If you could go back in time and meet your parents as teenagers, what would you do? This is the basic premise of the 1985 classic 'Back to the Future'.
Marty McFly(Michael J Fox) is a typical teenager from small-town America who loves typical teenage things like music, girls and skateboarding. His best friend is eccentric inventor 'Doc' Emmet Brown(Christopher Lloyd) who builds a time-machine out of a sports car which inadvertently sends Marty back to 1955. Through a series of mishaps, Marty stumbles upon his teenage mother Lorraine(Lea Thompson), and father George(Crispin Glover), and accidently prevents them from meeting and falling in love. Having to put history straight and work out a way to return to his own time, Marty seeks out the 1950's version of his friend 'Doc' Brown in the hope that, between them, they can get Marty 'Back to the Future'.
Spanning not one but two sequels, 'BTTF' was a blockbuster hit on its release in 1985. The basic plot was conceived when director Robert Zemeckis was looking through his parents old school yearbook and wondered what it would be like to meet them when they were teenagers. Eventually, Steven Spielberg came on board and the rest, excuse the pun, is history.
Michael J Fox is perfectly cast as the All-American teenager dreaming of success with his band and his girl. Opposite Fox, Christopher Lloyd looks as though he is having the time of his life playing the near-insane 'Doc' Brown. The supporting cast also do a wonderful job, with Thomas F. Wilson hamming it up nicely as the almost pantomime villain, Biff Tannen. The dynamic between Fox and Lloyd is fantastic, keeping the energy needed to carry the tension of the plot, while simultaneously providing comedic and tender moments to lighten the load. Zemeckis effortlessly weaves in a few sub-plots to reinforce the 'cause and effect' message without releasing the pace. The set pieces are wonderfully put together and the scene with the lightning strike at the clock tower is cinema gold.
I first watched this film when I was 11 and was absolutely captivated. The theme of time travel and alternate history was so fascinating that every time I watched it, I seemed to notice something new such as the 'Twin Pine' shopping mall becoming the 'Lone Pine' mall when Marty returned to his own time after running over one of the 'twin pines' in 1955. This film is ultimately an extremely enjoyable fantasy romp with a lovingly nostalgic nod to the 1950's. The irony is, that watching the film now, I feel nostalgic for the 1980's!