Best Movies of All Time + [western]

BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III

BACK TO THE FUTURE PART III1990

Back to the Future Part III is the third and final installment in the Back to the Future franchise directed by Robert Zemeckis. It picks up just where Part II leaves off, with Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) stuck in 1955 and Dr. "Doc" Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) stuck in 1885. With the help of the 1955 Doc, Marty unearths the hidden DeLorean, fixes it up and takes it back to the Old West to bring the Doc back to the future after learning that he's going to be shot and killed by a notorious gunslinger named Buford 'Mad Dog' Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson). Marty arrives in the past and finds the new township of Hill Valley, taking on the name "Clint Eastwood" around the townsfolk. After a brief run-in with Tannen, Marty finds Doc and tells him of his fate. The two start to plan their escape back to the future, but things become complicated when the Doc finds himself falling in love with a schoolteacher named Clara Clayton (Mary Steenburgen). As the two try to plan their way home and deal with the ever-present threat from Tannen, twist after twist comes to pass, making their trip home all the more difficult.

Literally everyone I've talked to about the Back to the Future franchise has told me that this third installment is the bad egg of the bunch. Considering our heroes were being sent way, WAY back in time, I can imagine why so many people would think so. Still, I went in with an open mind considering I've loved the franchise thus far, and to be honest, I loved this one almost as much as the rest. I'll admit that the screenplay isn't quite at the standard of the previous two films, and that magical aura that was presented in the original flick doesn't quite permeate into the sequels, but I thought that Part III was original enough to make an entire film devoted to life in the 19th century. The storyline is relatively predictable, but the film carries that lightheartedness that the rest of the franchise has had, so you're still in for an enjoyable adventure.

One of the things that I liked most about this installment is the fact that we get to see a more human side of Doc Brown. In the first two installments, Christopher Lloyd is damn-near brilliant as the manic scientist, and it plays well for the time. However, seeing him lose touch with logic because of a woman presents the real man inside the machine, giving us an emotional touch to a character we thought we already knew. Don't worry - he doesn't completely toss logic out the window, but Part III works well to add another dimension to his character. I also rather enjoyed the outlaw turn that Wilson takes as 'Mad Dog' Tannen this time around. In the past two films, Wilson was always a sore spot for me because I felt like his style of over-acting was just a little too much at times. I loved his Biff, but I could only take so much of him. However, as this gun-toting Western bad guy, you can hardly see the resemblance, and the over-acting is pitch-perfect for the setting. It's the best performance Wilson has given in the trilogy, and I think he should be commended for it.

As I did during my review of the second film, I'd like to commend Alan Silvestri for his musical composition for this installment. A lot of it is the same as we've heard, but we also get some of that western-style twang inserted throughout, and it gives the setting a little more authenticity.

Overall, I have to say that I loved Part III just as much as I loved Part II. Is it as good as the first two films? Not really, mostly because it's a little more mindless than the previous two. Does that make it a bad film? Absolutely not. It's a fantastic conclusion the three-parter, and it solidifies the Back to the Future franchise's spot as one of my favorite film trilogies of all time.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: B+
2 Thumbs Up

Addition to Rankings:
Best Sequel - #18