversation about being quite tired on set; Huey Lewis humps the mic stand like he’s just been granted conjugal rights and writer/producer Bob Gale pops up everywhere, sounding like Bert from Sesame Street on industrial-grade Ritalin. A number of deleted scenes appear to have been retrieved from a wet sack behind his garage, so damaged are the washed-out frames.
The trilogy itself, of course, remains as fresh as a recently laundered daisy and the fact that there’s still genuine potential for a ‘best instalment’ debate speaks volumes about the universality Robert Zemeckis and co tapped into. This package may not feel devastatingly definitive, but if, by the time Part III dumps merkin-haired Christopher Lloyd in the Wild West badlands, you haven’t rediscovered your inner Grady Cooper, it’s probably safe to say you’ve lost him forever.