Back to the Future Part II (1989) picks up right after the end of the first chapter which had been shot four years earlier. Actually, it opens with a remake of the last scene in which Doc (Christopher Lloyd) arrives from the future to warn Marty (Michael J. Fox) about something that will happen to his family. And if we believe Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, that ending was just a joke, it wasn’t built on an idea for an entire movie! Kudos to them, they used that joke very well by making a great sequel, and also one of the best trilogies ever!
And let me open another parenthesis of admiration for the two Roberts who in 1989 did something unheard of before: with great foresight, they simultaneously shot the second and third chapters of the saga, which is now common practice for the films belonging to huge sagas, but which more than thirty years ago was absolutely revolutionary. And they did well, as all the films in the trilogy were a box office success and also maintained the excellent quality standards of the first movie, which wasn’t easy given how good that was.
And now let’s talk a little about Back to the Future: Part II. Marty and his girlfriend Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue) are transported thirty years into the future by Doc Brown worried about saving their family from big legal troubles (that future, 2015, is already our past and I haven’t seen any flying cars yet, unfortunately). Doc quickly puts Jennifer to sleep to keep her from getting into trouble, and sends Marty to impersonate his son to reject a shady proposal from Biff’s son (Thomas F. Wilson).
Things don’t exactly go according to the plan, but more or less the ending result is satisfactory. However, in the meantime Jennifer has been found by the police and taken to the future Jennifer’s house… And while Doc and Marty try to fix that too, old Biff steals the time machine to give young Biff a sports almanac with the results of the last thirty years to allow him to make a lot of money with bets and change the future!
And here’s the only flaw of this otherwise perfect film: unlike in the first movie, the logic of time travel is betrayed here. Old Biff goes back in time and gives the almanac to young Biff in 1955, and immediately afterwards the former goes back in time to 2015… to the same future from which he came! According to the logic of the film, he should have got to the future that he modified, but of course the film would’ve ended quickly, so obviously Zemeckis preferred to bend the same rules he created and develop an otherwise great story which entertains from the beginning to end.
With the benefit of hindsight, it was nothing short of brilliant to show a decadent and corrupt version of the United States ruled by a hideous red-haired rich man back in 1989! Basically, these were Trump era’s US! President Biff was actually inspired by Trump himself and that nightmare became reality in 2016. Even the President’s relationship with his wife is accurate, as Melania Trump didn’t seem to like being close to his husband, and she probably used cosmetic surgery like the Lorraine played by Lea Thompson in the movie.
Back to the movie, it’s nice to revisit 1955 with Marty and Doc fixing things (again!) by preventing Biff from receiving the almanac. They succeed, obviously, but there’s another surprise: Doc ends up by accident in the Old West, in 1885… The ending is essentially the trailer of the following chapter which, as mentioned, was shot at the same time as this one.
So what about Back to the Future Part II? Plot hole aside, here’s another impeccable film. The Hill Valley of the future is splendid with its hyper-advanced technology and its obvious references to the Hill Valley of 1985 and 1955 (for example, no one has fixed the clock tower, yet!). The script once again plays with past things repeating themselves, with children making the same mistakes made by their parents, and with people in general not learning from their mistakes. It’s a comedy all right, but it makes you think as well!
But surely the dystopian future with Biff as president is the most incredibly relevant element of the film, given what has been happening in recent years! To conclude, the second entry of the Back to the Future trilogy doesn’t disappoint, it’s a great film and it’s as brilliant as the first one. I still enjoy it and I’ve seen it at least fifteen times! Ciao!
PS: there’s a little Elijah Wood playing a vintage arcade game in 2015!