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Back in Time

Back in Time (2015)

October. 20,2015
| Documentary

Cast, crew and fans explore the 'Back to the Future' time-travel trilogy's resonance throughout our culture—30 years after Marty McFly went back in time.


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When this documentary came out (right around 10/21/2015, the date corresponding to when Marty explores his future in BTTF2), it was kind of touted as THE documentary to watch for BTTF fans. If you go into the experience with those kind of expectations, you will probably be disappointed, as that never seems to be the goal here. Instead, to really get the most out of the experience, you have to just sit back and relax, enjoying the fun little moments along the way.What could have (and almost should have, to be honest) destroyed this documentary is the fact that it severely lacks any sense of focus. It meanders here and there, trying to cram in as many BTTF angles as possible. It wants to seriously evaluate the legacy of the film, and does a number of interviews with key cast/crew/writers...but then it also follows around a Delorean rider for awhile...and looks at some BTTF fan events...and takes time to ponder the overall significance of the film's legacies. There are a lot of irons in the fire, to put it mildly, and usually that is a recipe for documentary disaster.Where "Back In Time" is able to pull through, however, is that many of those "odd little moments" are truly special and touching. For example...-An interview with Donald Fullilove, who played Goldie Wilson in the first movie. Just seeing him again will bring a smile to your face! The same for James Tolkan (Mr. Strickland). -A scene in which a man proposes to his girlfriend at a BTTF showing...then is serenaded with "Earth Angel" by none other than Harry Waters Jr. himself. -A couple who restored an old Delorean and are now using it to raise money for the Parkinson's Foundation (the disease that currently afflicts Michael J. Fox).Moments like that are why "Back In Time" is worth watching. It was never supposed to be a "comprehensive review" of the films, even if it seemed to be advertised as such. Instead, it's more of a peek into a few of the ways that the film trilogy has touched and inspired the lives of others.Much like Star Wars (though not at quite that level, obviously), Back To The Future has becoming a cultural institution all its own. The films are watched, re-watched, and then passed on to the next generation to do the same. Even though we are now further into the future than Marty McFly himself actually traveled, it hasn't dulled their value whatsoever. "Back In Time" acknowledges of all that...and then takes "the back roads" in a search for unique and interesting ways in which the films have taken on a life of their own.As such, once you realize what this documentary is/isn't supposed to be, you'll probably be able to enjoy it.


I got the impression that this documentary wanted to produce new material that the countless other BTTF docs haven't. Sadly, I have not seen any of the previous, so I just got fed the leftovers.I'm a fan of the original and the second is one of the most exciting movies I've ever seen in a theatre experience. But, I have somehow stayed away from all the background of the commentaries, documentaries, behind the scenes, etc. Maybe I will someday, and this movie makes me want to.For, it did show how much more I would like to know about the trilogy, but didn't tell me. It's not the worst documentary made about a film I've seen – and I've seen plenty, but it's one of the most blah. That said, I might change my opinion if I get a chance to see all the others. I'm just starting late.So, if you've seen the rest, maybe this new perspective might help. But, if you haven't…I would strongly suggest beginning with anything on the old Blu-ray boxset or the new one that just came out last month. This is coming from someone who hasn't seen them, but longs for more substance than just a grand majority of fans talking.


This has been a long anticipated work which took nearly three years from start to finish.The documentary is very well laid out and has a smooth flow throughout. You could not have assembled a better cast of characters including all the big names yet not leaving out the people most important to the film. These are the fans! It's very interesting to see many of the stars as they look today thirty years after the first film was released. You can tell an enormous amount of leg work and thought went into the process and the results show it. The visuals and sounds were extremely clear and entertaining. It's a film for all ages and will definite motivate and perpetuate the love far into the future!


"Back in Time" seems to proceed from the best of intentions, and I kinda feel bad for expressing any disappointment. There's certainly a lot of material crammed into this thing, but the movie-intensive stuff seems to be at odds with the fan adulation. I approached this as a fan, so I'd heard the commentaries, read the book, heard Bob Gale tell the same making-of story a hundred times, so a great deal of this doc was a retread. Nobody's fault, but it did seem to tease a behind-the-scenes angle that never really materialized.On the plus side (and this is primarily if you're fairly new to "Back to the Future"), like I said, there's a lot of stuff here. Michael J. Fox had some good anecdotes, the restoration of the A-car was kinda cool, as well as the Secret Cinema portion. And some of the fan-based material is genuinely touching, particularly the cerebral palsy guy and the cancer survivor.But really, this is for the general fan, and there's nothing wrong with that. Have at it.6/10