And here we are, the final film of the Back To The Future Trilogy. Let us see if it holds up, shall we?
Back To The Future, Part 3
This one is set in the Wild West of 1885. Marty travels back in time at the behest of Doc Brown, who is now ensconced in that era – AND IS DUE TO BE HANGED!!! Can Marty save him? Only time will tell.
As mentioned yesterday, this was filmed at pretty much the same time as part two (filming didn’t crossover, bar for one scene, rather took place immediately after part two had finished). And it shows, as there are many little crossover moments between the two; in addition to the running gags throughout the series (including a nifty little catchphrase flip that raises a chuckle from any fan of the series). And, once again, Doc Brown has the best character introduction in the entire film, dressed up in his best John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn gear.
Not only does the film work as part of the BttF series, but it’s also a very obvious loving tribute to the westerns that the writers no doubt grew up with. Every aspect of Hill Valley, 1885 can trace its routes back to any number of western movies or TV shows. But they are not presented with any sort of world weariness – nothing of it feels like it was put in because “it’s a western and you have to have that, so here you go, now shut up”. It’s all done with an overwhelming sense of love of the genre. In fact, in my research, I found that Robert Zemeckis even cast a bunch of his favourite western character actors to help populate the town.
I have to say, that I find this film to be the most fun of the three, what with Indian chases, shootouts, a bear AND even a flying train? How can you watch this film without a smile on your face – you can’t, that’s how. Even Michael J Fox’s tragic Oirish accent can’t do anything to dull the fun. And, while there are a few very minor moments of WSD (the smoking whiskey, moonwalking and a few other little bits), but none of it feels forced or pushed in your face like more annoying WSD.
I just have to take a small moment to talk about the music in this one. While still using Alan Silvestri’s instantly recognisable score as the base, the soundtrack has been given a more Wild West feel (more upbeat brass, Indian style drumming, fiddles, etc) which just adds to the sense of fun that this film has. And, now that I think about it, I think that is why I find part two the weakest, as outside of the first 10 or so minutes of the 2015 segment, it doesn’t have that same sense of fun that parts 1 and 3 have.
As is to be expected by now, the central players (both main and support) all play different era versions of themselves, in various degrees of difference to each variant. However, all the credit in the world has to go to Tom Wilson, who has always been over the top great as various members of the Tannen family. But, this time, as Mad Dog Tannen, he plays the entire family distilled down to their most rotten best and would not be out of place in any western film – but still manages to be just as funny as always.
By now, the chemistry between Lloyd and Fox – hell, all the major players - is as sharp and natural as it has ever been (it has been believable since the beginning of the first film, but it has jumped up several notches by now), so introducing a new character to the mix was a risk that may have backfired. Thankfully, Mary Steenbergen has the same sort of charm as Michael J Fox, so her portrayal as Clara (Doc’s new paramour) brings nothing but positives to the film, which is a damn good thing.
Out of the three films, I find that this one has the most timeless quality (pun very intended), simply because it is set in an era that is so far in the past.
Let’s talk overall, shall we? While I have made my opinions on all three individual films known, I gotta say – when taken all together as a single entity, Back To The Future remains one of the best (and most fun) movie series created in my lifetime. A very likeable cast who have fun with a just as fun premise make for a great movie watching experience, that on the whole holds up just as well now as it did in the 80’s and early 90’s.