Not to be cute, but Back To The Future has a fascinating relationship with time – and it doesn’t really have anything to do with the plot of the movie’s movement through it. As a means of contrasting the story’s two different eras, both 1985 and 1955 are purposefully hallmarked with specific details, and yet 35 years after its original release it remains as fresh as ever. The reason for this is subject matter that can make great fodder for debate between cinephiles, but one person with a very clear view on the question is writer/producer Bob Gale.
A brand new 4K edition of the Back To The Future trilogy has been released in celebration of the first movie’s latest milestone anniversary, and in promotion of the home video release I had the wonderful pleasure of talking with Bob Gale about the legacy of the original film. I began our conversation searching for his thoughts regarding the timelessness of the beloved blockbuster, and he provided multiple arguments – beginning with the pure relatability of the story:
Reading that quote (or hearing him say it in the video at the top of the article), I’m sure many of you immediately thought about when this realization kicked in for you personally, and that perfectly proves the Back To The Future filmmaker’s point. We all have a different relationship with our parents than anyone on Earth because our closeness to them, and that closeness has a way of stopping us from observing their humanity like we do in others. Marty McFly’s journey is that process turned into a first-hand experience.
Those who know about the origins of Back To The Future know that this particular revelation was key to the inception of the film, as Bob Gale was first inspired to write the script when he found his father’s old high school yearbook and pondered whether or not he would have been friends with his dad had they grown up as peers. We all have some kind of experience like that, and every generation will – which is what allows the time travel film to age like a fine wine. Gale continued,
That universal revelation will forever let audiences connect with the journey of Marty McFly, but it can be recognized that not every aspect of Back To The Future is totally timeless, and it’s something that Bob Gale freely admits. Citing a specific example, the writer/producer pointed to the drink order that Michael J. Fox's Marty places when he sits down at a diner in 1955, but also explained why it really doesn’t matter in the big picture:
Speaking of 17-year-old George McFly, as originally portrayed by Crispin Glover, it’s not only Marty’s journey that provides emotional power to the themes of Back To The Future, as Bob Gale also pointed out the wonderful motivational side of the classic blockbuster. While only a small moment of time in his life, George gaining the confidence to stand up to Thomas F. Wilson's Biff Tannen and dance with Lea Thompson's Lorraine Baines winds up reshaping his entire existence, and Gale appreciates that people can walk away from every screening of the movie possibly feeling a bit more confident about making an effort to achieve the things you want in life. Said the filmmaker,
The new 4K Back To The Future trilogy set is now on sale at all normal retailers, and if you’re a fan of the movies, you’re definitely going to want to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend in the coming days. This is just one of a few cool things I learned about the movie from Bob Gale, so be on the lookout for more stories.
NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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