Back to the future, again

Until recently, you weren’t able to get a single Back to the Future movie on DVD. Universal Pictures, rather than cash in with a quick release, took the time to come up with an ultimate collector’s package that would do the series justice.

The result, packaged as The Complete Trilogy, is worth the wait. If you want to own any of the three pictures, you have to fork out for the whole set, because the films are not offered individually. Yes, it’s a little expensive, but no more than it would’ve cost had Universal released a “film only” DVD a few years back, and then followed up with “Super Mondo” and “Ultimate Collecting Freak” editions to suck coin out of your pocket.

The original film, where Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travels back to the ’50s in a converted DeLorean, is a classic. The first sequel, where Marty goes to the future to help his children, was under-appreciated on its initial release, which is a surprise considering how ingenious it is.

With Part II, Director Robert Zemeckis created a film where the characters infiltrated the previous film, often requiring the actors to share the screen with themselves. As Zemeckis explains during one of the DVD’s many interview segments, there was no use of CGI in the making of the movie. Everything was done the old fashioned way.

Back to the Future Part III is a cute film, in which Marty and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) wind up in the Old West. It’s easily the weakest of the trilogy, acting as more of an homage to Western films than a time travel movie.

Features are plentiful, including a new “Making of the Trilogy” documentary that has segments on each of the three discs. There are also vintage documentaries (produced at the time of each film’s initial releases), commentaries, deleted scenes and outtakes. A notable deleted scene from the first film better explains why Crispin Glover’s George McFly overslept after Marty visits him at night portraying Darth Vader (Marty drugged him).

While the outtakes are mostly throwaways on Parts II and III, Part I has some good ones, including Glover missing chocolate milk sliding across a diner counter, the drink crashing to the floor. That’s funny enough, but Fox’s pissed off look in the background makes it priceless.

It’s strange that it took so long, but for collectors and fans of the movies, this is a must have.

Movies: Back to the Future A

Back to the Future Part II B+

Back to the Future Part III C+

Special Features: B