Back to the Future: Past, Present, and Future

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  • Topic: Back to the Future, Back to the Future Part II, Back to the Future Part III
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  • Published : March 24, 2013
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Jeff Harber

Professor Barnaby Palmer

GLA 618 OL1: Film Music History

6 December 2012

Back to the Future: Past, Present, and Future

Whether you are a movie buff or just a dude from the 80's, there is a good chance you have seen the classic movie “Back to the Future.” Accompanied by an iconic cast and crew, the movie garnered so much popularity, Universal Studios pumped out three installments of the Trilogy --”Back to the Future 1, 2, and 3. With Steven Spielberg's and Robert Zemeckis' stamp, Back to the Future not only launched Michael J. Fox's career, but undoubtedly changed movies forever. There is much to discuss and analyze about all three installments. These would include actor choices, spotting, direction, acting, and most importantly the soundtrack and musical choices for all 3. Considering all 3 movie plots jump from decade to decade, it can be analyzed literally from past, present, and future. Inevitably, Back to the Future's success also led to several video game launches, a ride at Universal Studios in Hollywood and Orlando, an animated series, and even a comic book.

Let's go back to the year 1985, you and your bodacious friends want to hang ten with the dudes, so you guys catch a flick at the local cineplex. Your choices are Mask, Teen Wolf, or Back to the Future. You mean the guy from Family Ties? So you take your chances on Back to the Future. Good choice! Of all things, Eric Stolz, the main actor in Mask, was originally cast for the role of Marty Mcfly when production of Back to the Future began on November 26,1984. Stoltz was filmed for four weeks, but after seeing a rough cut, Steven Spielberg and the writer/directors decided that Stoltz had played the role “too seriously” for a comedy, and he was replaced by Michael J. Fox (Futurepedia).

Back To The Future was written by Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis, and mainly starred Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. The movie opened on July 3, 1985 and grossed $210 million at the US box office, making it the highest grossing film of 1985 (IMDb).

The basic synopsis of Back to the Future 1, is about a young man named Marty Mcfly who accidentally travels into the past and jeopardizes his own future existence. With the help of an eccentric local scientist named Dr. Emmett L. Brown, he manages to travel back in time via a time machine made from a DeLorean. This was done by breaking the time barrier in what was called temporal displacement allowing it to travel along the space-time continuum. When the first script was made, a refrigerator was the planned prop for the time machine. Later Steven Spielberg decided he didn't want kids trapped inside their refrigerators trying to play time traveling games (Funtrivia).

Done carefully, Bones Howe (music supervisor) and Alan Silvestri (composer) gathered an array of perfectly fit songs to cater both the 1950's as well as the 1980's. The movie jumps from decade to decade throughout the movie, and makes it apparent when it does. The movie starts out when Marty is late for school, he gets on his skateboard and we hear a fantastic song by Huey Lewis and the News, the "Power of Love." Later in the movie, we hear another solid track by Huey Lewis entitled "Back in Time." By the way, Huey Lewis makes a cameo as a judge. When Marty tries out for the school competition, Huey says, "hold it. hold it...I'm afraid you are just too darn loud." This is also considered diagetic music in the film.

Marty's first time travel sent him to the year 1955. Marty, immediately, arrives at the Twin Pines Ranch, which was owned by Otis Peabody. Marty crashes into the barn on Mr. Peabody's property which causes the entire Peabody family to wake up and come outside. Marty encounters many differences between 1985 and 1955, including a cleaner, less run-down ambiance in the Courthouse Square. While searching for a younger Doc Brown, he meets his father and accidentally interferes with the first meeting of his...
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