Movie Review: Back to the Future Part III (1990)

Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Mary Steenbergen

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

In the third and final chapter of Marty and Doc’s time travelling adventures Marty finds himself stuck in 1955 with Doc stuck even further back in 1885. Marty decides to go back to the old Wild West to retrieve his good friend so they can both travel back to the future together.

This is my third consecutive evening watching the Back to the Future trilogy and while the first movie was great on so many levels the following two movies didn’t come close to equaling or surpassing it. This movie has a lot more comedy or at least attempted comedy than the other two movies and I feel the comedy generally has worked best throughout the series of movies while being set in the past. I feel the older jokes that make reference to the future (1985) just hit the mark a lot more than jokes that are meant to bring back some kind of nostalgia. While most of the comedy in this third part was very funny there were some moments which fell short and didn’t manage to get even the slightest of smirks out of me.

As I’ve said in both my previous movie reviews, Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown is superb and has been throughout the entire trilogy. He really loses himself within the character and makes you believe he is who he is portraying off set as well as on it. Thomas F. Wilson who has played the bully character of Biff throughout the movie series returns once more to play Biff’s great grandfather Buford ‘Mad Dog’ Tannen and for me this was his best performance. When compared to 1955 and future Biff, this role by far and away overshadows what he has done beforehand as once again he plays a psychotic member of the Tannen family. There were a lot of running jokes to be enjoyed here too, especially the one with Biff/Buford and the manure wagons, while predictable it still gets a laugh. The one running gag that I don’t like however is the one where Marty over reacts to being called a chicken/coward, while it was alright the first time I think the joke ran its course about halfway through the second movie and should’ve stopped as it started to become annoying.

There was a lot that I liked during the course of this movie but unfortunately was quite a bit that made me pull a face which can only be described as my “lame face”. This particular face only occurs when I’m deeply perplexed and left scratching my head when I think something has happened which falls under the realms of ridiculousness. This occurred a couple of times during the movie but most noticeably at the ending when Doc rides in on his new time travelling train. I thought Doc getting the girl and hovering away into the distance as Marty transported back to the eighties was the perfect ending for the character and we didn’t need to see him again and the way he was reintroduced just left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Overall, Back to the Future Part III was on par with the second movie but both fell way short of first film. I liked the wild west setting but the final few scenes just left me a little deflated. Overall a fairly decent trilogy which would be reasonably average if it wasn’t for the greatness of the first Back to the Future movie.


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