Back in Time, 2015.
Directed by Jason Aron.
Cast, crew, and fans explore the classic time-travel trilogy’s resonance throughout our culture 30 years after Marty went Back in Time.
You may think that Back to the Future’s many home video releases contain enough bonus features to cover everything related to the trilogy, but Back in Time proves that there’s still more territory to explore. In this case, the Kickstarter-backed documentary looks at the movies’ place in our culture 30 years later through interviews with not only many of the cast and crew but also super fans who show their love in various ways.
Available on Netflix, Vimeo, through the production’s website, and via other avenues, Back in Time spends roughly the first third of its 94-minute running time recounting the making of the original film and the hurdles Bob Gale and Bob Zemeckis had to leap over to get it made. Much of it is familiar territory to fans, but there are still some worthwhile nuggets to uncover. Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Steven Spielberg, Gale and Zemeckis, and several others connected with the movie talk about their involvement.
The rest of the documentary covers the way the film has resonated in popular culture, and that’s where it gets really interesting. For example, Dan Harmon, who created the TV series Community as well as the BTTF parody cartoon Rick and Morty, spends some time talking about why he thinks the movie works so well, even though it violates some conventional screenwriting rules about the protagonist having a character arc.
In addition, fans who own various pieces of the movie’s memorabilia talk about their hobbies, and plenty of time is spent with owners of DeLorean time machines, including a family that owns the one used in the third film, along with a couple other vehicles from the first movie. There’s even a couple who have traveled the country in their homemade time machine to raise money for Michael J. Fox’s foundation to benefit research into Parkinson’s disease.
Even if you’re a die-hard fan of the trilogy who has seen just about every scrap of video about the movies, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this documentary, which does an excellent job of pushing the nostalgia buttons that are so prominent with myself and other members of Generation X. The production values are top-notch, proving that if you have some talent and a solid Kickstarter campaign, you can produce a documentary that’s on par with anything on a major studio Blu-ray release.
If you pick up Back in Time on Blu-ray or DVD, or buy it on Vimeo, you’ll get a set of six outtakes totaling about 40 minutes. While I can see why those sequences were cut from the film, they’re still worth watching. They cover what’s left of props from the films, the work that went into the destruction of the train in Part III, a DeLorean fan event in Nevada, some behind-the-scenes footage, and extra interview clips with the fans and the cast.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★