Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back to the Future, Part III (1990)

Back to the Future Part III, I'm Back from the Future! Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd
Back to the Future, Part III ends my favorite trilogy about time traveling to date. I have heard many people groan about its wild-west approach to science fiction, yet I still enjoy this third installment over the second. With Doc Brown stuck in 1885 and about to be killed by Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, it's up to Marty to journey back in time and save him by using the DeLorian to get back to the future.

Back to the Future, Part III
This film draws on many of the jokes and themes that occurred in the first films though with a few switches that are only humorous based on our knowlege of the main characters. When Marty exclaims, "Great Scott!" to which Doc Brown replies, "I know. This is heavy." The humor lies in the fact that throughout the films each character had said the other line, and Doc Brown had even been quite baffled by the use of heavy in the first film.1

I've avoided at great length the problems with time travel that exist in the Back to the Future series. At some points changes in the time-line result in a rippling effect that take time to reverberate throughout the ages. In other cases, what happens to one characters past self seems to have no real change on that characters future self.2 Perhaps there exist multiple quantum realities that they're slipping in an out of as they transgress the boundaries of time. The only consistent is that the future is inconsistent, but changes in the past can have devastating ramifications.3

Back to the Future, Part III
Doc: ...[Y]our future hasn't been written yet. No one's has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one...

1. Marty: "Whoa, this is heavy." Doc: "There's that word again; 'heavy.' Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the earth's gravitational pull?"
2. e.g., Future Doc who was stuck in the past should have known that past Doc who was in his relative future, would send Marty back to help him.
3. Of course, many series have had this problem, including the great Star Trek which Ryan and I (along with a multitude of other nerds) have had many long conversations discussing.

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