We watched Back to the Future, and then Back to the Future, Part II with our kids last night. The 2015 imagined by Robert Zemeckis was a satire (of course,) and lots of people have discussed where it hit and where it missed.
It was particularly interesting to watch my kids react to the film. Flying cars and hoverboards? Very cool! Self-drying clothing? Don’t be silly. People sitting around a microwave pizza engrossed in the programming on their wearable devices? Well, duh. Why’s that scene even THERE? We know THAT.
Remember the bit where Marty, Jr. watches six channels at once on the TV? My kids shrugged. Six is kind of silly. They max out at two or three — YouTube in one window, and a sandbox game like Minecraft or Terraria in a another, and a play-through video in a third. Why would you do six if none of them are interactive?
All that aside, they liked the film, and they’re really looking forward to the third one at some point today. Me, I remember being kind of upset at the “downer” ending of Back to the Future Part II, and my memory of it was Marty standing in the rain. No, it ended with Doc Brown saying “Great Scott!” and then fainting, and those last moments of the film were far more enjoyable than I remember them. Maybe the films of the last 15 years have reprogrammed me to enjoy middle-act endings.
I could be wrong, but I think the big thing that Back to The Future Parts II and III gave us was a rebirth of serial cinema. Without their commercial success, Hollywood wouldn’t have greenlit Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, and comic-book movies might still be what they were in the 80’s. Hollywood thought Zemeckis was crazy at the time. I’m glad he had Spielberg on his side, because I’ve loved the serial cinema of the last 15 years.