I can still remember the first time I watched this film… I was no more than 9 or 10 years old, and I thought it was the greatest movie of all time! In my mind, it had it all – a time-travelling pooch, a car that left awesome flame tracks in its wake, and a guy who hitched high-speed skateboard rides from trucks! In fact, so appealing were those skateboard rides to me that I talked my parents into buying me one (wisely purchased at a garage sale), which I sold soon after when I discovered that I was spending more time on the ground than on the board.
That was what I got from the movie the first time around. I had not watched it all through again until today, and I’m pleased to say that I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, this time! I found that, years later, I still loved the easy-going Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and the crazy “Doc” (Christopher Lloyd)… I also found that the plot still kept me entertained. But what really drove me to blog about this film was the realization of how well put-together everything in it is. There is not a single detail out of place!
For starters, the opening scene of the movie introduces us to the Doc’s workshop, which is packed with clocks. While this clearly serves to alert the viewer to the overriding theme of the movie (hint hint, time-travel), it also serves the higher purpose of fleshing out Doc’s character. Although the audience does not know it at the time, they will later come to realize that Doc is obsessed with clocks because of the events that happened thirty years before!
The seemingly unimportant dinner scene is also packed with details that the audience will only appreciate after watching the film through in its entirety. For example, when Lorraine is telling her kids about how she and George met, we don’t make anything of the fact that George is overly distracted with the TV. Only later do we tie this in with the fact that he was a “peeping Tom.” A less noticeable detail, yet one I found interesting all the same, is that they are watching the exact same episode of The Honeymooners that Lorraine’s family is watching when Marty has dinner with them in 1955.
My personal favorite minor detail is the Twin Pines Mall sign. When they are in the mall parking lot, the Doc mentions that he remembers when Mr. Peabody, a man who grew pines, owned that land. Later on, when Marty travels to the past, he ends up on Mr. Peabody’s ranch, where he runs over a pine tree. This is seemingly unimportant, until later in the film, when Marty returns to the mall, and we see that the sign now says: Lone Pine Mall. To me, it is the little things like these that show how much thought a filmmaker puts into a movie!