Going Back in Time .... Again
It has to be said that "Back to the Future" is one of the iconic movies from the 80's and it's no surprise that they decided to capitalize on its success and partnership of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd with a sequel. Whilst definitely not better than the original, and some may say nothing more than a slightly tinkered with rehash, it has to be said that "Back to the Future Part II" is as much fun and as entertaining as the original even if it does borrow heavily from the first movie.
Having seemingly set the present to right by going back to the past, Marty (Michael J. Fox - The Secret of My Success) is stunned when Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd - Eight Men Out) suddenly appears straight away to tell him that there is trouble in the future and takes Marty along with his girlfriend Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue - Cocktail) to the year 2015 to discover that their future son is about to make a life changing poor decision. After accidentally changing the course of the future they return to the present to discover that it has changed and not for the better because whilst they were in the future Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) had stolen the Delorean and changed history in 1955. So with no other choice Marty and the Doc return to 1955 to try and sort out Biff's meddling in the time continuum and return the present back to normal.
Even the most die hard fan of the "Back to the Future" movies will admit that firstly the second movie in the series does end up rehashing a lot of the jokes from the original but also that the storyline is not so much a confusing mess of time travelling issues but more funny. With issues in the future ending up causing issues in the past which then causes issues in the present, I will even admit that all the time continuum stuff ends up becoming laughable but then also equally entertaining. In fact making sense of all the time travelling issues isn't really that important, even though the scriptwriters go to great lengths to explain it, because the fun comes from all the scrapes which Marty gets into whether he is in the future, past or even present.
As for the issues about borrowing heavily from the first movie, well to be honest it doesn't really matter and helps to breed familiarity with the movies. So what this means is we get the continuing mentions of the likes of the clock tower and Goldie Wilson. But it also means we get rehashes of classic scenes such as the skateboard chase scene now becoming a hover board scene. The important thing is that all of these rehashes are done well and remain entertaining. It does mean that to really get the full effect of some of these rehashes and in jokes you need to have watched "Back to the Future".
There are also some clever additions to "Back to the Future Part II" one of them being the sports almanac which Marty decides to by when he is visiting the future and is pivotal to the storyline. But there are other less important additions such as the imaginative clothing which sizes and dries itself as well as the 80's retro bar. It's these small, clever additions which make "Back to the Future Part II" more than just a rehash of the original.
Of course the main reason why "Back to the Future Part II" works so well is the partnership of Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd who are even better this time round than before. Fox carries on exactly where he left off delivering both the attractiveness to appeal to women but that other side to him which appeals to blokes. Whilst Lloyd's exaggerated eccentricities as Doc Brown are just as hilarious. It is definitely one of the best comic screen partnerships of the 80's.
Whilst Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd return as do a lot of the cast from the first movie such as the brilliant Thomas F. Wilson who plays both Biff and Griff Tannen, there are a couple of exceptions. One of which is Claudia Wells who makes way for Elisabeth Shue in the role of Jennifer, Marty's girlfriend, causing a few re-shoots as the movie continues where the first one left off. Shue actually isn't such a bad replacement especially as this time round the character of Jennifer has more to do. The other exception is that of Crispin Glover who was replaced by Jeffrey Weissman as Marty's father although with footage from the first movie also appearing in the second it's not that easy to pick up on this change.
Adding to the enjoyment of "Back to the Future Part II" is the special effects and in particular the camera trickery. With both Marty and Doc heading back to 1955 there is plenty of opportunity for them to come across versions of themselves in the past. The scenes where the present Doc nearly bumps into the past Doc are hilarious and Christopher Lloyd's wonderful facial expressions are just brilliant. But it is the scenes where we now get two Marty McFly's back in the 1950's which really grab your attention. Using footage from the first movie and then cleverly cutting it in with newer footage really is wonderful to watch and very smoothly done, such as the scene where Marty sneaks by the car where the first version of him is sitting with his mother inside. It may sound a little confusing but fun to watch.
What this all boils down to is that "Back to the Future Part II" is a wonderful follow up to the first movie. It may borrow rather heavily from the first movie with story elements and set piece scenes but then it doesn't really matter because it is still wonderfully entertaining. The actual storyline may be contrived and a little confusing it is all the humour and action which really captures you and together with the first movie make a good couple of movies.