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


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#1 of 166 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul



  • 41,524 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted November 24 2002 - 10:35 AM

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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...

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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.

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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 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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!


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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Let's take a look at the extras on Disc Three...

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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)

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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)

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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)

Posted Image

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.

Posted Image

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.

Posted Image

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)

Posted Image

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)

Posted Image

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.

Posted Image

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)

Posted Image

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

Posted Image

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

Posted Image

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#2 of 166 OFFLINE   DeepakJR

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Posted November 24 2002 - 10:54 AM

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.
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#3 of 166 OFFLINE   Matthew Chmiel

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Posted November 24 2002 - 10:58 AM

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 of 166 OFFLINE   Jeff Kleist

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Posted November 24 2002 - 11:14 AM

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 of 166 OFFLINE   JoeyPalmiotti

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Posted November 24 2002 - 11:28 AM

Thanks extremely much for posting the wonderful indepth review! Always great to read your reviews Posted Image

#6 of 166 OFFLINE   Jon_Are

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Posted November 24 2002 - 11:30 AM

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 of 166 OFFLINE   Jason Quillen

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Posted November 24 2002 - 11:32 AM

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 of 166 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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Posted November 24 2002 - 11:32 AM

Wow, another great review Ron, thanks, and prob your biggest so far.Posted Image
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.

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#9 of 166 OFFLINE   Nate Anderson

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Posted November 24 2002 - 12:21 PM

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.
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#10 of 166 OFFLINE   CaptDS9E

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Posted November 24 2002 - 12:30 PM

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 of 166 OFFLINE   Tony-B

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Posted November 24 2002 - 12:36 PM

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.
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#12 of 166 OFFLINE   David Lambert

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Posted November 24 2002 - 12:52 PM

Posted Image
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#13 of 166 OFFLINE   Michael Lee

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Posted November 24 2002 - 12:57 PM

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

#14 of 166 OFFLINE   SteveGon

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Posted November 24 2002 - 01:11 PM

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. Posted Image

And I think I'm in the minority by liking BTTF Part II more than the others - I like its dark tone and inventiveness. Posted Image

#15 of 166 OFFLINE   Sean Moon

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Posted November 24 2002 - 01:31 PM

DROOOOLLL Cannot wait
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#16 of 166 OFFLINE   Spiro A

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Posted November 24 2002 - 01:33 PM

Great review Ralph! I'll be waiting eager for this one to come
out Thank you
Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image
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#17 of 166 OFFLINE   Spiro A

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Posted November 24 2002 - 01:35 PM

Great review Ronald!(sorry) I'll be waiting eager for this one to come
out Thank you
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#18 of 166 OFFLINE   Chris S

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Posted November 24 2002 - 01:51 PM

We all really appreciate the time you took in putting these reviews together. Thank you so much!! Chris S.
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#19 of 166 OFFLINE   Wayne Bundrick

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Posted November 24 2002 - 02:20 PM

As Marty would say, this is heavy. Thanks for the reviews, Ron. We appreciate it.
Wayne Bundrick

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#20 of 166 OFFLINE   Daniel P

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Posted November 24 2002 - 02:22 PM

[quote] And I think I'm in the minority by liking BTTF Part II more than the others - I like its dark tone and inventiveness. [quote]
I'm in that minority with you SteveGon Posted Image




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