Back to the Future Part II (1989)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Comedy, Sci-Fi Adventure  |   Release Date - Nov 22, 1989 (USA)  |   Run Time - 108 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Although it was filmed at the same time as (and released only months before) Back to the Future Part III, the second installment of the series seems more like it should have been filmed alongside the first. That's because the most interesting aspect of the middle film is that it returns to the events of that fateful Saturday night in 1955, adding an additional Marty to the one who attended the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, requiring perfect re-creations of original scenes (from different angles), and further heaping on the conundrums. Unfortunately, this brilliant extension of the hit first film's logic is muted by director Robert Zemeckis' garish vision of the altered future. A successful sequel duplicates the characteristics that drew audiences to the original, but Zemeckis saps the buoyant spirit from the series by presenting a world dominated by the pimp-like, unimaginably wealthy and vulgar Biff (Thomas F. Wilson). The existence of a functioning time machine begged a voyage to the future, and the end of Back to the Future previewed such, but it wasn't necessary to make it such a queasy trip. The film gets back on track when it jumps into the climax of the original, but the ending is unresolved and wanting, making the audience hunger for the next installment, but also leaving them scratching their heads, unfulfilled. Zemeckis gets points for innovation and narrative daring, and the familiar cast duplicates its earnest effort, but the spirit of the series only comes back to life in Back to the Future Part III, the admittedly hokey Western that concludes the series.