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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras
  • 4 Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 2 Featurette
  • 4 Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • Awards/Nominations
  • 1 Storyboards
  • Outtakes
  • DTS trailer

Back to the Future Part II

Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 104 mins . PG . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Following hot on the heels of the first episode in the Back to the Future trilogy, at least story-wise (for as cinemagoers we had to wait four years), having set up the whole time travel device already this second instalment wastes no time getting into the whole wayback machine (or perhaps wayforward machine would be more apt in this case?) action, taking up pretty much exactly from where we left Marty, Doc Brown and Jennifer.

After certain revelations at the end of the first film, certain characters hop into a certain souped up time machine and jump forward to a certain time in the future, in order to prevent certain potentially catastrophic events occurring. Duly done, it’s time for said certain characters to hop back to a certain present-type time, however it seems a certain something is certainly not quite right – REALLY not quite right at all.

"Obviously the time continuum has been disrupted, creating this new temporal event sequence resulting in this alternate reality."

What certain thing could these certain characters have done to muck up the past? Or was it actually nothing to do with these certain characters, but rather another certain character? So now it’s time for certain characters to travel back to another certain time to attempt to prevent a certain unexpected certain event from certainly happening.

Right. If any email is received accusing me of divulging spoilers, the sender will get a mighty tirade in return, OK?!

As alluded to earlier, it took a few years, but most of the original Back to the Future team reconvened to finally set the wheels of the almost inevitable sequel wagon into action (Jennifer inexplicably changed, as did George McFly if you’re eagle eyed enough to spot the one scene this impostor appears in). Some may feel that these wheels start off a little wobbly, as things kick off at such an alarming pace that it’s almost a case of sensory overload, however things do settle down to a less brain-frying, less paradoxical pace after a while and we’re delivered a fantastic follow-up feature, complete with some incredible work in recreating scenes from the first film and adding a whole new dimension to them. Future scenes are packed with sci-fi references for train – erm – spacecraft spotters (the railroad lovers will have to wait until the third instalment) as well as many great faux-retro ‘80s references (for it’s an ‘80s film of course – confused yet?) which are all the more enjoyable now that some time has passed (and a big “YAY!” for the M-M-M-Max Headroom nods).

Did we really wear stuff like that? Did we really do THAT to our hair? Did we REALLY buy Huey Lewis records?!

  Video
Contract

After the amazing quality the first film in the series spoiled us with on DVD, you’d be forgiven for thinking that things surely couldn’t get any better – but amazingly they have. With a somewhat newer film to work from, the 1.85:1 anamorphically enhanced transfer bestowed upon Back to the Future II is even better than the first, exhibiting slightly better colour, and even less in the way of grain, shimmering and aliasing type gremmies than the first film served up – and there were precious few worthy of mention in that anyway. Oh, before anybody gets all techie on my bottom, the only exception to this is some footage that’s shown from the flick A Fist Full of Dollars, OK? Otherwise, the sharpness and detail are exemplary, delivering the film to us with a clarity that is beyond what any of us could have ever dreamed of.

Really the only negative comment that could be made is in relation to the layer change, which occurs mid-scene. Although it’s basically a static shot, the audio is affected momentarily, however to put it in perspective, most layer changes on most other discs are more noticeable than this.

  Audio
Contract

Forget the original cinematic Dolby Stereo mix, for once again it has been thrown out with the bathwater, in favour of lovingly remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes. Purists may start flapping their arms wildly in objection upon reading this, however in writing this I have one advantage – I’ve actually heard it (heehee, nyahh nyahh!), and a sensational job has been done. Rather than going nuts throwing this sound out there and that sound over here, sensibly it’s all been done rather subtly – but unquestioningly effectively – to deliver a delightfully immersive experience for the second instalment of the trilogy. There are some nice rear effects at times, and the subwoofwoof gets the odd chance to strut its stuff in a way to please its master (or, as the case may be, mistress!) – sometimes bolstering certain effects, other times adding a little oomph to the score...

Once again Alan Silvestri was called in for musical duties, and once again he came up with a score that suits the film perfectly, adding much to the whole BTTF experience. Once again this is bolstered by the odd pop song, a certain Beat It by a certain Michael Jackson being one prominent example.

You’d be hard pressed to notice any synch problems – unless you glue your nose to the screen and spot the occasional line that was obviously dubbed in later, and nobody should have problems understanding anything as a perfect balance has been achieved between dialogue, effects and music.

  Extras
Contract

The clock tower theme of the first disc’s menu is continued here, this time with a shot of the building from the future supplemented by almost imperceptible animation. While not hiding away as many goodies as the first disc, there’s still a reasonable amount of extras action for fans to hunker down with and gain a little more time in the world of Marty, Doc Brown and associates...

Featurette - Back to the Future II: While nowhere near as interesting as the equivalent included on the disc for the first movie, this brief (6:41) full frame piece of fluff has brief snippet interviews with director Zemeckis, writer Gale, actor Fox and a few crew members, however whilst showing some interesting behind the scenes stuff there’s not a lot to get all cock-a-hoop about.

Documentary - Making the Trilogy – Chapter II: Now this is more like it – super-fan Laurent Bouzereau returns with the continuation of that which was started on the first disc, and this 15:31 doco makes up for any shortcomings that the other featurette threw up. If you’re a fan you must see this, as it offers some fascinating insights into character motivation and the production in general.

Outtakes: Don’t blink! If you do you may miss this 50 second collection of random un-enhanced 1.85:1 on-set silliness.

Deleted Scenes: Running for a total of 3:16, this selection of four deletions doesn’t always deliver completed sound, but these are a must-look for any fan as they could have had a marked effect on the story.

Hoverboard Test: Simply 58 seconds of silent footage showing people on wires shooming about all over the place practicing for the hoverboard scenes.

Storyboards: Actually this should be billed in the singular tense, as there is only one storyboard – for another board, one of the hover variety. Running for 2:54, this once again carries sketches in the top half of the screen, and the corresponding film in the bottom half as Marty whizzes through Hill Valley on the Mattel-branded device.

Production Archives: Once again we get four photo galleries, more specifically the Marty McFly Photo Album with 35 stills and promotional shots; Behind the Scenes with 13 snaps; 32 images appear in Futuristic Designs, which pretty much describes itself and there are 26 Vehicles of the Future for sci-fi revheads to get excited over.

Theatrical Trailer: Another somewhat lacklustre full screen trailer, running for 2:17 and carrying Dolby Digital stereo sound.

  Overall  
Contract

When the weakest episode in a series of three films is as enjoyable as this, you simply can’t lose. And when it’s delivered with such exemplary quality in the video and audio departments, you only have cause to be absolutely elated. AND when you can score this and the two other films in one funky box (well, that’s an assumption, the piccies look impressive but we weren’t actually given one – humph!) for the bargain suggested retail of $59.95 then this is one of those no-brainer decisions – if you’re a Back to the Future fan then you have a lot to get excited about.


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      And I quote...
    "When the weakest episode in a series of three films is as enjoyable as this, you simply can’t lose..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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