Back to the Future: 30th Anniversary Trilogy Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson, Crispin Glover
  • Director: Robert Zemeckis
  • Format: Digital_copy, Blu-ray, Box set, Widescreen
  • Language: English (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1), French (DTS 5.1), Spanish (DTS 5.1)
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish, English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Rated: PG
  • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: October 20, 2015
  • Digital Copy Expiration Date: May 2, 2016


            These days it is common practice to film several sequels at once, but it was still a daring decision when Back to the Future utilized this method. This is one of many ways that the time-travel franchise predicted the future. Back to the Future: Part II was released in November of 1989, with the end of the film containing a trailer for the third film set to be released in the summer of 1990. This was prior to the splitting of every final book in a series, before trilogies were planned out without the success of the original release, and when there were still few enough blockbuster franchises for these films to be culturally significant. 30 years later and the dynamics of the industry have drastically changed, but the influence of these films has stood the test of time.


            Every bit as entertaining as I remember, Back to the Future is a movie that I watched so often as a kid that I still know it scene-for-scene. Even if it has been 20 years since I have watched it, this time-traveling classic has a timeless feel. We all wanted to be Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), the skateboarding rock-‘n-roll rebel accidentally sent back in time to the moment his mother and father met for the first time. When he interferes with events between his future father and mother, George and Lorraine (Crispin Glover and Lea Thompson), Marty’s only chance for existence is to fix the alterations made by his arrival.


            The second film dives even further into the idea of alternate timelines caused by time travel when Doc. Brown (Christopher Lloyd) takes Marty to the future to save his own kids. Bouncing between three time periods, this is easily the most ambitious of the films in the franchise, and it may also be the most fun. This is also the film which has brought the most recent attention back to the franchise in time for the 30th anniversary, mostly because the day that they travel to in the future just came up on our calendar. While we may not have hoverboards or flying cars, it is definitely amusing to see what they imagined October 21, 2015 would look like in the 1980s.


            After a cliffhanger ending to Back to the Future: Part II, Doc Brown is sent 100 years back in time to the old west and the third film deals with a completely different type of time travel. There is a whole lot less jumping back and forth in this entry, and it is more about finding the western parallels to the structure established by the first two films. Certain elements must remain the same for this to be a Back to the Future film, and that includes the western equivalent of many familiar characters. While this is not quite as engaging as it was the first two times, regardless of the drastic change in setting, it is still an enjoyable piece of escapist art.


            The films themselves are timeless, but this is also a review of the Blu-ray release for the 30th Anniversary. The biggest question looming over the package is the need for another release, especially since the trilogy was already released on Blu-ray for the 25th Anniversary. Much remains the same between the two packages, though this new release has an additional disc of all-new special features. The past release had no shortage of extras, with a six-part documentary, 8 archival featurettes, behind-the-scenes footage, audio commentaries, deleted scenes, interviews and more. This new release adds a fourth disc to the package for even more extras, though they may not be impressive enough to require an upgrade for fans already owning the 25th Anniversary Edition.


            The new disc includes an all-new short film with Christopher Lloyd reprising the iconic role, and also attempting to explain why the future in the film is so different than our world today. Additional fun extras include a fake trailer for Jaws 19 and a commercial for Hoverboards, and there are also two episodes from the animated series included. Extras with more heft include a 9-part retrospective documentary and a featurette about the 2012 restoration of the iconic vehicle used for time travel.  


    Entertainment Value: 9.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10

    Historical Significance:  10/10

    Special Features: 10/10

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