Save The Clocktower

About to get my 1.21 gigawatts of temporal displacement on.

I never thought I’d hear people clap and cheer for Christopher Lloyd reading a date. And I was surprised by how much laughter the “Read my fax!” gag got. But, just like when I first saw Ghostbusters and The Blues Brothers in theaters as an adult, I never realized how much I had missed seeing it on a small screen all these years. The scene where Marty goes to the former Hill Valley courthouse square in Biff’s alternate 1985 was absolutely PACKED with details I’d never seen before. But the biggest difference is that I noticed how, when you’re seeing a movie you know very well on a big screen for the first time, you watch it differently. You pay attention. Its not just noise on the idiot box. You actually WATCH. And what I realized, what I had forgotten, was that Back To The Future II is actually a really goddamned good science fiction movie. It’s funny, its mostly well acted, the writing was extraordinary, and most of the effects hold up even 26 years later.

The only real flaw is that it was clear the filmmakers were trying to amaze people with the hoverboard effects, which anyone who remembers 1989 can tell you with 100% certainty, they did. People were awed by that for years. But in the age of ubiquitous digital effects, the kids in the audience were clearly unimpressed, and, truthfully, so was I. It was a moment lost on modern first time viewers, and, because it kind of comes off as a failed spectacle, the initial hoverboard scene falls a little flat. And that was pretty much the only dud point in the whole film.

Normally I hate talking in theaters, but the movie was filled with whispers of people, kids mostly, asking questions about references to the first film and foreshadowing of the third. They were interested; they wanted more. That might have been the most pleasing thing of all. The movie that was considered too cerebral for a good summer action flick in 1989 was engaging parents and kids in 2015. And it’s a damn good movie. You can’t ask for more than that.

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