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Back in Time

Score: 91%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: MVD Entertainment Group
Region: 1
Media: DVD/1
Running Time: 95 Mins.
Genre: Documentary
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English

Back in Time is a documentary detailing the creation, the cultural phenomena, and the fandom around the movie series Back to the Future. Itís a movie that is much beloved, and it feels very special to a lot of people. This documentary takes that feeling and examines it. Did you know that the screenplay for Back to the Future is often used as an example of a perfect screenplay? Itís often just seen as a cool movie that did things differently, but what this documentary does in a very effective way is break down the movie so that the cultural impact and effect on people makes sense.

To understand the filmís effect on American and even global culture, the documentary features several famous screenwriters, fans, and the filmís producers. One of the most entertaining interviewees is probably Dan Harmon, writer and producer of the NBC series Community. Heís not only quick with the one liners and fun commentary, heís pretty frank about his opinions on everyone and everything involved in the show. Director and writer of Back to the Future, Robert Zemeckis, of course is featured heavily on this DVD. His stories about how the movie came to be through a bit of dumb luck and some rather ingenious behind the scenes dealings are endlessly entertaining. What I didnít realize was that Steven Spielburg was the Executive Producer of the movie. He is also featured in some eye-opening interviews about his relationship with Zemeckis (they apparently loved going skeet shooting back in the day) and how he was involved with Back to the Future before going off to direct Jaws. Some really great commentary also comes from Adam Goldberg, creator of the ABC sitcom "The Goldbergs." With his connection to the 80ís and his love of telling stories from a kidís perspective in the 80ís, he has some absolutely great connections and insight to bring to this DVD. These are but a few of the great people interviewed for Back in Time, so just to name a few, there are actors such as Don Fulilove (future mayor in Back to the Future), Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly), Wendie Jo Sperber (Linda McFly), composers such as Huey Lewis of the immortal "Power of Love," photography directors, and many more interviews with fan gurus, collectors, restorers, and other people with special connections to the show.

No documentary on Back to the Future would be complete without mentioning the infamous hoverboard. One piece of trivia (with featured shaky VHS video evidence) that is just deliciously evil is the fact that the movieís producer released a behind the scenes feature that essentially told kids that the hoverboard was real. He actually claimed that they were using working hoverboards, itís just that the product was never released and the movieís producers were the only few people to get their hands on them. There could not have been a kid in the 80ís who could handle this kind of devastating news without being absolutely crushed.

The DeLorean is, of course, covered extensively, including the fact that it almost could have been (gasp!) a Ford Mustang. In fact, every piece of background, props, and the famous footgear of the second movie gets at least a moment (sometimes only in the background) in this DVD. Another interesting aspect to this DVD is all the real life stuff that was science fiction back in the 80s. There are interviews with people involved in making actual flying cars and people making hoverboards. These are not just afterthoughts either, thereís quite a bit of time spent on these once fictional things that are now real enough to touch.

Another wonderful thing about this documentary is the way it reveals the themes that you knew were there, but maybe never really could put a finger on. One of those themes is the realization that every young person has at some point - itís the moment when young adults realize their parents, once, were kids as well. And itís a really interesting one, because for most of us, we can never really know who our parents were. You can ask them about their childhood, but really, youíd never know who they were unless you were there. If you somehow went to the same school, would they have bullied you? Would you both have been friends? Would your parents be one of those insufferable jocks or cheerleaders? It is this question that the writers of Back to the Future put to themselves, and they really came up with a great way to try to answer it, and make us think about it in our own lives.

The only shortcoming I could possibly put to this documentary is that it is all over the place. You didnít really know where it was going to take you next or what the overall message was. To call that a real shortcoming feels like an overstatement. So many great stories from fans and actors, so much background about the movieís creation, so many interesting facts and so much great footage from the years surrounding the movies release are here. When you manage to get that much of the magic of Back to the Future on one disc, that is an accomplishment. Back in Time is just a great trip, a great story, and a great time spent with the fascinating lore and people of Back to the Future.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

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