HTF REVIEW: "Back To The Future Trilogy" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)

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  1. Ronald Epstein

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    Back To The Future Trilogy




    Studio: Universal
    Year: 1985/1989/1990
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 116/108/118 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish



    Since the advent of DVD nearly 6 years ago,
    movie fans have put one title at the top of
    their most wanted releases -- Back To The Future.
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    So why did this film take so long to be released?
    Well, it really was never intended to take this long.
    In July of 1997 when Universal announced their
    intentions to enter the DVD market, they had
    announced Back To The Future as a 1998 release.
    By October, however, a press release firmly stated
    that "Universal dropped all previously announced
    Amblin titles from their immediate release schedule,
    including Back to the Future." By 1999,
    reports of a Christmas release had again resurfaced,
    but quickly were dismissed. One rumor had stated there
    were licensing problems that were holding up the
    DVD's release. Another rumor cited creative differences
    at Universal's DVD department. As for Universal, they
    simply commented: "...we are still making evaluations
    to make certain the DVD release delivers the same high
    standard that are the studio's trademark." It wasn't
    until November 2001 that The Digital Bits broke
    the news that retailers had been informed that a
    release date was set for 4th quarter 2002.
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    The Back To The Future Trilogy arrives in a
    flimsy cardboard outer casing with raised logo
    letters. Inside the box is a plastic triple-alpha
    case that houses the 3 DVD discs. A 12-page
    full-color collector's booklet contains extensive
    production notes on all three films and a chapter
    breakdown of each disc. I sort of wish there was
    a breakdown of the supplemental material by chapter,
    but alas, we simply get a listing of these extras.
    Let me not hold up this review for one moment further
    as there is much to cover here. Come with me as I
    take an in-depth look at what this set has to offer...
    [​IMG]

    Back To The Future




    Studio: Universal
    Year: 1985
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 116 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish



    He was never in time for his classes...
    He wasn't in time for his dinner... Then one
    day... he wasn't in his time at all.

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    Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is your typical average
    teenager, with an eccentric friend, Doc Brown
    (Christopher Lloyd), and a beautiful girlfriend,
    Jennifer Parker (Claudia Wells). His parents are
    boring and lower middle class, and Marty is
    desperate for a little adventure. Along comes Doc
    with a time traveling DeLorean. While escaping
    the terrorists that provided the car's plutonium
    fuel, Marty accidentally travels back to 1955.
    There, he stumbles upon a younger version of his
    parents, disrupts the meeting, and must get the
    two together so that they would get married and
    have him!
    How is the transfer?
    The transfer is quite good, but somehow I expected
    something a little better. The picture looks a little
    dated. Flesh tones are a little overly red in some
    areas and more accurate in others. There is a
    noticeable amount of film grain throughout --
    especially in the dark scenes. It can be a bit
    annoying at times. Colors are well represented here,
    though a little on the dull side. I think most fans
    will be satisfied the way this film looks, but
    frankly, I have seen catalog titles look much better
    than this.
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    I was very disappointed that Universal, of all studios,
    opted not to include a DTS track. The good news is,
    Universal put considerable effort into remastering
    the 5.1 surround track and it just sounds absolutely
    phenomenal. I was quite happy to hear so much effect
    noise thrown to the rears and some nice booming
    support from the LFE channel. The soundtrack doesn't
    sound compressed, almost sounding as good as what I
    would expect from a DTS track.
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    There is a terrific sense of sound direction here,
    with all the dialogue remaining squarely in the
    center channel. As the film begins, the sounds of
    clocks slowly rise through the front channels,
    spanning across the entire sound field to the back
    channels. Alan Silvestri's full, lush orchestral
    score is evenly distributed across all the channels,
    making this film an intensely pleasing musical
    experience. Some of the best effects come at Twin
    Pines Mall as the DeLorean screeches across the
    parking lot and your entire listening area, ending
    with a blast of exhaust from the rear channels.
    It's just a sampling of this film's highly aggressive
    mix that never quits.
    Special Features
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    Many of the early rumors I had read about the Main
    Menu design actually turned out to be true. Once you
    pop in the DVD, you are greeted with thunderous
    dark clouds that hover over the infamous clock
    tower as an energy-filled window opens across the
    building front that sports a menu with various
    scenes from the film playing behind it, all
    accompanied by Alan Silvestri's score.
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    Let's take a look at the extras on Disc One...
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    The Making Of Back To The Future is an
    original 1985 promotional featurette that takes us
    on the set of the film as director Bob Zemeckis
    and actor Michael J. Fox talk about the film's
    exciting storyline. Fox explains that the most
    difficult part about doing this film was having to
    share time with his Family Ties commitments.
    As we watch some footage of Fox on the Family Ties
    set, you get a clear idea of the type of grueling
    16-hour schedule that Fox had to endure. Still,
    the actor doesn't seem to be complaining. We are
    introduced to Special Effects Supervisor Kevin Pike
    who shows us the film's most impressive creation --
    the DeLorean time travel machine. There's a nice
    peek at all the effects that were added to the
    machine -- making the audience believe that it is
    capable of time travel. What would the cast and
    filmmakers do if they were placed in a time machine?
    Watch this featurette and let Lea Thompson, Huey
    Lewis and Steven Spielberg tell you their fantasies.
    There's a brief gloss-over on Production design and
    make-up as well as a scoring session with composer
    Alan Silvestri. A really cool featurette that takes
    you back in time to the original mind set of the cast
    and filmmakers just prior to the film's release.
    (length: approx. 14 minutes)
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    Making The Trilogy: Chapter One is an all-new
    featurette that begins with director Robert Zemeckis
    picking his two favorite time travel movies, and
    explains the reason why one of them became a sort of
    formula for making BTTF. Producer and writer Bob
    Gale talks about his fascination with time travel,
    dating back to his childhood. The film was actually
    based on Gale's fascination of wondering what it
    would be like to go back in time and see your parents
    growing up. Would you actually be friends with your
    parents if you did? We hear how the idea of using
    the DeLorean came to light -- mostly to play upon
    one of the film's best gags when it is mistaken as
    an alien craft inside a barn. We also learn how an
    idea to use a nuclear explosion at the end of the
    film was scrapped -- mainly due to the exorbitant
    cost of producing such a scene. I thought it was
    quite interesting to learn how during the sex-crazed
    comedy era of the 80s, BTTF was considered awfully
    tame and the studios wanted something edgier. In
    a new interview with Michael J. Fox, he talks about
    the edgy relationship portrayed between him and
    his younger Mother counterpart. Now the part that
    many of you have been waiting for....there is much
    discussion between Gale and Zemeckis about actor
    Eric Stoltz, who a Universal executive was convinced
    was perfect for the role as Marty. Zemeckis explains,
    however, that although Stoltz is a fine actor, he
    just wasn't getting the type of performance he wanted
    from him. Various B&W still shots show Stoltz in
    the Pine Woods Mall parking lot alongside Doc
    Brown. In an interview with Michael J. Fox, he
    explains how he came aboard the project with
    absolutely no preparation, only getting two hours
    sleep a night. This was, however, a film he wanted
    to do at any cost.
    (length: approx. 15 minutes)
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    There are 8 deleted scenes that are being
    shown for the first time anywhere...
    * After 1985 George hears his car has been
    totalled by Biff, a Father and daughter show up on
    his doorstep to sell Peanut Brittle to the easy-to-sell
    McFly.
    * Just appearing in 1955, Marty thinks this is
    a dream and asks an elderly lady to pinch him.
    * A younger 1955 Doc looks through his 1985
    suitcase with its cotton undergarments and a nice
    little foldout display tucked underneath.
    * As 1955 Marty and Doc visit school, Marty catches
    his young Mother cheating on an exam.
    * An extended sequence where Darth Vader awakens
    George McFly from his sleep.
    * A short snippet where 1955 Marty coaxes his
    young father into punching him.
    * After a police officer ask Doc Brown if he has
    a permit, the Doc slips him a bribe.
    * During the Enchantment Under the Seas dance, George
    gets locked in a telephone booth only to be faced
    by Principal Strickland.
    The quality of these deleted scenes are generally
    in poor shape, filled with cuts and scratches, and
    not properly time coded. Still, these are fun to
    see for the very first time. You can opt to watch
    all these sequences with optional commentary by
    Robert Zemeckis.
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    Now this is a gag reel! The outtakes
    presented here will have you on the floor laughing
    in no time. Not only do we see actor Michael J.
    Fox dealing with windows that won't open and gates
    that won't close, but his Puerto-Rican 50s sendup
    with Doc Brown is worth the price of this DVD alone.
    And wait till you see what happens when real
    alcohol is added to a prop bottle without Michael
    J. Fox knowing about it.
    (length: approx. 2.4 minutes)
    Now let's briefly talk about the commentaries that
    are included on this DVD....
    Produced specifically for this DVD, is a brand-new
    Live Q&A with director Robert Zemeckis and Bob
    Gale. It was taped at the University of
    Southern California, though I am unsure of the size
    of the audience this was recorded in front of. Both
    filmmakers participate in this Q&A session that
    lasts nearly the entire length of the film.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    An Enhanced Conversation with Michael J. Fox
    can be switched on through this supplemental area.
    During playback of the film, a clock icon will appear
    on the screen. Click on it to bring up a small
    corner window of Michael J. Fox as he talks about
    different aspects of the production.
    There's a full-length feature Commentary with
    Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton. Due to the huge
    amount of material to cover on this DVD, I opted not
    to review this commentary track.
    [​IMG]
    Did You know that? is another option that
    you can turn on here, enabling you to read the
    sort of pop-up information that has become so
    popular in recent DVDs. Text that appears in
    the subtitle area presents all sorts of interesting
    facts about the film's production.
    [​IMG]
    There are two minutes of make-up tests for actors
    Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson and Thomas F. Wilson
    (Biff). The test featuring Lloyd is quite interesting
    as it doesn't seem to fit in with the general idea
    of the film at all. It looks to be a very early
    screen test done prior to enhancing Doc Brown's
    character traits.
    [​IMG]
    Production Archives claims to contain
    hundreds of photographs, original storyboards,
    conceptual art and props used in the film. Using
    your remote, you will have the opportunity to
    browse through many behind-the-scenes photographs
    including those dedicated to the DeLorean and time
    travel designs. Unfortunately, these pictures
    cannot be viewed at your own pace as they are all
    automatically timed for advancement. Any manual
    advancement via your remote will cause you to skip
    many of the photos.
    Excerpts from the original screenplay let
    you browse through pages of script that show a
    slightly different idea of how a dog was able to
    time travel courtesy of Doc Brown.
    Rounding out the extras....
    The film's original Teaser Trailer
    Production Notes that tell the story of
    how the idea of time travel was conceptualized and
    then finalized for the film.
    Cast and Filmmaker biographies.
    DVD-ROM Total Axcess that lets you read and
    print the original screenplay, as well as a Script-
    to-Screen feature that lets you read alongside a
    corresponding scene that plays in a smaller window.
    A HOTLINK provides access to additional behind-the-
    scenes footage as well as additional interviews.
    Finally, what would be more fitting than to
    include a short promotion for Michael J. Fox's
    Parkinson's research. It features both Micheal
    and ex-boxer Muhammad Ali.
    ** Kudos to Universal! There are subtitles
    available throughout the suplemental material.
    Final Thoughts
    [​IMG]
    The original is still the best and after 17 years
    this wonderful blend of science fiction and
    nostalgic comedy has lost none of its impact as
    one of the most entertaining motion pictures in
    Hollywood history.
    [​IMG]

    Back To The Future Part 2




    Studio: Universal
    Year: 1989
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 108 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish



    Getting back was only the beginning
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    Picking up right where the original film ended,
    Back To The Future II begins with Marty
    McFly (Michael J. Fox) kissing his high-school
    sweetheart, Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue replacing
    Claudia Wells), when suddenly, the crazed inventor
    Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) arrives in his
    time-travelling DeLorean. Brown has seen the future
    and it is not pretty, and warns Marty that there
    is a problem involving his future kids! They head
    off into the year 2015 to the same town of Hill
    Valley, now filled with flying cars and hoverboards.
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    Marty makes a mistake and buys a sports almanac that
    has scores from the years 1950 to 2000. When Biff
    Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) gets a hold of it, he
    ruptures the space time continuum by making money
    predicting future game scores. This creates an
    alternate future where Biff Tannen is not only rich
    and powerful, but is Marty's Dad as well (gulp!).
    Now, the only way to save the future is to go back
    to 1955 all over again.
    Back To The Future II became a highly
    anticipated event for both Universal and Zemeckis,
    mainly for the fact that it and its next sequel,
    Back To The Future III was being filmed
    back-to-back with only a year separating their
    release. For this reason, there are many clues to
    be seen throughout this second installment that
    give you a hint of things to come. Watch closely.
    How is the transfer?
    Now this is the transfer I was hoping for!
    Back To The Future II looks noticeably better
    than the transfer of the original film. First off,
    there is none of that annoying film grain to be seen
    anywhere. Picture is very smooth, as well as being
    much sharper and detailed. Flesh tones are very
    accurate here. What really stands out here is the
    representation of colors. When you reach Hill Valley
    2015, you'll be amazed by its colors. There are
    nice deep blues and greens that ultimately get
    bested by hot pinks. The color saturation is eye
    pleasingly vivid here. Black levels are much deeper
    here as well. Even the dark scenes have nice detail
    to them.
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    Once again, Universal has pumped up the 5.1 Dolby
    Digital mix, throwing an array of effect noise
    throughout the entire sound field. These include
    flying taxi cabs that whizz from front to rear;
    a futuristic downpour that envelopes the entire
    listening area; wind howling across a 1985 graveyard;
    and booming thunder that dominates the film's finale.
    Most prominent here is Alan Silvestri's score that
    is evenly distributed amongst all the channels. The
    only slight disappointment here is that there wasn't
    a significant amount of noticeable LFE channel
    activity. Otherwise, this mix is quite satisfying
    despite the fact that it lacks a DTS track.
    Special Features
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    Once again, the Main Menu sequence begins with
    darkened clouds over the clock tower. As we pan
    down, an energy-filled window opens across the
    building front that sports a menu with various
    scenes from the second film playing behind it, all
    accompanied by Alan Silvestri's score.
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    Let's take a look at the extras on Disc Two...
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    The Making of Back To The Future Part II is
    an original 1989 featurette that reunites the original
    cast as director Robert Zemeckis gives us a taste
    of this film's storyline. Michael J. Fox talks
    about the excitement of playing himself alongside
    himself. Production designer Rick Carter talks
    about the challenges of creating a futuristic Hill
    Valley as we watch the actors endure up to 4 hours
    of makeup that will enable them to play their elder
    selves. Though this featurette is basically a
    gloss-over of the film production, it is nice to see
    what the mind set was back in 1989 just prior to
    the sequel's release.
    (length: approx. 6 minutes)
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    Making Of The Trilogy: Chapter Two brings
    us up-to-date with Zemeckis, Gale and Fox. It begins
    with a wonderful story by producer/writer Bob Gale
    about how the original film appeals to both younger
    and older audiences. He also talks about a special
    screening of the original film that was shown to an
    unsuspecting audience, and the reaction it received.
    It's funny to listen to Michael J. Fox talk about
    the success of the original film -- one he did not
    quite understand at first. The original film became
    such a world-wide phenomenon that a sequel just had
    to be planned. But would all the cast members agree
    to return? Fox, Lloyd and Wilson all immediately
    signed on. But Crispin Glover made such outrageous
    demands for his return, that the writers creatively
    wrote him out of the film via a 1985 graveyard scene.
    But what happened to actress Claudia Wells? That
    information is never given. What we do learn about,
    however, is the special ILM dolly camera that enabled
    split screen action of the actors playing their
    younger/older selves. If you ever wondered how all
    those scenes were seamlessly done, the secrets are
    revealed here.
    (length: approx. 15 minutes)
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    There are seven deleted scenes presented here
    for the first time ever...
    * Old Biff having an argument with old Terry.
    * An extended 2015 scene in the McFly household
    where old Marty is having a conversation with his
    television-watching son.
    * An extended 2015 scene in the McFly household
    where the family has more dialogue over hydrated
    pizza.
    * After young Jennifer meets her older self, she
    is dragged out of the house by Doc Brown.
    * A dying, elderly Biff fades away
    * A very short sequence of Marty visiting his
    alternate-1985 High School which is burned down.
    * A cool cameo. After being thrown out of Biff's
    Casino, Marty meets his brother at the bottom of
    the steps.
    The quality of these deleted scenes are generally
    in poor shape, filled with cuts and scratches, and
    not properly time coded. Still, these are fun to
    see for the very first time. You can opt to watch
    all these sequences with optional commentary by
    Robert Zemeckis.
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    A way-too-short outtakes reel (lasting about
    50 seconds) provides a few smiles along the way. Most
    of what we see here are dialogue flubs as well as
    Fox being hoisted on wires above a hoverboard.
    Now let's briefly talk about the commentaries that
    are included on this DVD....
    Produced specifically for this DVD, is a brand-new
    Live Q&A with director Robert Zemeckis and Bob
    Gale. This is a continuation of the Q&A session
    that existed on the first disc, including participation
    from the audience.
    There's a full-length feature Commentary with
    Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton. Due to the huge
    amount of material to cover on this DVD, I opted not
    to review this commentary track.
    [​IMG]
    Did You know that? is another option that
    you can turn on here, enabling you to read the
    sort of pop-up information that has become so
    popular in recent DVDs. Text that appears in
    the subtitle area presents all sorts of interesting
    facts about the film's production.
    [​IMG]
    Narrated by Bob Gale, Production Design takes
    a look at the challenges and cost of doing a film
    that covers many eras. Fortunately, the producers
    chose to film the town of Hill Valley on Universal's
    back lot which gave the production designers the
    ability to do so much more with the past, future and
    present changes.
    (length: approx. 2.5 minutes)
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    Storyboarding takes a look at the impact of
    having scenes mapped out prior to filming. We are
    shown several examples of storyboards against the
    final filmed product as Bob Gale talks about how
    these boards were broken down and color coded for
    easy reference.
    (length: approx. 1.3 minutes)
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    Designing the DeLorean repeats a lot of the
    information given on the first disc, by describing
    the process of selecting a DeLorean as a time machine
    as well as what enhancements needed to be added to
    this vehicle for more believability. It's kind of
    cool to hear that after the release of the original
    film, there were some encouraging remarks from John
    DeLorean himself. That letter is read out loud.
    (length: approx. 3 minutes)
    Designing Time Travel shows us many of the
    conceptual drawings that came out of the ILM camp
    concerning how DeLorean time travel could be
    portrayed. The most plausible idea was to add
    neons and sparks to the DeLorean as it geared into
    its time door. leaving a trail of fire in its path.
    (length: approx. 2 minutes)
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    You will really love this! We are treated to about
    57 seconds of the original Hoverboard test
    footage that was produced on the Universal lot. This
    footage is shown without any audio.
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    Evolution of Visual Effects Shots shows the
    progressive stages of ILM effects shots from early
    rough cuts through the various stages of completion.
    Amongst many of the examples shown here...There's
    footage of Marty first entering futuristic Hill
    Valley as we see early added effect images of flying
    cars overhead. In another shot, we watch rough
    footage of Marty being attacked by a holographic
    Jaws, with additional elements added in each sequence
    that follows.
    (length: approx. 5 minutes)
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    Production Archives claims to contain
    hundreds of photographs, original storyboards,
    conceptual art and props used in the film. Using
    your remote, you will have the opportunity to
    browse through many behind-the-scenes photographs
    including those dedicated to the many futuristic
    designs of the film as well as the vehicles of the
    future. Unfortunately, these pictures cannot be
    viewed at your own pace as they are all automatically
    timed for advancement. Any manual advancement via
    your remote will cause you to skip many of the photos.
    The original Huey & The News Music Video,
    Power Of Love is included here.
    Rounding out the extras....
    The film's original Theatrical Trailer including
    a trailer for Universal's Theme Parks.
    Production Notes tell the story of how
    painstakingly difficult it was for the designers
    to almost remake the original film again through
    this sequel. Everything shown had to be true to the
    original.
    Cast and Filmmaker biographies.
    DVD-ROM Total Axcess that lets you read and
    print the original screenplay, as well as a Script-
    to-Screen feature that lets you read alongside a
    corresponding scene that plays in a smaller window.
    A HOTLINK provides access to additional behind-the-
    scenes footage as well as additional interviews.
    ** Kudos to Universal! There are subtitles
    available throughout the suplemental material.
    Final Thoughts
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    Who would ever had thought this sequel would be
    almost as good as the original film, doing what no
    sequel ever has by replaying the events from the
    original movie from a totally different perspective.
    As the film credits began to roll, audiences were
    held captive by footage from next year's release,
    giving everyone complete assurance that the
    FUTURE was looking brighter than ever!
    [​IMG]

    Back To The Future Part 3




    Studio: Universal
    Year: 1990
    Rated: PG
    Film Length: 118 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish



    They've saved the best trip for last... But this time they may have gone too far.
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    In late 1989, Universal Studios and Amblin were
    underway shooting Back To The Future III
    on location in Los Angeles, Oxnard and Sonora, California.
    Desert scenes were shot in Monument Valley, Utah. It
    was a massive undertaking for Zemeckis and company as
    they were practically shooting two separate films at
    the same time. The third film premiered in May of the
    following year.
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    When we last left Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), he
    was stranded in 1955 on a lonely road in the middle
    of the worst storm in Hill Valley history. With a
    suddenly strange Western Union delivery, Marty opens
    a letter from Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) stating
    that he is fine and residing in 1885. Marty once
    again finds himself looking for the Doc of 1955 to
    help him.
    Taking directions from the letter, Marty and Doc
    find where the DeLorean was put by the Doc of 1885
    and uncover it in an old mine. Before they can
    tow it away, they come to find a headstone with Doc's
    name on it stating he died six days after writing
    the letter. Marty is determined not to let this happen
    so after the DeLorean is fixed, he sets out to help
    the Doc by travelling back to 1885 and getting him.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    In 1885 we meet Martys early lineage of his family
    (once again played by Lea Thompson), and Biff's most
    distant relative, Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen (Thomas
    F Wilson). We also meet pretty school teacher Clara
    Clayton (Mary Steenbergen), whom the Doc falls madly
    in love with.
    How is the transfer?
    I was very happy to see that the transfer of this
    film was on par with the second. In other words,
    it's a gorgeous transfer! From the earliest scenes
    in Doc Brown's 1955 home, we can see how well the
    color saturation is here. Take a look at how deeply
    red Doc Brown's furniture is. See the deep black in
    lining of his robe. Nothing, however, can beat the
    pleasing reddish brown colors of the Utah landscape
    that serves as the setting for the old west. These
    warm colors are brought out with soothing intensity
    and a deep blue sky backdrop that contains not a
    speck of film grain. The films is extremely sharp
    and detailed. Much of the film takes place under
    dark skies or in dimly lit cabins -- none of which
    hinder any scene detail. An outstanding transfer
    to say the least.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    Once again, we are treated to a souped-up 5.1
    Dolby Digital mix that brings life to the film's
    many effects. Dialogue is firmly in the center
    channel as the fronts boast terrific stereo
    separation. You'll love the way sound is directed
    to each speaker....for instance, a blast in an old
    mine sends rock debris flying to individual channels.
    When Marty first appears in 1885, he is greeted by
    a gang of Indians that eventually pass from the front
    to rear soundstage. What is most noticeably improved
    in this mix is the LFE channel that responds very
    well to Alan Silvestri's booming score.
    Special Features
    [​IMG]
    Once again, the Main Menu sequence begins with
    darkened clouds over the clock tower. As we pan
    down, it's a surprise to see a 1885 version of the
    infamous tower. An energy-filled window opens
    across the building front that sports a menu with
    various scenes from the third film playing behind
    it, all accompanied by Alan Silvestri's score. As
    you move through the menu, you'll get a kick out
    of the real western feel that is provided here.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Let's take a look at the extras on Disc Three...
    [​IMG]
    The Making Of Back To The Future Part III is
    an original 1990 featurette that begins with Zemeckis
    talking about making a film that's not necessarily a
    western, but the west seen through the eyes of a kid
    from the 80s. Michael J. Fox agrees that the premise
    of this film is exciting -- what guy has never dreamed
    of being a cowboy in the old west? An entirely
    new western set was built for the film in Monument
    Valley, Utah. You can really appreciate the detail
    that was put into this creation. An interview with
    Mary Steenbergen reveals how she tore a ligament in
    her foot while doing a dance scene with Christopher
    Lloyd. Nonetheless, Steenburgen absolutely loved
    shooting this film, often feeling like a female
    Indiana Jones. This third film demanded quite a bit
    of physical action from its stars, and we watch how
    some of the most dangerous stunts of the film were
    carefully planned out by Zemeckis and crew.
    (length: approx. 7 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    Making The Trilogy: Chapter Three begins
    with writer/producer Bob Gale talking about shooting
    two movies over the course of 11 months. It's amazing
    to sit and listen to Gale talk about the rigorous
    schedule of wrapping up principal photography on the
    third film while still doing post-production on the
    second. Zemeckis feels the second film suffered
    slightly only because he could not be there to edit
    it himself as he was shooting Part III at the
    time. Michael J. Fox talks about the events that
    happened outside of his 11-month shoot including his
    father passing away and his son being born. When
    the filmmakers sought a love interest for Doc Brown,
    they approached actress Mary Steenburgen who wasn't
    initially keen on doing the film. It was actually
    her kids that persuaded her to do it. Once again
    we find ourselves on the scoring stages as director
    Robert Zemeckis talks about his collaboration with
    composer Alan Silvestri. Though Zemeckis knows very
    little about music, he was easily able to give
    Silvestri some direction as to what emotions he wanted
    brought out through the music. Gale and Zemeckis
    look back upon the trilogy of films they created,
    talking about the impact the films had on audiences
    and world culture, as well as a mention in a speech
    made by President Reagan.
    (length: approx. 16 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    There is just one deleted scene presented here
    and it involves Mad Dog Biff Tannen killing Marshal
    Strickland. In an optional commentary, Bob Gale
    explains that the scene was ultimately removed because
    it was just heartbreaking, and set a bad tone for the
    rest of the movie.
    (length: approx. 1.3 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    A very short Outtakes reel lasts just over
    a minute, but begins with an uproarious moment when
    through a front door, a special "friend" is brought
    home for dinner. The rest of the reel is only
    marginally funny, but it does show how well the cast
    improvised whenever they made a goof.
    Now let's briefly talk about the commentaries that
    are included on this DVD....
    Produced specifically for this DVD, is a brand-new
    Live Q&A with director Robert Zemeckis and Bob
    Gale. This is a continuation of the Q&A session
    that existed on the previous discs, including
    participation from the audience. All of this was taped
    at the University of Southern California.
    There's a full-length feature Commentary with
    Producers Bob Gale and Neil Canton. Due to the huge
    amount of material to cover on this DVD, I opted not
    to review this commentary track.
    [​IMG]
    Did You know that? is another option that
    you can turn on here, enabling you to read the
    sort of pop-up information that has become so
    popular in recent DVDs. Text that appears in
    the subtitle area presents all sorts of interesting
    facts about the film's production.
    [​IMG]
    Designing the Town of Hill Valley is a look
    back at how the town went through its various stages
    of evolution, keeping a semblance of architectural
    integrity throughout so that audiences easily can
    follow the changes from era to era. The pivotal
    character in each of the films is of course the
    clock tower, and it has been well preserved to this
    day on the Universal back lot.
    (length: approx. 1 minute)
    [​IMG]
    Designing The Campaign is fun to watch as
    you take a look some of the earliest poster concepts
    for the film. Bob Gale explains that the idea of
    Marty McFly looking at his watch came from someone
    inside Universal. At that point, artist Drew Struzan
    was hired and did a wonderful painting that became
    the film's final poster art. As the films continued,
    new characters were added to the original poster
    design.
    (length: approx. 1 minute)
    [​IMG]
    Production Designs once again promises
    hundreds of photos to look through, but unfortunately,
    the photos are on an automatic cycle that does not
    permit you to freely browse with your remote. This
    time around, in addition to Behind The Scenes
    Photographs
    and the Marty McFly Photo Album,
    there are galleries dedicated to the original
    Production Designs as well as Poster
    Concepts
    from the entire trilogy.
    [​IMG]
    Secrets of the Back To The Future Trilogy seems
    to be an original TV special released soon after the
    third film. Hosted by Kirk Cameron, it gives us an
    insiders look at the trilogy of films. In the style
    of a Q&A session, we look at how the hover board effects
    were pulled off, the stunts performed, and how some
    irregularities in the film are explained. You'll even
    see some of the deleted scenes that have been presented
    throughout this trilogy.
    (length: approx. 20 minutes)
    [​IMG]
    For those of you who can't just take a movie at
    entertainment value, the Back To The Future FAQ
    is filled with nearly 50 pages of the most asked
    questions about the trilogy -- most notably, ones
    that concern the possible inaccuracies of how the
    film dealt with time travel.
    The ZZ Top Music Video "Doubleback" is
    included here.
    Rounding out the extras....
    The film's original Theatrical Trailer as well
    as a trailer for Universal's theme parks.
    Production Notes talk about the 11-month
    dual-picture shoot and the task of creating a 1885
    Hill Valley.
    Cast and Filmmaker biographies.
    DVD-ROM Total Axcess that lets you read and
    print the original screenplay, as well as a Script-
    to-Screen feature that lets you read alongside a
    corresponding scene that plays in a smaller window.
    A HOTLINK provides access to additional behind-the-
    scenes footage as well as additional interviews.
    ** Kudos to Universal! There are subtitles
    available throughout the supplemental material.
    Final Thoughts
    [​IMG]
    The perfect end to a fantastic adventure, and with
    it all over, it's tough leaving behind characters
    that you have grown to know and love. We all wish
    there was more to come.

    Final Thougts on the DVD Set

    First, I need to thank Universal HomeVideo. Over the
    past year they have adopted a very unfair policy of
    providing screening material to all realms of media
    except for Internet reviewers. I am very
    thankful that the studio had a change of heart and
    gave us the opportunity to review this set in a
    manner that magazines and newspapers could not match.
    It is an honor to own this entire trilogy on DVD.
    It has been a long time coming, and Universal
    has certainly made it up to fans by providing as
    much supplemental material as they could find.
    Finally, the studio certainly has made this DVD
    an affordable purchase. I saw many online retailers
    selling it at about the $40 pricemark.
    The movie that takes you to the future and
    the past is the the ideal present under
    the Christmas tree!
    Release Date: December 17, 2002
    [​IMG]
     
  2. DeepakJR

    DeepakJR Second Unit

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    Just read it. whoa! I cannot wait! I could care less about the first movie's transfer, at least its definitely better than any VHS. Damn, less than 1 month to go. Im happy Universal decided to send you a screener copy. Thanks a lot Ron, your reviews are marvelous, and you are the first to have the full review done on the the R1 set. I hope Universal keeps sending out screeners.

    l8rz,
    Deepak Jr.
     
  3. Matthew Chmiel

    Matthew Chmiel Cinematographer

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    Ron, that was a fantastic review and I can't wait for December 17th to come around. The set seems to be packed, even if there is no DTS track.
     
  4. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    If you want DTS, import from Austrailia. Then of course it's sped-up DTS

    The producers said they didn't hear a difference, and dropped it for the additional R1 extras.
     
  5. JoeyPalmiotti

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    Thanks extremely much for posting the wonderful indepth review! Always great to read your reviews [​IMG]
     
  6. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    Upon first starting to read this review, I thought to myself, "oh, man...do I really want this? Maybe I'll wait until just the first film is available individually."

    Now, though, I'm all geeked up for this set. I know you don't claim to be Shakespeare (or even Ebert), Ron, but I've grown to really appreciate your reviews. You do what you do very, very well.

    I'm there for this one.

    Jon
     
  7. Jason Quillen

    Jason Quillen Supporting Actor

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    Sweet, can't wait to get my hands on this one!

    Really good, in-depth review, Ron. Thanks for taking the 3 days to do this, we all appreiciate it. Keep up the good work,

    JQ
     
  8. Steve Christou

    Steve Christou Long Member

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    Location:
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    Wow, another great review Ron, thanks, and prob your biggest so far.[​IMG]
    I put off buying the R4 box set with DTS over a month ago because I wanted every extra they could find included, especially the commentaries.
    Can't wait to get my sweaty hands on this box set.
     
  9. Nate Anderson

    Nate Anderson Screenwriter

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    Great review Ron! I can't wait!

    And for those of you who are profusely drooling over this, remember, your desk chair can double as a floatation device.
     
  10. CaptDS9E

    CaptDS9E Cinematographer

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    What a last 2 months of of the year for dvd

    Lots of hit movies
    Lots of TV product
    A huge catalog title in BTTF trilogy

    What more can you ask for. Years ago we could even get 1 tv show released, now it seems like everything is coming out. BTFF endless postponements finally at a end and waiting 6-7 months for newer films which now has on average a 3-4 month turn around. Boy has dvd progressed.

    Capt
     
  11. Tony-B

    Tony-B Producer

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    Great review Ron!!!!! I can't read it all right now, but I will later. I did read quite a bit of it, and I think it beats your Lotr:EE review. Keep up the great work for all of the DVD and BTTF fans! You truly are the best DVD reviewer on the internet.
     
  12. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    [​IMG]
     
  13. Michael Lee

    Michael Lee Supporting Actor

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    Wow-That review was heavy! I am so there.
     
  14. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

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    Ron, nice review. This one sounds like a winner! My only real caveat is that I wish each film was in its own alpha case. Oh well, no biggie. [​IMG]
    And I think I'm in the minority by liking BTTF Part II more than the others - I like its dark tone and inventiveness. [​IMG]
     
  15. Sean Moon

    Sean Moon Cinematographer

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    DROOOOLLL
    Cannot wait
     
  16. Spiro A

    Spiro A Agent

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    Great review Ralph! I'll be waiting eager for this one to come
    out Thank you
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  17. Spiro A

    Spiro A Agent

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    Great review Ronald!(sorry) I'll be waiting eager for this one to come
    out Thank you
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  18. Chris S

    Chris S Cinematographer

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    Real Name:
    Chris S
    We all really appreciate the time you took in putting these reviews together. Thank you so much!!

    Chris S.
     
  19. Wayne Bundrick

    Wayne Bundrick Cinematographer

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    As Marty would say, this is heavy.

    Thanks for the reviews, Ron. We appreciate it.
     
  20. Daniel P

    Daniel P Stunt Coordinator

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