24
Nov 04

FT TOP 100 FILMS 9: BACK TO THE FUTURE

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FT TOP 100 FILMS
9: BACK TO THE FUTURE

Think of films whose lead chararcters have bands named after them. Duran Duran – a character in Barberella – were enormously successful. Travis have been successful despite being piss poor*. And now look at the mighty McFly, with their Busted! from the sixties ideas. They are mighty popular, though seem to bear no real relation to the Back To The Future franchise that spawned their name. Except they are the same age as the teen that Michael J.Fox played in said trilogy, and he played guitar. Could he have been in McFly? Well McFly have not made a song which sounds like Huey Lewis And The News yet, but it may just be a matter of time.

Like all good old sci-fi films, the kewl science already looks ridiculously dated. The Delorean is stupid, the flaming tire tracks seem remarkably old hat. And yet the plot device of someone literally fading away gives BTTF its tension. That said the idea that if his parents met at a particular time he might be born without a hand makes little to no sense. But then any film where the leads ends up racing a car through a vicious lightning storm with a mini-nuclear reactor in the back of a car is not necessarily one which takes too much pride in its plot mechanics.

A summer popcorn film which had its product placement up square and central, it is also one which had its franchise door left open at the end. And yet the ending of Back To The Future feels nicely closed to me. The “Look, there are more adventures” excitement need not be actually fulfilled. And the sequels do let the piece down. Not desinged as a trilogy (HELLO THE MATRIX) it fell into repetition, cute in jokes and a Western that no-one really wanted to see (though 3 is certainly the sweetest of the films). There are plenty of people who have still not recovered from seeing MJF dragged up as his own daughter whilst also being aged with terrible prosthetic make-up in the same shot. BTTF2 also paints a remarkably vapid future, which lives up to the idea that every era gets the dystopian future it deserves. And those hoverboards and Jaws 13 are only a few years off, so lets get consuming.

* There is some argument about whether Travis are named after Travis Bickle from over-rated Taxi Driver or Travis the intergalactic assassin from Blake’s 7. The Freaky Trigger opinion is very much leaning towards the latter.

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