By Allison Skornick-Rose

Oct 19, 2020 12:39 PM EST

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Back to the Future: The Ultimate Trilogy 4K Ultra HD Review

Fox, who was doing double duty while making the first film (he was still working on his sitcom, Family Ties at the same time) was the perfect Marty.

If you were a teenager in the 1980's you should definitely remember what movie this line is from…" Are you telling me you built a time machine…out of a DeLorean?"  Amazingly, it was thirty-five years ago when the first Back to the Future movie screeched into theaters at 88 miles per hour.  Four years later the time travelers were back in the sequel and the third installment came a year later making Back to the Future a very successful trilogy.  Since then there have been other home entertainment releases but for the thirty-fifth anniversary, Universal Pictures has decided to give all three movies the royal treatment and are releasing them (finally!) in 4K UHD.

For those who are unfamiliar with, or who have simply forgotten, the plot, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox; Secret of My Success) is friends with the local "mad scientist", Doc Emmitt Brown (Christopher Lloyd; Who Framed Roger Rabbit).  When Doc calls Marty and tells him to meet Doc at precisely 1:15 am at the Twin Oaks Mall, Marty has no idea what to expect.  When he finds Doc he is shocked to discover Doc has made a machine out of a sports car.  Suddenly, the bad guys show up and shoot Doc as Marty jumps into the DeLorean to escape but finds himself traveling back to the 1950s.  

With the incredible success of the first film, a sequel was planned where Marty jumps ahead to the future in order to save his kids.  Then five years after the first film, the third movie in the trilogy was released.  This time Marty travels back 100 years to help Doc escape after he becomes trapped in the "wild west" but sadly Marty arrived back in the 1980's alone fearing Doc has been lost forever.  Of course, Doc shows up in a "tricked out" locomotive train to impart some wisdom on Marty before he is off again, time-traveling somewhere else.

Fox, who was doing double duty while making the first film (he was still working on his sitcom, Family Ties at the same time) was the perfect Marty.  The story famously goes that the part of Marty originally went to Eric Stoltz (Some Kind of Wonderful) but several weeks into shooting he was replaced with Fox after the producers decided Stoltz was making the role much more serious than they had planned, considering the film is a comedy. Fox, conversely, brought his youthful demeanor and comedic timing to the role and he and Lloyd seem to have great chemistry.  

This restoration transfer to 4K with enhancements through Dolby Vision is excellent.  While there are still some flaws, the picture quality is sharp, and the color palette is bright and true.  The Dolby Atmos audio is equally as strong with ambient noise enveloping the viewer from all sides.   The dialog isn't as clean and, especially in the first film, can sound a little "muddy". Overall, it's a terrific transfer/upgrade.  

The discs don't offer any newly released extras however, there is a disc of extras that are included with this set which does have some never before seen extras.  They include: Lost Audition Tapes (Ben Stiller, Kyra Sedgwick, Jon Cryer, Billy Zane, Peter DeLuise, and C. Thomas Howell), The Hollywood Museum Goes Back to the Future Featurette on this exhibition, Back to the Future: The Musical Featurette, Q&A, Original Songs, Could you survive the movies? Back to the Future laws of physics a YouTube episode, 2015 message from Doc Brown, Restoring the DeLorean, Looking Back to the Future - multi-part Documentary, Back to the Future: The Animated Series episodes, and 2015 Commercials (Jaws 19 and Hoverboard).
The first Back to the Future film will undoubtedly go down in film history, keep Fox's, Lloyd's, and director Robert Zemeckis' (Forrest Gump) vision alive.  The latter two films aren't as good, but they also aren't so awful as to be mockeries of the first movie.  

This is a well-done restoration and a beautifully packaged combination set.  If you have a Back to the Future fan in your household this would make for an excellent holiday gift (wink, wink).  Available October 20th from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Grade: A-
 

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MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 116 minutes
Distributed By: Universal Pictures

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