Back to the Future: 30th Anniversary Trilogy
Directed by Robert Zemeckis.
Starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd.
Raise your hands if you’re middle-aged, with kids, and have bought the Back to the Future movies on home video more times than the number of kids you have. Yeah, that’s a whole lot of you.
The BTTF trilogy has already received a Blu-ray release, but since we’ve not only hit the 30th anniversary of the first movie but have also arrived in the year 2015, where Marty traveled to in Back to the Future Part II, someone in Universal’s marketing department probably would have been fired if this set wasn’t on the calendar this year. And, of course, it was scheduled for release on Oct. 20, just a day before the day on which Marty arrived in the second film. (Since home video releases are always on Tuesdays, they couldn’t put it out on Oct. 21.)
Thankfully, this 30th Anniversary Trilogy set contains some new bonus materials, so completists can plunk down their cash knowing they’ll at least have some fresh content to peruse, although if you’re in the “I like these movies but don’t exactly nerd out on them” camp, you’re probably safe with any of the previous editions. While Blu-ray of course looks and sounds wonderful, you’ll probably still be happy with the 2009 DVD release, or even the 2002 one.
As far as I can tell, everything from the previous Blu-ray and DVD releases has been ported over to this one, but, honestly, there’s so much bonus content for these movies now, it’s very hard to keep track of it all. It’s possible a few minor things may have fallen by the wayside along the way, but all the major stuff is here, like the deleted scenes, the making-of documentaries, the commentary tracks, the behind-the-scenes material, and more.
Here’s what’s new in this set:
• Doc Brown Saves the World!: A mildly amusing nine-minute piece that addresses the “Why didn’t the stuff from BTTF Part II show up in the real 2015?” question by having Doc Brown, played once again by Christopher Lloyd, explain that a nuclear holocaust in the year 2045 was the result of hoverboards, food hydrators, and self-lacing shoes, so he must prevent their creation to save humanity. He takes off in the DeLorean and returns to see that those things have disappeared, in a nod to Marty’s siblings starting to vanish from that photo in the first movie.
• Outatime: Restoring the DeLorean: I’m always amazed when I hear that key things from classic movies have been allowed to languish for years. (The boat from Jaws, for example, was tossed, and pieces were scavenged by fans, with what was left eventually rotting away.) In the case of BTTF, the main car used for the movie, known as the hero or “A” car, was left to sit in a parking spot outside for many years, where fans stole parts off it, animals made their homes, and what was left looked like it belonged in a junkyard.
While that was a terrible choice by Universal, they made it right by hiring a team to take that car and restore it to its original, camera-ready condition, down to every nut and bolt. It’s an amazing transformation chronicled by this 22-minute featurette, and now that car is forever on display at Universal Studios.
Joe Walser, the guy who led the restoration team, builds accurate replica movie cars for a living, so if you ever want to get as close to the real thing as possible, check out RentTheDeLorean.com, owned by Adam Kontras, who bought an exact replica of the BTTF time machine from him and rents it out for personal and corporate events. Kontras and Walser also appear, along with other fans, Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, BTTF cast members Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and Lea Thompson, and many others in a cool documentary called Back in Time, which isn’t in this set but is coming out on Blu-ray soon and is on Netflix now.
• A pair of new commercials for Jaws 19 and the ever-popular hoverboard. If you’ve ever wondered what Jaws 5 through 19 were all about, now you’ll find out. (Too bad they didn’t do something about the Cubs winning the World Series too, although I suppose that would have been pretty painful for the team’s fans, considering what happened in the playoffs this year.)
• Back to the Future: The Animated Series: This set includes two episodes from the animated show that debuted in 1991. It featured Christopher Lloyd voicing Doc Brown and playing him in live-action segments, although none of the other characters were voiced by their movie counterparts. The entire animated series is also available in a separate set.
The bonus disc that contains those aforementioned items also includes Looking Back to the Future, a nine-part documentary from the 2009 DVD release. The rest of the bonus features from the previous DVD and Blu-ray releases are found on the individual movie discs. There is a ton of content in this set, so if you’ve never sunk your teeth into a Back to the Future home video release, be prepared to set aside a few days to dig into all of it. It’s worth every second, though.