Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Back To The Future Day or The Many Faces of Biff Tannen

Today is the very day that Marty McFly arrived in the future at the beginning of Back To The Future II. Time to hop in my Delorean and head back to 1985....

The year was 1985 and I was just 10 years old when I found myself queuing up with my dad to see a time travelling film directed by Mr Zemekis. Even before the now very familiar opening scene was viewed there was something about the iconic poster that made my heart race. There was no way I could know that what I was about to view would totally captivate me and spawn two further sequels. Its amazing as the original film is about to celebrate its 30th Birthday, and yet another re release and repackage, that the film has not lost any of its captivating power. Indeed, thirty years on and its still wowing audiences, some of whom werent even born when it first hit our screens. No matter how many times you see it you still find yourself gripped as the Delorean ignites a firey trail back to Hill Valley of yester year. Back To The Future has elements which do not date as well yet all three still have a timeless quality about them. Not so much 'outtatime' as keeping pace with it. As we celebrate the very date shown on the time readouts the rest of my focus will be on the second film and I still want a Hover Board.

"Cafe Eighties, Guy named Griff, Just Say No!!" Four Years after Marty was told "somethings gotta be done about your kids" and we saw the Delorean rocket off to Hill Valley of the future (or present now) and Back To The Future II hits our screens. So many articles around at the moment with even the cast discussing what they got wrong. So not doing that! Whilst hordes of fans bemoan the lack of Hover Boards and Power Laces (me included) its with a huge sigh of relief that we didn't get to Jaws 19 and yes Marty, the shark does still look fake! Back To The Future II was shot back to back with the concluding part to the trilogy and featured returns from all of the previous cast members except two. Agreement couldn't be reached with Crispin Glover to reprise his role as George McFly and, as a result, key scenes were re filmed with Jeffrey Weismann wearing heavy prosthetic. Claudia Wells was to return in the role of Jennifer but had to decline due to her mothers ill health, Elizabeth Shue replaced her and again key scenes had to be re shot (notably the final sequences prior to departing for the future) Alan Silvestri (or Eighties Film Composing God as I refer to him) continued in musical scoring duties and ably demonstrates why he deserves the title. Zemekis has stated it was never his intention to paint a realistic portrayal of the future but he did get more than a handful of elements right. Flat Screen, wall mounted TVs and the ability to watch more than one channel at once must be top of the list, though sadly we are yet to see lawyers abolished.

Time Travelling themes have often been portrayed in films previously to Back To The Future, but I don't think I have ever seen the results of changing the past so brilliantly described. Doc Brown's nightmarish vision of the possible future they face sets the scene for a daring time dash back to Hill Valley and provides an opportunity to revisit  what has gone before.  It also provides Biff Tannen with yet another reason to hate manure, love Biff and his many incarnations. Biff/Griff/ Mad Dog must be one of the most lovable villains in cinematic history! 

Central to the Back To The Future films is Marty's relationship with Doc Brown and if you didn't love Christopher Lloyd before then you surely have to now. His portrayal of the brilliance and genius of "Doc" whilst also demonstrating his er, individuality just simply will never be bettered. Surely one of the reasons the films have never suffered a remake is down to the impossible role of recasting Doctor Emmett Brown. So many stand out moments but I would have to go with the "face lift" sequence right at the start of Back To The Future II, comedy genius.  Michael J Fox is just wonderful as Marty and his fall from grace to greed that directly causes the time skew is wonderfully portrayed. Lets be honest there aren't many people that would make a wind cheater look so good! 

However you choose to celebrate Back To The Future Day it has to be agreed that the trilogy represents some of the finest and most imaginative film making. 30 years on and I still shout "its the Libiyans"at Volkswagen mini vans and I still totally agree with Doc Brown. "The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine you might as well do it with some style" Happy Back To The Future Day everyone!

Follow David Martin on Twitter at @ventspleen2014

Images courtesy of Wikipedia and IMDB

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