"Wait a minute, Doc. Ah... Are you telling me that you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?"
I've watched my third movie and have officially reached my minimum goal for this quarter. I also have researched a bit about the basic elements of movies, so that's done too. But I wish that I would've looked into it more, maybe next time I'll have more information about movie making. This week I decided to watch Back to the Future, because last Wednesday was October 21, 2015. This was the day that Marty McFly traveled to save his kids in Back to the Future II. So I decided to start the trilogy because of all the hype surrounding that day.
Click HERE for Back to the Future SUMMARY
Back to the Future is a 1 hour and 56 minute fantasy/science fiction film centering around Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and his travel through time in his friend, Doc Brown's (Christopher Lloyd) time travel machine, which takes form in a DeLorean. Time travel has always been an fascinating topic, and people will eat up any form of media that talks about it. This movie is no exception. But what makes it a timeless (haha) classic?
The answer for me is simply this: it's a whole movie. By this, I mean that every aspect of the movie has a purpose, everything makes sense together and everything fits together to make a film that leaves you feeling very satisfied when you finish it. The attention to detail in this movie was great, in almost every shot there was a detail that added to the story, and if you were to re watch this movie again and again, I'm sure you could catch all of them and really appreciate the effort put into it. It doesn't hurt that the main hero, Marty McFly, is so darn lovable. In the beginning of the movie, he seems like just a regular "slacker" who's late for class and hangs out with the outcasts. But his character starts to develop as a guy who's easy going yet slightly goofy, and his charm manages to make the audience super invested in his life and his problems. His story of time travel also manages to be relatable, complete with a mediocre family, an unfair principal, a love interest, and an important mentor figure, which he finds in Doc Brown. Doc Brown as a character is also extremely likable. Although at first you may be overwhelmed by his crazy hair and easy excitability, you really start to care about him. I must admit, I got a little teary eyed near the ending, where Marty returns to see Doc Brown shot down again, only for him to reveal that he heeded Marty's advice after all by using a bullet proof vest. It's moments like these where emotion and tension really build up, which is a thing this movie does well. While I was a little bothered by the amount of problems that show up in the final act (how is everything going wrong?), I think that it was successful in adding to the movie rather than taking away from it, which is a problem that many films have. Some movies put in way too much tension and do it wrong, leaving the audience feeling annoyed and bored, but in Back to the Future, the tension was kept humorous and interesting, keeping me invested in all the shenanigans that occurred.
The characters in this movie are the best representations of their tropes: Marty is the lovable hero, Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) is the bully, and Doc Brown is the crazy scientist. Unlike in other movies, the tropes in this movie are well done and you don't really question them because you're already too invested in their journeys.
Speaking of Biff, this was one of my favorite lines in the movie, which is already intensely quotable. The comedy in this movie is low-key and not super out there, yet lines like these manage to make me really laugh and are just so easy to remember.
One of the main problems in this movie is the most uncomfortable: Marty's mother Lorraine (Lea Thompson) ends up developing a crush on Marty instead of on his dad George (Crispin Glover). The pure awkwardness of this dilemma leads to a lot of cringe worthy moments, and a lot of good jokes.
This is a video of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra performing the music of the clock tower scene live. The clock tower scene is one of the most tense scenes in the movie, and it's also one of the most well done.
The ending scene of Back to the Future, where Doc Brown comes back from the future to tell Marty that they need to go forward in time in order to save Marty's kids. With this widely quoted ending line, the movie introduces the idea of the second movie in the trilogy.
"I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that."
I have successfully watched the first movie on my list! I also read and watched reviews and interpretations of it, to get a better understanding of how society views it. However, I haven’t really gotten to learning about the basics of filmmaking like scriptwriting, cinematography, casting, etc. I plan to get started with that soon, hopefully by the next blog post I can talk about that.
*This isn't going to be an in depth summary of the movie, but I will always include a link to the Wiki for the film if you want to understand fully what I'm talking about. Or better yet, just go out there and watch it!!!
Click HERE for 2001: A Space Odyssey SUMMARY
In this space age epic directed by Stanley Kubrick, the idea of evolution and the existence of man is explored. There is a very jarring and clever comparison that Kubrick introduces in the beginning of the movie, but doesn’t become very clear until about halfway through this almost 3 hour movie (2 hours, 41 minutes). This is the comparison of apes and humans, and how the story of evolution is the same and will continue no matter how advanced we may seem. Another main motif of this movie is the usage of tools by mankind, and how it can come to control us. All of these elements create an ageless tale about humanity told through a rousing soundtrack, inventive cinematography, and simple but strong acting.
Personally, I thought that this film was okay. Before all the actual professional movie critics out there torment me, let me explain. I guess that my generation of kids just have a naturally shorter attention span, and this movie can get TEDIOUS at times. It takes about 20 minutes for any dialogue to happen, and when it does, it's very minimal. Some sequences are 10 minutes long, focusing on a single moving subject, with no real action at all. While I thoroughly appreciated the now widely recognizable movie soundtrack, I thought the pacing was way too uneven and sluggish at times. However, I could still see how people could see that this was a masterpiece. I can't argue that this is a classic, it launched a new era of space age type movies (which included the cult classic Star Wars) and it's different interpretations have spurred a debate that can last for years upon years (that ending though!). The toned down acting is perfect for the feel of the movie. I think that in order to fully appreciate this movie, a person would have to sit down and let it just wash over them, taking in the slightly more thrilling parts in stride.
Astronaut David Bowman, played by Keir Dullea
An example of some inventive filming techniques on Kubrick's part. The stimulated gravity effect was done by an almost hamster wheel like machine, where Bowman (Dullea) ran in one place while the surrounding environment was spinning. The camera followed Bowman on a track positioned separately from the spinning wheel.
A beautifully framed scene of David Bowman
In one of the most telling scenes in the movie, Kubrick uses a cut to transition from the apes on earth to the humans in space. The bone was a tool that the apes used, which ended up completely changing their society. It's possible that Kubrick was creating a metaphor here, showing that humans will always use tools, and eventually the things that we make can come to control us. The movie is very existential, and simple scenes like this can come to mean so much more than what they appear to be at first.
The iconic opening musical piece to the movie, named "Also sprach Zarathustra" composed in 1896 by Richard Strauss. This musical introduction paired with a rising sun let's you know you're in for a thought provoking experience.
This should go without saying.
Kelby Custodio, Junior at Pacifica High School.