Back in the 1980’s there was a little science fiction comedy film that came out called Back to the Future. The impact this film had on mainstream audiences around the world is almost unfathomable. 30 years after its release date people are still talking about this film and the effect it has had on their lives. In 2015, on the anniversary of the first film, a documentary was released called Back in Time. This film was released on Blu-ray and DVD on burnable discs. This year an edition was created with pressed discs. So the question is should you drive down to the store at 88 miles per hour to get Back in Time or would doing so create a temporal displacement in the fabric of time and space? Read on to find out!
This documentary is really a love letter to the fans. A good portion of the story is dedicated to their efforts to keep a part of their childhood and fandom alive. Granted, some of the parts almost come off as a commercial for the businesses they are involved in. I found this to be the case with the company who built small personal aircraft (a reference to Back to the Future II‘s flying cars of 2015) and of course the company trying to make pretty impractical Hover Boards.
There is plenty of screen time given to the main cast (sans Thomas F Wilson who is forever trying to live down playing Biff and Crispin Glover’s George McFly). The list of interviewees is fairly large with Director-Writer Robert Zemeckis, Writer Bob Gale, Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly), Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown), Lea Thompson (Lorraine Baines/McFly), Steven Spielberg (Executive Producer), Claudia Wells (Jennifer Parker), Huey Lewis (Musician), James Tolkan (Mr. Strickland), Donald Fullilove (Goldie Wilson), cinematographer Dean Cundey, and composer Alan Silvestri.
It was fun to listen to the stories behind how difficult it was to get the movie picked up for distribution and funding. Frankly, it gives a sobering reminder of just hard it is to break into the industry even with a great story. There is quite a bit of focus on the DeLorean car and how it was a main character in it’s own right. We are shown restoration attempts and people building their own cars as well as cover bands that dress as the cast. It really is a broad spectrum of how ingrained the story and characters have become in many people’s lives.
Audio and Visuals:
The audio included on this DVD release is 2.0 and Dolby Digital 5.1. Since this release is a documentary it mostly consists of talking heads and static shots, so there isn’t much surround sound used. I found the audio easy to hear and adequate for its purposes. Subtitles are included in English.
There are many different sources used for the video material, so the picture quality varies. The archival video and snapshots look pixelated, but there really isn’t much anyone can do about that. Back in Time did have a Blu-Ray release in 2015 (albeit via a burnable disc), so the modern interviews are a good quality even when presented here in standard definition. I would say that this DVD version has a decent but not spectacular quality and it is certainly fine if you know what you are getting into beforehand.
Unfortunately, the special features did not come over from the Blu-ray release. This version only has the main feature documentary and scene selection. You are looking at about 35 minutes worth of bonus material that is not included on this version. I am not sure what the reason for this is but that might be a deal breaker for some looking to purchase a DVD version of Back in Time.
This disc touches quite a bit on the impact Back to the Future has had in the last 30 years in its 95 minute run time. If you are looking for a documentary that strictly discusses the filming of the first movie then you might be disappointed by the broad areas this doc covers. If you are a super fan like those interviewed, then you probably already know all the information presented. If you already own the 2015 version of the film I don’t think it’s worth a double dip just to get a pressed disc, especially since you lose out on the additional features. However, if you don’t already own it and you are looking to spend a little time with the makers of the film and its fans, then I recommend you check out Back in Time.
Note: This DVD was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.