Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Back to the Future Back to Back - Commentaries...

Those of you that remember 1985 in more ways than one will remember that was the year featured in one of my all-time favorite series of films, "Back to the Future" (parts 1-3).

I had the opportunity to listen to all three feature-length commentaries back to back this weekend while cleaning out/rearranging my office downstairs. I wanted to take a few moments to recommend both the options available in the "Q&A sessions" with Director Robert Zemeckis, but also the detailed feature-length commentary with writer/producer Bob Gale.

Just a Few Items of note from the commentaries:

1.) Elijah Wood has his first on-screen role in Back to the Future 2 as one of the kids that Marty shows how to "use his hands to play video games."

2.) Carl Sagan once told Bob Gale that the Back to the Future movies were the best samples of the time-travel theory in American cinema.

3.) Crispin Glover was left out of the subsequent movies, because he had wanted to broker a deal that would fetch him the same money/deal that Michael J. Fox was collecting.

4.) As per the director and producer, no one should ever make two movies at the same time.

5.) Great lengths were taken to try to "show George McFly" in the movie, but to not show that it wasn't Crispin Glover.

6.) Michael J. Fox is very short. Christopher Lloyd is very tall. In an effort to make sure that this fact was never an issue, Zemeckis provided structured "blocking" (how the actors move in an on-screen area) so that the two were always moving in opposite directions in scenes (something that is clearly apparent when you watch the movie after hearing that),

7.) 7 Deloreans were created to provide the movies with the different types of vehicles featured.

8.) Originally, actor Eric Stoltz was slated in the Marty role. They refer to him in a variety of areas during the commentary, and none offer anything negative about Stoltz' performance.

9.) The mothod of creating the stories was initiated by taking an event that they wanted to have happen (Marty creates rock-n-roll) and then creating story to be able to check off that goal.

10.) The ZZTop manager was a prick - wanting to somehow get the ZZTop Mobile into the third movie.

11.) Thanks to a nitpicking Japanese viewer, we now know that the letter that Marty originally wrote, and the one that Doc has at the end of the second movie, were not actually the same letter.

12.) The odometer in the Delorean doesn't display a consistent number throughout the ride.

13.) Marty's western shirt pocket flap in the second movie appears to pop in and out during his discussion with George.

These 12 notes, and hundreds of others provide a fantastic insider view of what is easily one of the most successful and entertaining franchises in American cinema. Give them a chance - you won't be disappointed.