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Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth's gravitational pull?

Back to the Future 
(1985)

So much of this works perfectly that the more minor infractions stand out more distractingly. It's certainly the case that appreciating the film’s quality doesn't mean that it rubs off on you, as Russell T Davies cites this as his favourite film and he's the very definition of the failings of a one-draft writer with little idea of how to structure or layer a script. 

Zemeckis and Gale, by their accounts, suffered to bang this into shape. Cast by the wayside were such elements as a time-travelling fridge and a climax involving an atom bomb test in the Nevada desert. But forced to reinvent this as the scene at the clock tower, the result is a masterpiece of editing. The required elements are arranged and combined in the most suspenseful way possible.

For all the plot threads that continue to amaze (the incest one, managing to be inoffensive in a family movie, being foremost), the wrap-up does leave a slightly bitter taste. Crispin Glover's suave version of adult George makes it almost worthwhile, even if it's on the back of proving he's a man through an act of violence. And then there's the shameless "Greed is good" affluence that now surrounds Marty (his massive car) while "new" Biff becomes a fawning dolt (which makes it even less easy to buy into it). You have to wonder too if the Marty who grew up in this universe would have really been the type to hang out with Doc Brown (although, one of the elements you're less likely to get in a film these days is a healthy friendship between a teenager and an eccentric man in his 60s).

Michael J Fox deserves much credit for his effortless comic timing, and Crispin Glover's benign wackiness here is something to marvel at (particularly since this is him at his most restrained). Christopher Lloyd's overplays in all the right ways, but it's Lea Thompson's nuanced performance(s) as Lorraine that impresses the most. The (real) 50 year-old Thompson still looks quite foxy too (less so Claudia Wells).

*****

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