Tuesday, November 13, 2012

2012 King of the Hill: November Part 1

Remember Remember the 12th of November
Last night, my roommate and I sat down for a mini-marathon of Back to the Future movies.  Monday is one of the better nights on television for shows, so we were not able to get through all three movies.  We did at least manage to sit through the first two films.  This movie trilogy have always been a favorite of mine and it's time to a good old fashioned review of these two classic 80's films and determine the current King of the Hill winner for November.

For those who do not know, the 2012 King of the Hill Movie Challenge is my system for determining the best movie of year that I saw. One movie from each month will be selected and, at the end of the year, I will do a tournament style showdown where they will take each other on until the final movie has been selected. Bracket placement will be determined by the number of movies the monthly movie faced and won.

Back to the Future v Back to the Future II
I would love nothing more than to consider the three Back to the Future films one giant movie and end it at that.  While the second movie does end on a cliff hanger, they definitely are each their own movie and need to be treated this way.

Back to the Future was the movie that started it all.  Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) and Doctor Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd) are close friends with a former relationship to each other that is not established on camera.  Doc Brown, after thirty years of work, has invented a time machine in the body of a Delorean.  While fueled, the Delorean needs to only hit 88 miles per hour before it sends the occupant in time to the designated location.

In the first movie, Marty accidentally goes back in time to the day Doc Brown comes up with his invention.  Stranded, he has to enlist the help of Doc Brown from the past timeline to return home.  The mission is relatively simple, Marty needs to drive the DeLorean into a wire at the second it is hit by lightning so that the power can be used to travel back to the future.  However, the timeline is messed up when Marty accidentally prevents his parents from falling in love.  Before he can return home, he needs to fix the timeline.

In the sequel, Marty and Doc Brown go to the future to prevent Marty's son from getting sentenced to jail which starts a ripple effect of horrific purposes.  While in the future, Biff Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) travels back in time to 1955 to give his younger self a sports almanac.  This almanac allows Biff to win countless fortunes by gambling in sports.  In this new dystopian future, only Doc Brown and Marty McFly remember life before Biff became a wealthy megalomaniac.  They travel back in time to 1955 to prevent Biff from using the sports almanac.

While both movies are great in their own right, there is no doubt that the first Back to the Future wins out as the better film.  The first film is filled with all kinds of small Easter eggs.  If you know where to look, you can find small timeline changes that even long-time fans of the film might have missed.  For example, I'm not sure I ever noticed before that Twin Pines Mall becomes Lone Pine Mall after Marty destroys one of the pine trees.  Back to the Future is also a treasure trove for discussions with friends.

There is also one, very damaging continuity error in the second film.  According to the very words of Doc Brown, Biff Tannen of the future should not have been able to return to the same future that Doc Brown and Marty were in.  That timeline ceased to exist the second Biff brought back the sports almanac.  So, while the second movie did make me want a hover board and a flying car, it doesn't have the epic nature of the first film.

Winner:  Back to the Future

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