Back To The Future Part II

Featured In Issue 202, December 2015

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment
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Robert Zemeckis
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"Getting back was only the beginning." Following the phenomenal success of the first movie, a sequel was inevitable. Picking up where the last movie ended, "Back To The Future Part II" has Marty (Fox), Doc Brown (Lloyd), and Jennifer (Elisabeth Shue taking over for Claudia Wells) racing off to the future, where Marty ends up purchasing a sports almanac and unknowingly changes history. Biff (Wilson) steals the book and as a result disrupts the space-time continuum, creating an alternate 1985 that Marty and Doc return to. This leads to Marty's attempts to retrieve the book from Biff to set history back on its correct course. And in a dazzling display of showmanship on the part of the filmmakers, we are treated to an inventive reenactment of the Enchantment Under The Sea dance sequence from the first movie from a totally new perspective. While the sports book is retrieved, Marty never corrects the parallel existence, and Doc is accientally sent back in time to 1885, which leads to a classic cliffhanger ending. Look for future "Lord Of The Rings" star Elijah Wood as a video game-playing kid in the Cafe 80s. (Michael Coate)

The second film in the Back To The Future 25th Anniversary Trilogy, special features on "Back To The Future Part II" include Q&A commentary with Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale; feature commentary with Producers Gale and Neil Canton; seven deleted scenes with optional commentary by Gale; the featurettes "Tales From The Future: Time Flies" (HD 28:37) and "The Physics Of Back To The Future With Dr. Michio Kaku" (HD 08:25); the following archival featurettes: "The Making Of Back To The Future Part II" (SD 06:40) and "Making The Trilogy: Chapter Two" (SD 15:30); "Behind The Scenes," which includes the following: outtakes, the featurettes "Production Design" (SD 02:55), "Storyboarding" (SD 01:29), "Designing The DeLorean" (SD 03:31), "Designing Time Travel" (SD 02:41), "Hoverboard Test" (SD 00:58), and "Evolution Of Visual Effects Shots" (SD 05:42), as well as five photo galleries; the theatrical trailer; My Scenes; D-BOX Motion Code; BD-Live; U-Control™; up-front previews; and a digital copy.

The previously reviewed anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD exhibited a slightly cleaner picture than Part One, but still had a similar look as far as the color scheme. This new Blu-ray Disc™ presentation delivers richer and better balanced hues with accurate fleshtones and deep blacks. Contrast and shadow delineation are quite satisfying throughout. Images exhibit satisfying sharpness and detail, though, some scenes are still softly focused. As before, the visual effects can provide an amplified perception of film grain, but the darker scenes with effects are quite impressive, considering the technological advances since this film was released. While not pristine throughout, the restoration is well executed and will please fans with a picture that is the best that this property has looked. (Gary Reber)

The sound on the DTS-HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack seems to be a marginal improvement over the original's sound in terms of fidelity. Overall, the sound is smoother and richer. Otherwise, it is quite similar in terms of spatiality. Like the first movie, some deep bass can be noticed with the music score as well as some effects via .1 LFE activity, but, in general, really deep bass does not seem to be a significant factor. Surround envelopment is at times sparingly aggressive, with a typically subtle-to-moderate presence, but during action scenes effectively aggressive. Scenes involving the Delorean time machine are frequently engaging with enhanced motion effects. Alan Silvestri's orchestral score is the most impressive element, with a wide and deep soundstage and enveloping presence in the surround. The dialogue is presented with clarity and reasonably natural tonality and spatial integration. The back and forth soundscapes often enliven the storytelling, for a fun sonic adventure. (Gary Reber)