Back to the Future Part II
|Back to the Future Part II|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Zemeckis|
|Produced by||Neil Canton
|Screenplay by||Bob Gale|
|Story by||Robert Zemeckis
|Starring||Michael J. Fox
Thomas F. Wilson
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Editing by||Harry Keramidas
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||108 minutes|
Back to the Future Part II is a 1989 American science fiction comedy film and the second installment of the Back to the Future trilogy. As with all three films, it was directed by Robert Zemeckis, scripted by Bob Gale, and stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Thomas F. Wilson and Lea Thompson. Parts II and III were filmed back-to-back—with some scenes filmed concurrently—and released six months apart. All of the films in the series are set with 1985 as present time, in continuance of the original story.
After repairing the damage to history by making his parents fall in love in 1955, Marty McFly returns to 1985. While there, his friend Dr. Emmett Brown has him travel to 2015 to prevent his future son from getting involved with Biff Tannen's grandson, Griff. However, Biff travels to 1955 and completely alters history. Marty and Doc travel to 1955 to stop Biff so they can restore the original timeline.
On October 26, 1985, Doctor Emmett Brown arrives from the future and tells Marty McFly and girlfriend, Jennifer Parker, he needs help to save their future children from getting into serious trouble. As they depart, Biff Tannen accidentally witnesses their departure. They arrive on October 21, 2015, where Doc electronically hypnotizes Jennifer and leaves her incapacitated in an alley. Meanwhile, Doc has Marty pose as Marty McFly, Jr., Marty's future son, to refuse an offer from Biff's cybernetically-enhanced grandson, Griff Tannen.
Marty successfully switches places with his son and refuses Griff's offer, but Griff goads Marty into a fist fight, which only ends in Griff and his gang crashing into the local courthouse and getting arrested, thus saving Marty's future children. On his way back to meet Doc, Marty purchases Gray's Sports Almanac, a book detailing the results of major sporting events of the 20th century's second half. Doc discovers the purchase and warns him about attempting to profit from time travel, but before Doc can adequately dispose of the almanac, they are forced to follow the police who have found Jennifer incapacitated and are taking her to her future home. Old Biff, overhearing the conversation and recalling the DeLorean from 1985, follows with the discarded book in a taxi.
Jennifer wakes up in her future home and hides while the McFly family has dinner together. She overhears that Marty's life, as well as their life together, is not what they had expected due to a car accident involving Marty. Jennifer witnesses the Marty of 2015 being goaded into a shady business deal by his friend, Needles, causing their supervisor to fire Marty from his job, as announced by numerous faxes (one copy of which Jennifer keeps). While escaping the house, Jennifer meets her older self and they both faint. As Marty and Doc run to retrieve the younger Jennifer, Biff uses the DeLorean to travel back to 1955, gives his teenage self the sports almanac, then returns to 2015. Marty, Doc, and an unconscious Jennifer return to 1985, unaware of Old Biff's previous actions, and Jennifer is left on the porch at her home.
Marty and Doc soon discover that the 1985 to which they returned has changed dramatically. Biff has become wealthy and corrupt, and changed Hill Valley into a chaotic dystopia. Marty's father, George, was murdered in 1973, and Biff has forced his mother, Lorraine, to marry him instead. Doc has been committed to an insane asylum, and Dave, Linda and Marty are away at boarding schools. Doc finds evidence of the sports almanac and Biff's trip to the past in the DeLorean and tells Marty he needs to learn when the younger Biff received the almanac so they can correct the time line. Marty decides to confront Biff regarding the almanac. Biff explains that he received the book from an old man on November 12, 1955 who told him that he would never lose as long as he bet on every winner in the almanac. He was also told to eliminate anyone in particular who questioned him about the almanac in case of any attempt to change the past. As a result, Biff attempts to kill Marty, during which time he reveals that he killed George and allowed Hill Valley to be taken over by crime to prevent being caught. However, Marty escapes with Doc and, with the new information, returns to 1955.
Marty works undercover to trail the Biff of 1955. Marty is present when the Biff of 2015 arrives to give the Biff of 1955 the almanac, but Marty is unable to retrieve it. Marty is forced, with Doc's help, to try to get the book back during the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, being careful to avoid undoing the events that he had already corrected in his previous visit. Eventually, Biff leaves the dance as Doc and Marty follow him silently. After a struggle, Marty takes the almanac from Biff, who crashes his car into a manure truck as Doc and Marty fly away in the DeLorean.
With the storm approaching, Marty burns the almanac and restores the previous (improved) timeline. However, the DeLorean is struck by lightning and disappears. A courier from Western Union arrives minutes later and gives Marty a seventy-year-old letter. It is from Doc, who became trapped in 1885 after the lightning strike made the DeLorean go back to January 1, 1885. Marty races back into town and finds the Doc of 1955, who had just sent the original Marty back to 1985 seconds earlier at the courthouse. Doc is shocked by his friend's sudden re-appearance and faints.
- Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, Marty McFly Jr. and Marlene McFly
- Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown
- Thomas F. Wilson as Biff Tannen and Griff Tannen
- Lea Thompson as Lorraine Baines McFly
- Elisabeth Shue as Jennifer Parker
- James Tolkan as Mr. Strickland
- Jeffrey Weissman as George McFly
- Flea as Needles
- Crispin Glover as George McFly (archive footage)
The characters of George McFly and Jennifer Parker were played by different actors from those in the first film, requiring scenes that overlap to be re-shot.
Director Robert Zemeckis states that initially Back to the Future was not planned to have a sequel, but its huge box office success led to a second installment's conception. The director later agreed to do a sequel, but only if protagonists Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd came back as well. Once they did so, Zemeckis got with screenwriting partner Bob Gale to create a story for the sequel. Zemeckis and Gale would later regret that they ended the first film with Marty's girlfriend Jennifer along with Marty and Doc Brown in the car, as they had to put a story that fit her in instead of a whole new adventure.
Gale wrote most of the first draft by himself, as Zemeckis was busy making Who Framed Roger Rabbit. At first, Part II was to take place in 1967, but Zemeckis later stated that the time paradoxes of the film gave a good opportunity to go back to 1955 and see the first film's events from a different light. While most of the original cast agreed to return, a major stumbling block arose when negotiating Crispin Glover's fee for reprising the role of George McFly. When it became clear that he would not be returning, the role was rewritten so that George is dead when the action takes place in the alternative version of 1985.
The greatest challenge was the creation of the futuristic vision of Marty's home town in 2015. Production designer Rick Carter wanted to create a very detailed image with a different tone than the film Blade Runner, saying he wanted to get past the smoke and chrome. Rick Carter and his most talented men spent months plotting, planning and preparing Hill Valley's transformation into a city of the future.
When writing the script for Part II, writer and producer Bob Gale wanted to push the first film's ideas further for humorous effect. Zemeckis admits he was somewhat concerned about portraying the future because of the risk of making wildly inaccurate predictions. Gale added that they tried to make the future a nice place, "where what's wrong is due to who lives in the future as opposed to the technology" in contrast to the pessimistic, Orwellian future seen in most science fiction. To keep production costs low and take advantage of an extended break Michael J. Fox had from his show Family Ties, the film was shot back-to-back with sequel Back to the Future Part III.
It took two years to finish the set building and the writing on the script before shooting could finally take place. During the shooting, the appearance of the "aged" characters was a well-guarded secret. Their look was created using state of the art make-up techniques. Michael J. Fox describes the process as very time consuming, "it took over four hours although it could be worse". Principal photography began on February 20, 1989. For a three-week period nearing the conclusion of Part II, the crew split and while most remained shooting Part III, a few, including writer-producer Gale, focused on finishing its predecessor. Zemeckis himself slept only a few hours per day supervising both films, having to fly between Burbank, where Part II was being finished, and other locations in California for Part III.
The film was also considered one of the most ground-breaking projects for Industrial Light & Magic. It was one of the effects house's first forays into digital compositing, as well as the VistaGlide motion control camera system, which enabled them to shoot one of the film's most complex sequences, in which Michael J. Fox played three separate characters, all of whom interacted with each other. Although such scenes were not new, the VistaGlide allowed, for the first time, a completely dynamic scene in which camera movement could finally be incorporated. The technique was also used in scenes where Thomas F. Wilson's character (Biff Tannen) had to interact with a younger version of himself.
As the film neared release, sufficient footage of Back to the Future Part III had been shot to allow a trailer to be assembled. It was therefore added at the conclusion of Part II, before the end credits, as a reassurance to moviegoers that there was more to come.
Replacement of Crispin Glover 
Crispin Glover was asked to reprise the role of George McFly. Glover indicated interest, but could not come to an agreement with the producers regarding his salary. Glover later stated in a 1992 interview on The Howard Stern Show that the producers' highest offer was $125,000, which was less than half of what the other returning cast members were offered. Gale has since asserted that Glover's demands were excessive for an actor of his professional stature at that point in time. For the George McFly character to appear, Zemeckis used some previously filmed footage of Glover from the first film and inter-spliced Jeffrey Weissman, who wore prosthetics including a false chin, nose, and cheekbones and used various obfuscating methods, such as background, sunglasses, rear shot, and even upside-down, to resemble Glover. Dissatisfied with these plans, Glover filed a lawsuit against the producers, including Steven Spielberg, on the grounds that they neither owned his likeness nor had permission to use it. Due to Glover's lawsuit, there are now clauses in the Screen Actors Guild collective bargaining agreements which state that producers and actors are not allowed to use such methods to reproduce the likeness of other actors.
Replacement of Claudia Wells 
Claudia Wells, who had played Marty McFly's girlfriend Jennifer Parker in Back to the Future was to reprise her role, but turned it down due to her mother's ill health. The producers cast Elisabeth Shue instead, which required re-shooting the closing scenes of Back to the Future for the beginning of Back to the Future Part II. The re-shot sequence is a nearly shot-for-shot match with the original with only minor differences such as the dialogue scene where Doc Brown noticeably hesitates before reassuring Marty that his future self is fine – something he did not do in the first film.
It was nearly 10 years before Claudia Wells returned to Hollywood, with a starring role in the 1996 independent film Still Waters Burn. She is one of the few cast members not to make an appearance within the bonus material on the Back to the Future Trilogy DVD set released in 2002. However, Wells is interviewed for the Tales from the Future documentaries in the trilogy's 25th anniversary issue on Blu-ray Disc in 2010. In 2011, Wells finally had the opportunity to reprise her role from Back to the Future, 26 years after her last appearance in the series. She provided the voice of Jennifer Parker for Back to the Future: The Game by Telltale Games.
Rumors and urban legends 
Robert Zemeckis said on the film's behind-the-scenes featurette that the hoverboards (flying skateboards) used in the film were real, yet not released to the public due to parental complaints regarding safety. Footage of 'real hoverboards' was also featured in the extras of a DVD release of the trilogy. A number of people thought he was telling the truth and requested them at toy stores. In an interview, Thomas F. Wilson had said one of the most frequent questions he is asked is if hoverboards are real, to which he replies that they were guided by invisible wires, along with being asked if he fell into actual manure (he did not; it was peat moss). After the release of Part III, Zemeckis explained in another interview that all of the flying scenes were accomplished by a variety of special effects techniques.
Depiction of the future 
According to director Robert Zemeckis, the 2015 depicted in Back to the Future Part II was not meant to be an accurate depiction of the future; "For me, filming the future scenes of the movie were the least enjoyable of making the whole trilogy because I don't really like films that try and predict the future. The only one I've actually enjoyed were the ones done by Stanley Kubrick, and not even he predicted the PC when he made A Clockwork Orange. So rather than trying to make a scientifically sound prediction that we were probably going to get wrong anyway, we figured, let's just make it funny." Despite this, the filmmakers did do some research into what scientists thought may occur in the year 2015. Bob Gale also commented: "We knew we weren't going to have flying cars by the year 2015, but God we had to have those in our movie."
However, the film did accurately predict a number of technological and sociological changes, such as the rise of ubiquitous cameras, influence of Asian nations over the United States (though this was certainly already on the rise at the time of the film's release), flat panel television sets mounted on walls, the ability to watch six channels at once, and increased use of plastic surgery. The film also correctly predicted a future where video games do not need hands (Microsoft Kinect) or at the very least do not need traditional controllers (Wii Remote).
There was high demand for the Nike tennis shoes Marty wears with automatic shoe-laces, which some fans thought to be real. Nike eventually released a real version of their Hyperdunk Supreme shoes, which appear similar to Marty's shoes, in July 2008; fans dubbed them the Air McFly. An inspired fan named Blake Bevin also created shoes that tie themselves in 2010. In late August 2010, Nike filed the patent for self-lacing shoes, and their design bears a resemblance to those worn by Marty McFly in the second film. In September 2011, Nike revealed that their MAG line of shoes would not feature the self-lacing feature shown in the film.
After the Florida Marlins beat the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series, and again in 2003, when the Marlins defeated the Cubs in the NLCS (and subsequently defeated the New York Yankees in the 2003 World Series), rumors circulated that the film predicted (or nearly predicted) the Series' results; however, this was not the case. In the film's future news broadcast, it is announced that the National League Chicago Cubs beat an American League team based in Miami, which was not named but has an alligator logo, in the 2015 World Series. Aside from the incorrect year, the mascot of the team mentioned does not match that of either current Florida-based team, the Miami Marlins or Tampa Bay Rays. At the time the movie was filmed, Florida did not have a Major League Baseball team of their own, but the Miami-based Marlins played their first season in 1993. Beginning with the 2012 season, the Marlins rebranded themselves as the Miami Marlins. At the time of the rebranding, Major League Baseball was planning to move one of the existing National League teams to the AL (American League) so that each league had the same number of teams; some Back to the Future fans as well as baseball fans wanted the Marlins to be the team that made the move to the AL in order the fulfill the "prophecy" in Back to the Future Part II. Although the Marlins were considered as a team that could switch leagues, MLB ultimately decided to move the Houston Astros to the AL for the 2013 MLB season.
Release and reception 
Box office 
Back to the Future Part II hit North American theaters on November 22, 1989, just one day before Thanksgiving Day. The film grossed a total of $43 million across the five-day holiday opening. On the following weekend, it had a drop of over seventy percent with $12 million, but remained atop the box office ranking. Part II's total gross was $118 million in the United States and $332 million worldwide, ranking as 1989's sixth most successful film domestically and the third worldwide—behind Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Batman. However, this was still short of the first film's gross. Part III, which Universal Pictures released only six months later, experienced a similar drop.
Critical reaction 
Back to the Future Part II received generally positive reviews from film critics. As of March 2012, the film has a 64% approval rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 42 reviews with an average rating of 6.1/10.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three out of four stars. Ebert criticized the film for lacking the "genuine power of the original", but praised the film for its slapstick humor and the hoverboard in the film's chase sequence. Janet Maslin of The New York Times remarked that the film is "ready for bigger and better things." Maslin later went on to say that the film "manages to be giddily and merrily mind-boggling rather than confusing." Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader gave the film a negative review, criticizing Zemeckis and Gale for turning the characters into "strident geeks and make the frenetic action strictly formulaic." Variety said, "[Director Robert] Zemeckis' fascination with having characters interact at different ages of their lives hurts the film visually, and strains credibility past the breaking point, by forcing him to rely on some very cheesy makeup designs."
Home media 
Back to the Future was released on VHS and LaserDisc on May 22, 1990. Universal reissued the film on VHS, Laserdisc and Compact disc in 1991, 1995 and 1998.
On March 15, 2002, Universal released the film trilogy in a three disc DVD and three tape VHS boxed set, although widescreen framing problems led to a product recall. The trilogy was released on Blu-ray Disc in October 2010.
Awards and accolades 
The film won the Saturn Award for Best Special Effects for Ken Ralston (the special effects supervisor), a BAFTA Film Award for Ken Ralston, an internet-voted 2003 AOL Movies DVD Premiere Award for the trilogy DVDs, a Golden Screen, a Young Artist Award, and the Favorite Movie Actor (Fox) and Favorite Movie Actress (Thompson) at the 1990 Kids' Choice Awards. It was nominated in 1990 for an Academy Award for Visual Effects.
Most visual effects nominations were due to the development of a new computer-controlled camera system, called VistaGlide, which was invented specifically for this film – it enables one actor to play two or even three characters in the same scene while the boundary between the sections of the split screen and the camera itself can be moving.
See also 
- Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale (2005). Back to the Future Feature: Making the Trilogy Part 2. Los Angeles: Universal Pictures.
- Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale (2005). Back to the Future Part II: Featurette (DVD). Los Angeles: Universal Pictures.
- Weinstein, Steve (February 4, 1989). "Back-to-Back Sequels for 'Back to Future'". Los Angeles Times.
- Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale (2005). Back to the Future Feature: Making the Trilogy Part 3. Los Angeles: Universal Pictures.
- Tales from the Future: Time Flies documentary, Back to the Future Trilogy Blu-ray, 2010
- Glover, Crispin (February 2011) (YouTube video). Crispin Glover on Back to the Future 2. with Simon Mayo. Mark Kermode. Kermode & Mayo. BBC Radio 5 Live. London. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Q7wGsVYydo. Retrieved April 11, 2011.
- "Back to the Future CED Web Page". Cedmagic.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Back to the Future Comparison". YouTube. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Back to the Future – Comparison". YouTube. April 8, 2009. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- "Back to the Future Part 1 & 2 Scene Comparison". YouTube. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- Back to the Future Episode 1: It's About Time Video Game, Exclusive Behind The Scenes Part IV: How We Got Jennifer HD | Video Clip | Game Trailers & Videos | GameTrailers.com. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
- "Thomas F. Wilson's "Biff's Question Song"". YouTube. September 27, 2006. Retrieved October 2, 2011.
- Q&A Commentary with Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, Back to the Future Part II Blu-Ray, 2010
- Tales from the Future: Time Flies, Back to the Future Part II Blu-Ray, 2010
- "11 Predictions That Back to the Future II Got Right".
- Krumboltz, Mike (July 9, 2008). "Walk a Mile in McFly's Shoes". Yahoo Buzz. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
- O'Brien, Terrence (July 6, 2010). "'Back to the Future' Inspired Shoes Really Tie Themselves". Switched.com. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
- Coldewey, Devin (August 25, 2010). "Nike Patenting The Power Laces From Back to the Future II". crunchgear.com. Retrieved February 1, 2011.
- O'Neal, Sean (September 8, 2011). "Nike finally making Back to the Future II's self-lacing shoes for real". A.V. Club. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- Chan, Casey (September 8, 2011). "The Nike Air Mag—AKA the Back to the Future Shoes—Are Real, and They’re Glorious". Gizmodo. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
- "Whirled Series: Did the 1989 film 'Back to the Future II' predict that the Florida Marlins would win the 1997 World Series?". Snopes.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
- Yellon, Al. "A 'Back to the Future' MLB Realignment Scenario – Baseball Nation". Mlb.sbnation.com. Retrieved May 23, 2012.
- MLB, players talk realignment ESPN
- Houston Astros to the American League: MLB Gives New Owner A $70 Million Discount, According To Reports SB Nation
- "SHORT TAKES : 'Back to Future' Falls Off; Still Leads Box Office Pack". Los Angeles Times. December 4, 1989.
- "Back to the Future Part II (1989)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database.
- "Back to the Future Part II". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- Ebert, Roger (November 22, 1989). "Back to the Future: Part II". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- Maslin, Janet (November 22, 1989). "Back to the Future II". The New York Times. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- Rosenbaum, Jonathan (November 22, 1989). "Back to the Future Part II". Chicago Reader. Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- Variety Staff (November 22, 1989). "Back to the Future Part II". Variety (Reed Business Information). Retrieved March 11, 2012.
- "Description of DVD framing fiasco". Various. Archived from the original on February 11, 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2007.
- "Empire: Features". Empire. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Back to the Future Part II|
- Official website
- Back to the Future Part II at the Internet Movie Database
- Back to the Future Part II at AllRovi
- Back to the Future Part II at Rotten Tomatoes