20101114

Your Friend In Time...

It's hard to believe that it's been a quarter-century since Marty McFly hit 88 miles per hour and flux-capacitored his way into movie history with Back To The Future. I can remember when I was a teenager -- much more of a geek than I am now, come to think of it -- and my family and I took a seven-week vacation to Europe. What was one of the few things I can remember taking along with me to keep me company? It was a Walkman cassette player and (along with other tapes, at least I hope) two cassettes onto which I had recorded the audio portion of the entire Back To The Future movie. I must have listened to those a half-dozen times over the course of that vacation, I was so bored otherwise.

Needless to say, I couldn't go without picking up the brand new 25th-Anniversary edition of the Back To The Future trilogy on DVD. I can't wait to see all the deleted scenes and new bonus features they've packed into this set, not the least of which is, finally, long-rumored actual footage of Eric Stoltz in the role of Marty. And of course there's the neatest extra of all -- here's my geekiness shining through again -- digital copies of all three movies, which I can load onto my iPod if I want to! It's full circle in a way ... I have to wonder what my younger self, armed with mere cassettes of only the movie's sound, would think if he could have in the palm of his hand full-color video and stereo sound of not just the first movie, but of many others, not to mention hundreds of albums of music!?!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. This was a groundbreaking movie series in a number of ways, one of which being that it was the first one for which more than one sequel was filmed back-to-back (The Matrix is the most noteworthy other example), and it was also one of the first -- and certainly the first with such broad appeal -- to successfully integrate science-fiction with comedy to such an extent that the movie can fit neatly into either genre; Ghostbusters, Innerspace, and Men In Black picked up on the idea and ran with it. Part II definitely laid on the sci-fi a bit more strongly, what with its frequent and potentially confusing references to paradoxes and hopscotching between time periods, and Part III was an almost completely different movie altogether, with a decidedly Western feel and an almost fully self-contained story (not to mention a supporting role by the always enjoyable Mary Steenburgen).

But then, I'm probably not telling you anything you don't already know about the best time-travel movie ever made. Suffice to say I love each and every chapter of the adventures of Marty and Doc, I'll probably sit down and watch the first of the three tonight ... and I'm very soon going to secure my digital copies, too!

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