Back to the Future Part III was released in 1990. It takes place right where we left off, as the DeLorean leaves 1955 for 1985 (from the first movie), Marty fresh from hellish 1985 (via 2015 from the second movie) comes running up to 1955 Doc Brown mid-celebration. This then causes Doc to faint.
Marty then brings Doc Brown up to speed, two movies worth up to speed. Previous to this, Doc was in the DeLorean when it got struck by lightning, sending him in to the old west. We know this because Count Floyd brings Marty a 70 year old letter from Western Union — it’s from the Doc! and when the lightning struck he was catapulted all the way to 1885!
So the third and final film is a western. It’s also a much simpler story. Growing up, it was my favorite of the two sequels, because I love the western genre. But when I talked it over with others, the third one was their least favorite, I never understood that… what do you people want?!
The good; we get to go in to the old west. How awesome is it to see the DeLorean being pulled through Monument Valley? This is the first geographical reference we get to Hill Valley’s location, it’s somewhere in Utah/Arizona. So no more wondering like in The Simpsons.
I really enjoy the simplified story. So… the writing. Marty’s stuck in 1885, he still has to get back to 1985 as usual. He and Doc work hard to figure out how to get the DeLorean up to 88 MPH with the technology they have on hand, but in this process they encounter complications, this film is Doc’s turn to shine because he’s given the love story with newly arrived school teacher Clara Clayton. Christopher Lloyd gets to flex his acting muscles in this film, not only is he doing the mentor role and the wide-eyed zany scientist, but now he gets to do the whole falling-in-love arc. The roles are reversed, this is due to the fact that Marty’s in a world that he doesn’t have an invested interest in, but Doc on the other hand, this is his child hood fantasy. He grew up watching westerns on TV, which is why he dressed up Marty in western clothes that makes him stick out like a sore thumb once he arrives in the real west.
Marty having no connection to the ole west allows for him to be the rational thinker, thereby taking the mentor role. While Doc takes on a more of the prominent character arc.
And this wouldn’t be a Back to the Future film without a Tannen, Thomas F. Wilson is transformed in to the vicious Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen. Wilson is almost unrecognizable, he completely embodies the Mad Dog character, bravo sir.
Another great thing about this movie is that we’re not on the Universal Backlot, they actually had to build a set and go on location. This aspect made things feel more real, they’re just starting to build the clock tower and the whole town.
It’s also got one of my favorite lines, “Musta got that shirt off’n a dead Chinee.” One that Gonzalo likes as well, hehe.
The bad; as I mentioned above, people liked this film the least… why? Is it because they don’t like westerns? For shame… Part III was the perfect way to end the film franchise. Who or what has done it better since?
Doc Brown’s logic… in Part II he helps 2015 Marty out… but he’s only putting a band aid on things, the real source of Marty’s woes comes from people calling him a “chicken,” Doc in all his knowledge wasn’t able to pin point that drag racing incident in 1985 that set things in motion for Marty’s failures. My internal logic just goes crazy here, Doc has all the time in the world, he could’ve time traveled enough to know the real origin of his friend’s troubles, and ironic enough that it all started in 1985, when he invented said time machine.
But on a more personal note, like Cody mentioned, I was sad to see the DeLorean destroyed when Marty returns back to 1985. Granted we get this hover train… but it’s like we lost this unofficial 13th man/character when the train runs over the DeLorean. Probably cause it’s the original one that Doc invented, it’s physically more than a hundred years old, being buried an what not. So we lost a member of the team on this journey.
Overall, what a treat. Not only do we get to see the DeLorean in white wall tires and train tracks, but we get to see the payoff to a Clint Eastwood homage and a Wild Gunman video game joke set up in the last movie.
I’d pair a viewing of this movie with the appropriately named… Dr. Brown’s Original Root Beer.
And what better way to enjoy this carbonated sweetened drink from the sassafras root, than having it chilled by Doc’s refrigerator;
Dr. Brown’s is brought to us by J&R Bottling. Dr. Brown’s goes all the way back to 1869 when there was an actual Doctor who treated immigrant children in New York; the seltzer that helped these children contained sees and sugar, and it’s been sold bottled since 1886.
It goes well with Part III, sippin’ on the suds makes me feel like I’m back in ‘ole Hill Valley, shootin’ the breeze with those geezers in the saloon.
Part III rounds up the franchise with a satisfying ending. With Doc hover boarding away with Clara in to the sunset, Marty getting back to 1985, a glorious train wreck, a hover train, a good moral. It answers a lot of posed questions, but at the same time leaves things up to us to figure out, a perfect example is……. this kid –
Who is his message meant for? What happened that led up to those gestures? Did someone come to his aid? Was that the best take? And they had to use it?
The picture of Doc and Marty with the clock just sums up all that we’ve went through thus far. It’s poignant and rings true to who they are. Doc’s parting word speak volumes, “Your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is what you make it, so make it a good one.”
Just like last time, my friends; Dr. Q at Craft Beer Tasters and Cody from Three B Zine have something to say. But this time we’re also join by Mark at We Unite – Entertainment, Jen from Sounds in San Diego, and Zack Norris, go check out what they have to say.