With Marty stuck in 1955, again, he has to gain the help of 50s Doc to return to the Future. the film starts as the very first Back to the Future film finishes. The Delorean has gone back to 1985 and Doc has fainted, fade to black and we return to the mythical Brown mansion which we’ve only seen glimpses of in the first two movies prior to it’s destruction in 1962. More on that later.
I love this opening it’s so relaxed.With some gentle new music that becomes the love theme for Doc later on in the film. Then the Doc wakes up triggered by the Howdy Doody on TV. He’s forgotten what happened after returning 80s Doc and is confronted by another Doc.
There are some nice details in the mansion with the pictures of Scientists above the fireplace, Marty finding the model car in the waste basket from the first film.
BTTF 3 somehow feels like it’s out on its own with it’s locations in 1955 for a brief time, 1885 for most of the film and a short trip back the 1985 at the end. It’s really the love story of the trilogy, introducing a new character into the mix.
At the start of the film, the task was to get Marty back to 1985 by digging up the Delorean from the mine. Simple, but we’ve got a whole movie to fill and everyone has seen the trailer at the end of the previous film.
They get into the mine and find the Delorean with shredded tyres and a bunch of things that need fixing, with future Doc now in the past giving 50s Doc instructions on how to fix it.
Now this creates a paradox of sorts. 50s Doc recently bashed his head falling off the toilet and came up with the idea for the flux capacitor. Not long after Marty turns up with the Delorean with a Flux capacitor and sends the vehicle back to the future. With future Doc of the past giving instructions to 50s Doc on how to fix the time machine. Did the flux just blink into existance? Coz 50s Doc probably had a lot of time to see how this whole thing worked before he actually “invented” it in the 80s. Why didn’t Doc invest in some of the component manufacturers instead of losing his mansion and using that money. Which brings us to another point.
One mystery that continued from the first film that has only recently been answered is the question of what burned down Doc Brown’s mansion in 1962? In one of the opening shots in the original BTTF, we see a newspaper article about the bankrupt inventor losing the mansion we are seeing in BTTF3 in a fire. The estate was sold off to developers and moves into the garage with all of that prime real estate cash. In this version of the timeline, is this the same Doc we see in the 50s? Was the mansion destroyed on purpose? Was it accidental? When you realise BTTF1 Doc was involving himself in some really dodgy stuff including working with terrorists to make a fake nuclear bomb and burning down his own home to claim the insurance and gain the money for the real estate?
What if? Due to the new/old knowledge of the time machine the 50s, Doc manages to avoid the fire and the mansion is still there when Marty returns to 1985.
Bob Gale and Joe Walser, the guy behind the Delorean restoration, recently released the Haynes Delorean book. In it Bob Gale fills in many of the gaps in the Docs life. To cut a long story short, the Doc did invent time travel in the early days and the government was very interested. The only problem was the with the tech at the time, the flux capacitor was the size of a room. To protect the misuse of the technology by the government it’s suggested that the mansion was burned down to destroy the early experiments.
The Doc then worked secretly in another location and over the years used the insurance money to miniaturise the tech whilst keeping it out of the prying eyes of the government.
It’s a great book and an essential for any BTTF fan. Get it from Amazon or your favourite book sellers NOW!!!
Speaking of Deloreans, as we deviate from the main topic. On the 27th February 2012, Bob Gale announced that the restoration of the BTTF “A” car was about to begin and Joe Walser was right in the centre of the restoration team.
Joe Walser started with building his own Delorean Time Machine from the initial purchase of an original Delorean and became the expert team leader of the “A” car restoration.
With the damage to the Universal display car, a lot of the pieces were stolen, but thanks to the fans, a lot of the parts were returned or sourced to rebuild the whole by Joe and his team.
Steve Concotelli, a filmmaker, put up a Kickstarter with the backing of Bob Gale to document the restoration of the original BTTF Delorean as seen in the first BTTF film.
This film happily got three times the requested funds for the project and out of it I managed to get the full Bluray documentary of the restoration.
It’s an amazing documentary following the full story of the cars restoration from the beginning through to it’s initial display in February 2013, when it was put on display at the Universal Studios Experience in Hollywood.
Due to the Experiences closure, the “A” was then moved to the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles in 2016, where it is now on permanent display.
A shortened version of the documentary was released on the trilogy Blurays.
Back to the Story
So digging out the Delorean, they load it onto the trailer. and discover poor Copernicus the dog, pining over a gravestone. They find out that the Doc died 7 days after writing the letter and the instructions to Marty. Great Scott!
Marty can’t leave it at that. He has to rescue the Doc.
With the Doc fixing up the Delorean with white walled tyres, a tank full of gas, a Mr Fusion fully primed, and a retro valve based doodad on the hood all was set with another new look for the car.
With this iteration of the car, they had to remove the chassis, replace the engine with a more reliable Volkswagen engine, over inflate the tyres and ensure that the car had better clearance to handle the rocky terrain of Monument Valley.
There is a really good documentary that discusses the only screen used privately owned Delorean and the most expensive, bought for just over half a million dollars. It still runs…. just about.
For the journey to 1885, Marty is clothed in a bizarre atomic cowboy outfit featuring spinning atoms near the lapels, this was clearly the 50s version of a cowboy outfit than most of us wore as a kid, which shows the stark contrast with the grimy western themed outfits that we see worn by Tannen and the boys. This outfit soon gets dirtied up as soon as Marty gets dragged through the dirt.
When Marty arrives in 1885 he is chased by a group of native Americans played by Navajo Nation members.
Marty arrives and he discovers that a stray arrow hit the gas tank and spilled the precious resource all over the floor of a cave hideaway. With the time circuits fully working the only thing required is fuel to get the Delorean up to 88mph. I’m glad that America is imperial, 88mph sounds much better than 141kmph.
“When this baby hits 141. You’re gonna see some serious (stuff)”
Thankfully the speed of the Delorean was high enough for some major plot points in this movie to pan out.
Some would argue that there was still fuel in the tank of the Delorean that Doc buried in the mine…… there wouldn’t be a huge paradox if the Doc took a gallon or two, surely.
There are a couple of leftovers from the previous film that somehow feels out of place and is used a few times in this film. In BTTF2 we find out that Marty does not like to be called “Chicken” which, according to Jennifer from 2015, causes Marty to get into an accident with his future Boss, Needles, and ruin his guitar career. Seems a little out of character for Marty and not something that would trigger him. We’d have to wait for the end of the film to see this one out.
It was great to see MJF playing multiple characters again with the introduction of Seamus McFly, though having Seamus’s wife played by Emma Thompson, his mom is a little weird. But it’s all in the spirit of the films.
As well as MJF and ET we had the most excellent Tom Wilson with another time winding version of Biff/Griff with the introduction of Buford Tannen the main villain of the story and the possible future murderer of Doc Brown.
We have the same riffs with Biff over the manure truck, provided by the same family business for over 70 years.
In this one we end up with a showdown between Marty and Buford in the classic Western style shootout.
Way back in BTTF Part 2, in the alternate 1985 the shootout itself and Marty’s solution was foreshadowed when Biff was caught watching a Clint Eastwood film “A Fistful of Dollars” in a hot tub with two girls when Marty came to confront Biff about the almanac. In the film Clint uses a metal sheet to protect his chest whilst in BTTF3 Marty uses the door of a stove.
In the end Marty finally gets to punch Buford who falls into the manure, and we know how much he hates manure.
Before we head towards the romance, the train and the ultimate destruction of the Delorean, we are off on a side track… yep off we go again. During the film we had the appearance during a dance scene by the rock legends, ZZ Top who also released the music and music video to the single, yep, Vinyl, Doubleback. I just happened to purchase the 12 inch version of the song so I didn’t have to change the record that often.
I’ve loved ZZ Top for a number of years, but their spinning guitar riff was fun, but it was a little distracting for me as part of the dance scene, instead of just hiding them away. RIP Rusty, you will be missed.
We had a new character added to the mix this time, with Jennifer forgotten about, again, Mary Steenburgen joined the cast as a love interest for the Doc. At the time I’d previously seen MS in Parenthood playing against the wonderful Steve Martin, an excellent Banjo player, I might add.
Clara Clayton was introduced to the Doc at the point where she would have fell to her certain doom into the raveen. I guess Doc figured that with no future and no descendants she wouldn’t cause a major rift in the timeline by falling for her and spending the rest of their lives together travelling through time. These years have been produced through the comics which have been tied into the canon of the films without making more films.
Some would argue whether the Doc needed a bit of romance but this placed BTTF3s story and drama focused on the Doc for a change, although come to think of it the first films B Story was all about Marty figuring out how the same the Doc’s life and hopefully not destroy the galaxy in the process.
Published by IDW, the comics first came out as a mini series in October 2015, the year that marked the 30th anniversary and the significant year from BTTF2, but became so popular that they continued the series. The time train conics were co- written by Bob Gale, and started in December 17 and the whole series completed the comics in June 18. Still available as trade paperbacks. Well worth a read.
At first it was a bit strange to get a new character that had no connections with the other two movies but her interaction with the Doc, the characters fondness with the works of Jules Verne worked great. Ultimately it became a distraction to get the Doc out of the life of the flux capacitor and time machines and change him into a family man with his own kids. Time to put away the toys, or so we thought. So, then he turns up with a Jules Verne-esk time travelling steam train.
We nearly lost Clara when the Doc and Marty had to return to the future, I wasn’t going to say back to the future, again.
Once we had the shootout, the destruction of the Docs gravestone, and ultimately Buford Tannen’s arrest, the main scope of the ending involves getting a steam train up to 88mph so you can push a Delorean.
Ultimately the train smashes into the canyon, the DeLorean disappears into the future and the Doc is left with Clara with no apparent hope of returning.
It was at this point I distinctly remember being as much on the edge of my cinema seat as I was at the end of Back to the Future. Doc stuck in the past, Marty in the present it was all a little intense. Then this happened…..
I mean…… WHAT!?!? What have you done? You destroyed my favourite car of all time.
Having been stressed out over the time travel. You’ve destroyed my favourite car. I was a little shocked. No more time travelling.
Wait….. what about the Doc? We can’t have seen the last of him. Can we?
There were so many things going through my head following the mangled parts of the DeLorean and that train driver who FAILED TO STOP! I’d just like to point that out.
Thankfully whilst my mind was reeling from the incidents of the last five minutes. We deviated to sort out the chicken sub-plot left over from the previous movie, the accident with the Rolls Royce which would have caused Marty to give up the guitar and the incident with Needles his future boss.
I wanna know what happened to the Doc.
Thankfully Jen and Marty returned to the rail track and the DeLorean parts were still strewn across the track. You’ve need the Marty’s pickup to transport the bits and tidy up. Maybe get rid of some of the evidence, like the time circuits and the flux capacitor… anyway, I digress. Let’s get on to the fun.
We heard the bell of the railway crossing and no train….
So, part three finishes in a similar fashion to part one with the time train flying towards us and “The End” appearing in glorious shiny letters.
That was one hell of a trilogy of films. I left the cinema and made my plans to see part three again within the week.
Even though there were only three films, and hopefully it will stay that way. There will be a part four of my BTTF series to fill in the gaps from the films completion to present day.
See you soon. Maybe after a few other topics first.