Back to the Future (1985)

Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Thomas F. Wilson, Claudia Wells, Marc McClure, Wendie Jo Sperber, George DiCenzo, Frances Lee McCain, James Tolkan

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Expectations: I know exactly what to expect. Pure greatness.


Four stars? Really? Perhaps I am being overly generous due to a good twenty-six years of unadulterated love for this movie, but after re-watching it for what is probably the fiftieth time, Back to the Future still excites, delights and is just flat-out awesome. As I’m sure everyone has seen the film, this is nothing close to a revelation, but as Back to the Future is one of my favorite films, I simply could not watch it and not write something about it.

You know the story, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) creates a time machine and Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) mistakenly finds himself in 1955 with no definite way back to the future. It’s such a joy to watch the plot unfold, as each detail in the opening 1985 sequence, small or large, comes into play beautifully in 1955. It’s so perfectly laid out, so flawlessly plotted, so relentlessly paced. The beauty of it all is just how well it works amidst its quick pacing, as the film throws quite a bit of time travel info and space-time continuum references at you. In the hands of lesser filmmakers this could spell disaster, but Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale have crafted a time travel fantasy for the ages. In its complexity, it is actually ultra-simplistic though, working on basic themes and ideas easily relatable, making for what is hands down one of the best mainstream crossover science fiction/fantasy films of all time.

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Mini-Review: Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Starring Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway, Crispin Glover, Matt Lucas

Directed by Tim Burton

Expectations: Extremely low.


I normally would have avoided this but for some unexplained reason I decided to give it a go. I’m a fan of the original Alice story and I was curious to see how Tim Burton would film it, but the ridiculous amount of CG told me to steer clear. Burton’s later work for me has been fairly hit or miss, so I didn’t go into this with any expectations that I would enjoy this at any meaningful level. Like many things that your intuition tells you to avoid, Burton’s Alice in Wonderland is definitely one to go into treading lightly.

I was intrigued quite a bit by the opening 40 minutes or so. It was paced well and it was interesting to see how the older Alice reacted to the various things in Wonderland. The CG work is actually pretty good and lends the film an animated quality. That’s not to say that it isn’t excessive though. Virtually everything in the film is CG, including the horses that characters ride upon. Surprisingly the computer imagery is not my main beef with the film though. It’s Burton’s complete lack of emotion or energy with this film. If there’s ever been a guy that needs to take a few years off and reconnect with his passion, it’s Burton and this should be Exhibit A. It’s lifeless and the plethora of CG doesn’t help. No thanks.

Oh, and it has what is probably Danny Elfman’s most tired, boring, passionless score as well. Maybe they were going for passionless as a motif?

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