Back to the Future: The Complete TrilogyUniversal Home Entertainment, $56.98
Considering trilogy storytelling has once again become Hollywood's new cash cow, it was only a matter of time before all three of Robert Zemeckis' Back to the Future
films were released as a box set. The set opens with the action/adventure phenomenon that forever changed the way we looked at time travel, that kid from Family Ties
, and unreliable DeLorean cars. To catch up you cave dwellers, Back to the Future
follows young Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox), an average mid-Eighties American suburban kid, and eccentric scientist "Doc" Brown (Christopher Lloyd), whom Marty assists with scientific experiments. It seems Doc has created a time machine: a DeLorean with a flux capacitor that must accelerate to 88 mph before it can dissipate into the strata of time ... or something like that. Everything goes awry on the first time-machine test run when angry Libyan terrorists gun down Doc for scamming them out of plutonium (an incident that, these days, would raise our National Warning Level a whole color); Marty escapes by accidentally driving the DeLorean back to 1955. Now stuck 30 years in the past, he has the ability to remake his future -- by changing the nature of his parent's marriage, his father's social status, and the origins of "Johnny B Goode." Back to the Future
has the perfect mixture of humor, action, sentiment, drama, and a fair share of philosophy, too. While Back to the Future II
, released four years later, has its perks -- a cute, clueless Elisabeth Shue, a glimpse of the year 2015, and a Hoverboard chase scene -- it pales in comparison to the original. And then there's Old West-set Back to the Future III
(released the following year), a mediocre outing at best that regurgitates elements from both predecessors and boasts a lot of overacting by Mary Steenburgen. To keep the final DVD from doubling as a coaster, the studio has added more than 10 hours of special features to this box set, ranging from fascinating behind-the-scenes documentaries to actual on-location Hoverboard tests.