Reviews of Back to the Future (1985) and related work

Back to the Future (1985Moving picture, 116 minutes)

Blockbusting at its finest. Christopher Lloyd came here from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984). The “flux capacitor” is Buckaroo’s “oscillation overthruster”, the DeLorean is his rocket-powered Ford F-350 pickup truck, and Doc Brown’s ability to travel through time replaces Buckaroo’s phase shifting. These are all good things. Another possible source is Poe’s “The Spectacles” (1844), which also features high technology, confusion and the Oedipal threat of a young man falling for his matriarch.

References here: Looper (2012), Rick and Morty (2013), Story of Science Fiction (2018), The Boy and the Heron (2023).

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Back to the Future Part II (1989Moving picture, 108 minutes)

Still-stronger cyberpunk influences. Much is contrived.

References here: Story of Science Fiction (2018).

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Back to the Future Part III (1990Moving picture, 118 minutes)

The solipsism goes overboard and stops being funny, while nothing is added. Given the time period, 1885, the Western genre and the lightning motif in the earlier films, I wonder whether “The Los Amigos Fiasco” (1892) might be a proximate source of Brown’s “Great Scott!” catchphrase.

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