Sunday, February 6, 2011
BACK TO THE FUTURE: Revisiting the classic on the big screen
I recently had the pleasure of seeing Back To The Future again on the big screen at a digital film festival. I hadn't seen the film in cinemas since I was a little girl. I've seen it countless times on vhs, television and dvd over the years (It is my favourite movie of all time), so it's not like I wasn't familiar with the story. But over the years, things got lost on the small screen, details I'd forgotten, overlooked, or never really saw in the first place. The digital copy was glorious to watch. Every scene was crisp. Every facial expression clear.
I was finally able to really take in everything. I noticed props that I hadn't noticed before, and the sets within the world were front and center. A perfect town.
The opening sequence is one of the best ever. We get the set up of Doc Brown's place. We see clocks, and Doc's inventions, the television pops on, foreshadowing plot information (involving plutonium) and then Marty McFly shows up, and even then we don't see his full face right away. The opening sequence is funny, and yet mysterious, and makes the audience want to know who lives here. What is this guy all about? Doc Brown is the catalyst for this epic, scifi, comic, adventure. He is the glue that holds it all together. Christopher Lloyd gives one of the best comic performances in history.
I saw the film when I was quite young, and I was a passionate fan of Michael J. Fox's. He was going to be my husband, and I didn't care that I had already (probably at that time) surpassed him in height. I ended up growing to 5 Feet 10 inches. He was the love of my life, at that time, and well into my teen years. So like any rabid fan, I went to see BTTF for him, and him alone. But what I didn't realize was that when I first watched the film that I would be so profoundly moved by it. It made me believe that anything was possible. It made me think that there's more out there than what was in my little girl world. It made me believe in time travel to a certain extent. It made me fall in love with cinema, and looking back it was the catalyst that lead me to writing.
The screenplay, written by Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, is one of the best ever written. It is air tight. Not one word of dialogue is wasted. Dialogue is all about set up, and character reveal. It's pretty much a perfect screenplay, and one of the most original stories of our modern era. If you write scripts, then reading this is a must, and studying the final product is a given.
Watching it again in the cinema, after nearly 25 years, was such a treat. I laughed throughout. I thought back to the young person I once was, and all that I had believed in. How innocent I had been as a movie goer (I'm much more jaded now) and I fondly remembered that girl, and the excitement she felt whenever she got to go to the movies, and watch something truly original.
If you get a chance to see BTTF on the big screen, please do yourself the favour, and get your butt to the theatre. Buy yourself a pocorn, and a soda pop, forget about calories, and allow yourself to be transported to a place full of possibilities.