Sunday, September 22, 2019

Back to the Future Part III (1990)

It took me a while to get going on the reviews for the Back to the Future trilogy.  Yes, I know that they came out over 30 years ago.  The first one was such an iconic movie that I wasn’t sure how to handle it.  The trilogy was also a bit of an anomaly to me in that it formed a continuous narrative, despite the fact that the second and third movies weren’t planned.  (It’s been noted that the second picks up where the first left off and this one picks up where the second left off.)

Part III goes in a new direction, taking us to the Old West.  It turns out that Doc was stranded in 1885, 70 years prior to the end of Part II.  (I’m not sure what it is with multiples of five.)   He writes Marty a note, to be delivered by Western Union, a few minutes after his disappearance.  Doc instructs Marty to find the Doc of 1955 so that they might repair the DeLorean and return Marty to 1985 once again.

Things aren’t that simple, though.  While retrieving the car, Marty and Doc discover a tombstone with Doc’s name on it.  He’s to die about a week after writing the letter.  So, a new plan is hatched:  Send Marty to 1885 to save Doc without altering the timeline.  Only, the fuel line is punctured, rendering the car inoperative.  The Flux Capacitor still works, but Mr. Fusion can’t power the car and there won’t be a gas station in town for quite some time.  So, it’s just a matter of figuring out a way to push the car to 88 MPH while keeping Doc alive for a week.  What could go wrong?

As much as I might hope for a Part IV, this is a fitting end for the franchise.  Everyone ends up happy and realizing that fate is what you make of it.  You just have to do so responsibly.  Yes, I know that there’s a TV show.  If I can find it on DVD, I might get around to watching it.  (I’ll have to see if the library has it.)

It was nice that there was a shift in the story to include Doc.  He even gets a love interest, which could complicate things.  I always felt sad when I saw the end of the movie.  Marty was stuck in 1985 while Doc got to go exploring time.  I suppose it’s possible that at some point in the future, Doc will meet Marty again.  (I’m assuming that this is what the TV series is about.)

Back to the Future seems to be a franchise that people either love or ignore.  I’ve always loved it, mostly because of its simplicity.  I’m sure that the movie’s representation of the Old West is simplistic, but it’s serving as a backdrop.  It’s more the setting for the story in which both main characters a great conclusion.  Marty McFly finally seems to learn his lesson and stops letting people push him around.  Also, Doc seems to be a happier person.  He has a family and the time machine that he originally wanted.  Both seem to have realized what’s important:  Life is what you make of it.

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