King of the 80s feelgood movies, "Back to the Future" arrives onto a genuinely exciting DVD, as part of a three disc boxset that includes the two follow-ups which brought a little dignity to the word 'sequel'.
Picture There's a fine grain to the picture, but it's no different to the original look of the movie when it ran in the cinemas. The colours are fresh, the special effects look more stunning than before, and there's not a flaw to be found in the print used for the transfer.
Sound It seems that the US DVD will have to miss out on the DTS track included on this UK Region 2 DVD. They'll still be getting the Dolby 5.1 version, which, although quite subtle, has some new clever speaker-swapping effects, and kicks in for the time travel moments. It's a little lighter in bass compared to the DTS version, which carries more depth for the fantastic music score.
Audio Commentary The commentary is taken from a Q & A between writer Bob Gale and director Robert Zemeckis recorded at the University of Southern California. Both concentrate on unearthing a variety of hilarious anecdotes which they discuss in detail. All the best ones contain references to the then head of the company, Sid Sheinberg.
Sid attached four notes to the screenplay of "Back to the Future" on changes he wanted made. Both the Bobs had to be careful how they handled these. First, he wanted rid of the name Professor Brown. The Bobs changed that to 'Doc'. Doc had a chimp as a mascot, but that had to go too. After much discussion, the chimp was replaced by a dog. The third note ordered a change to the name of the mother, along with the suggestion that they use his wife's name, Lorraine, as inspiration. No problem.
It was the final note that had them worried sick. Sid sent a memo saying, "No one is going to see a movie with 'future' in the title". He hated the title, but came up with a better replacement: "Spaceman from Pluto"! Find out how that was resolved along with many other amusing problems on the DVD.
Making of This is a 14-minute original featurette made to coincide with the release of the movie. There is a little chat about the characters and plot, but despite this, it's interesting to watch. There's some good behind-the-scenes footage and Michael J Fox is the epitome of fresh-faced charm.
Making of the Trilogy: Chapter One At 15 minutes long, this retrospective featurette feels a little short, but each moment is a quality one. The germination and long development process of the script is explored in detail. Every studio in town turned it down. Disney thought the son/mother relationship was "too dirty", and there were numerous issues to resolve, including what would the time machine be? A fridge was a serious contender for a while!
Filming did start with Eric Stoltz in the lead part, and although there are only stills available of him in the role, the story behind it all is covered. It's very strange indeed seeing Stolz in classic moments of the movie, and he really looks out of place.
Outtakes Two minutes of amusing outtakes, including Michael J Fox pretending to be a Hispanic gang member.
Deleted Scenes Eight minutes of deleted footage, and it's well worth a look. Some good material was left out of the movie, especially with Christopher Lloyd.
Additional Special Features Also on the DVD is make-up tests footage, two storyboard comparisons, Marty McFly image gallery, behind-the-scenes image gallery, DeLorean designs image gallery, time travel sequence designs image gallery, and a trailer.
Ratio: 1.85:1 (anamorphic)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1
Technical Features: Scene selection, animated menus, and English subtitles.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-S57 DVD player.
"Back to the Future" is available as part of a trilogy DVD boxset.