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John Chard
You gotta go forward to save the past and back to alter the future. Yikes! Back to the Future Part II sees Marty & Jennifer coerced by Doc into travelling forward in time to correct the future. But Biff is still around and spies an opportunity for untold riches; which he takes. Meaning our three time travelling wonders have to find a way back to the past to stop Biff from changing the course of history. The gargantuan, and deserved, success of Back To The Future ensured {demanded} that a sequel would follow. So taking the bull by the horns, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gray crafted not only a sequel, but a trilogy, of which part two is ultimately a sort of interim plot filler for the finale to come a year later. There's no doubt about it, part two is at first a puzzle box of a picture, one that had this particular viewer back in the day venturing in for multiple viewings to unravel the deft, daft, but intricate plot. I have grown to love part two very much as I have got older, with each viewing tending to reward me just a little bit more. Directed with absolute keenness by Zemeckis, the film moves at such a pace there is barely time to catch breath, something that hardly helps one to follow exactly what is going on. But it does make sense under scrutiny, and as we lurch from one magnificent set piece to another, we find a dark undercurrent of bleakness in amongst the froth. The makers offer up two visions of the future, one is all colourful and swamped in glorious 80s nostalgia, yet it's knowingly enveloped in consumerism and hi-tech reliability. The other is bitten by greed and almost under despotic control, it's food for thought and rather wry in its telling. Not content with that, the makers whisk us back to 1955 just to remind us that a time of innocence and hope did exist; and simultaneously with skill they repeat the ending of part one with the additional story of part two! Clever eh? The returning cast are again uniformly strong {Michael J. Fox, Thomas F. Wilson & Christopher Lloyd} while Elisabeth Shue confidently steps into Jennifer's shoes after Claudia Wells {Jennifer in part one} fell ill and was unable to continue the role. Alan Silvestri's score still packs a cross dimension's punch and the effects crew again come up trumps {it's ace in HD}. It now can be seen as the bridge between two better movies, that's for sure, but I liken it to Spielberg's Temple Of Doom-more darker than the more favourable films in a series; but one that is crucially still having fun. It may be a high-tempo ball of funny confusion at times, but this one, courtesy of it's ream of homages and sly observations, is one of the best trilogy sandwich fillers going. Munch it. 8/10

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