Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Now on HBO: Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Back to the Future Part II (1989) - Directed by Robert Zemeckis; Written by Bob Gale; Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Elisabeth Shue, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson.

By Kenny Howell

Back to the Future Part II had a lot of faith in the longevity of Max Headroom style animation and Ronald Reagan.

The sequel to the 1985 classic is probably the best of the trilogy, but it is kind of hard looking back on it now because it takes place in the future of 2015, which was obviously three years ago. It is kind of silly some of the things they thought were going to happen, but I guess if you are going to knock that then 2001: A Space Odyssey looks pretty dumb too (It's not).

The story was set up in the first film, but Director Robert Zemeckis lets loose in the sequel, taking Marty and Doc 30 years into the future and having a lot of fun with it. It also goes to some dark places when we learn that Biff is the most important businessman in Hill Valley and beyond. His rise to prominence has not had a great effect on the town.

How it happens is Doc and Marty go to 2015 to get Marty's kids back on the right track. They are about to get arrested and their lives ruined, but they are able to stop it when Marty gets into a hoverboard (Toys R Us already has them!) fight with Biff's grandson, Griff. Griff and his crew are arrested for the damage to the town, which in turn keeps Marty's kids from getting into trouble later that night.

However, Biff finds out that Doc has a time machine and takes a sports almanac back to 1955 to give to his younger self. He then bets on sports and makes a huge fortune which he invests in several businesses and gets richer. Marty must get the book away from Biff in 1955 before he starts betting and making his riches.

Zemeckis still relies on the fun element of this series, and they are allowed to get really clever in this one, having multiple Marty McFlys in the same scene crossing paths in things that happened in the first film. It really opens up the world and is definitely taking the original to another level, which is what it should have done. It continues to be just a joy.

Back to the Future Part II is now streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.

Rating: ***1/2

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