Blu-Ray Review: ‘Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy’

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CHICAGO – It’s rare to see a series of films and its fans treated as incredibly as Universal has with the 25th Anniversary edition of the “Back to the Future” trilogy. This is one of the most remarkable and impressive Blu-ray releases to date: A box set that not only features pristinely-restored versions of the three films but includes hours of spectacular special features. It’s a must-own and arguably the best release in a very good season for Blu-ray collectors.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 5.0/5.0

You can count the mid-’80s films that have held up as well as “Back to the Future” on one hand. It’s one of those timeless comedies that clicked together not unlike a mad scientist trying to time a lightning strike. Everyone involved, especially Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Robert Zemeckis, was operating on all cylinders to produce one the most entertaining works of its era. The movie is just great and history seems to have accurately slid it over from the “well-done escapism” it felt like it was classified as in the ’80s and ’90s to “true classic.”

Recognizing that this series has legions of fans of the kind that attend reunions and drive hundreds of miles to see these films on the big screen, Universal has cut absolutely no corners when it comes to the long-awaited Blu-ray release. This package is a beautiful one, perfectly capturing what’s so great about Blu-ray with pristine video and audio and fascinating special features, including both never-before-seen archival material and new interviews.

Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy was released on Blu-Ray on October 26th, 2010
Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy was released on Blu-Ray on October 26th, 2010
Photo credit: Universal

First and foremost, it’s always going to be about the film itself. I dare you to find a 1985 feature that looks better in HD than “Back to the Future.” It’s gorgeous with just the right color mixing and line detail. Some might say that it’s a bit too polished — the actors can look a little like mannequins at times — but this critic was ten when “BTTF” came out and so I might be a bit biased when it comes to seeing a childhood memory in 1080p. Of course, “Back to the Future II” and “Back to the Future III” look just as good and all of the films have been included as digital copies, so you can watch Marty McFly on your iPod. There’s something ironic about watching a movie that had so much fun with technology on the go. Even Doc Brown might not have anticipated this trend.

What’s going to blow most people away is the wealth of special features, much of which plays during the actual films. Each movie comes with two commentary tracks: One a Q&A with director Robert Zemeckis and producer Bob Gale and one a feature commentary with producers Gale and Neil Canton. They can also all play with three U-Control features: Setups & Payoffs (which links moments throughout the trilogy), Storyboard Comparison, and Trivia Track. The in-movie special features along with the transfers would make the set a worthwhile purchase. The rest makes it a must-buy.

The most exciting new feature is an incredibly-detailed and lengthy documentary about the making of the film that features new interviews with ALL of the players, including Michael J. Fox and executive producer Steven Spielberg. It’s so great when everyone clearly loved a project so much that they’re willing to take the time to talk about it 25 years later. It’s called “Tales From the Future” and it’s split up into six chapters with “In the Beginning…,” “Time to Go,” and “Keeping Time” on the first film, “Time Flies” on the second film, and “Third Time’s the Charm” and “The Test of Time” on the third film. The entirety of “Tales From the Future” is beautiful, featuring long-lost footage including clips of Eric Stoltz, who was originally cast as Marty McFly.

The rest of the special features are too extensive to discuss at length but some of the deleted scenes are fascinating, the archival tests and outtakes are interesting, and the alternate ending to “Back to the Future” is something all fans need to see (it’s just a storyboard sequence that was too expensive to shoot — which turned out for the best for all involved).

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Archival Featurettes
o Michael J. Fox Q&A
o Behind the Scenes (Makeup Tests, Outtakes, Storyboards, Photo Galleries, more)
o “The Physics of Back to the Future”
o “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News
o “Doubleback” by ZZ Top
o FAQs about the Trilogy
o “Back to the Future: The Ride”
o Theatrical Trailers

Stop surfing and go buy one of the best Blu-ray sets yet released.

“Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy” stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson, and Mary Steenburgen. The first film was co-written by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale and directed by Zemeckis. The second two films were written by Gale and directed by Zemeckis. The set was released on October 26th, 2010 and all three films are rated PG.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

David Smith's picture

Back 2 the

I must go get this, thanks

maverick's picture

Back 2 the futre on blu-ray

I just purchased this Blu-ray pack and watched Back to the Future and an hour of extra’s ….Absolutely Fantastic….2 more blu-ray BTF’s to go, can’t wait..

Thanks for the great review it was money well spent and as you say a must have for every blu-ray collection.

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