Sunday, October 13, 2013

Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy (1985)

Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary TrilogyThis 2005 release, "Lowest Price Ever" on the front package contains the corrected Widescreen versions of Part II and Part III. The original release in 2002 with an oval sticker on the package contains the defective versions of Part II and Part III.

The framing was so bad on Part II and III, you actually missed visual jokes! In Part II when Marty sizes the jacket in the future, the framing cut off Marty's hand when he presses the button to size the jacket. In Part III, when Marty and Doc are in the Drive-In to leave for 1885, Doc makes the joke about Marty's tennis shoes because the boots don't fit, but the framing cut off Marty's feet. When Doc tries alcohol in the Delorean and blows the fuel injection manifold, the majority of the explosion is cut out of the frame.

Part II DVD will have the marking, "V2" on the outer edge next to the copyright. Part III DVD does not have any new markings, but the Widescreen framing has been corrected in this 2005 re-release.

I was reading through the reviews and felt compelled to point out some misconceptions, especially in the review by the "Viewer from Wilmington". These movies were shot in Super 35, as some directors (Cameron) perfer to do. This method shoots a large, square area, with the idea that it will be matted when shown at a theatre. The director frames out what is SUPPOSED to be shown in each shot, whether it be 1.85:1 or 2:35.1. The point of widescreen is not to have more image shown, but to present the movie as it was shown at the theatre. The error for parts 2 and 3 is not that they are presenting a fake and deceptive letterbox image, but that when the engineer was matting a few scenes, the matted image was placed too high in the picture, therefore ommitting important information at the bottom.

So to sum up, the full frame version is all the actual visual information shot by the camera, while the widescreen version is the matted information that was intended by the director as all you should be seeing and is what was shown originally at the theatre. You can certainly prefer and buy whichever version you want, but you should at least have a correct understanding of what the choices are.

Buy Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy (1985) Now

If there's only one thing DVD's should be applauded for, it's for giving old classics a new lease of life, and this particular title was destined for digital before anyone even knew what digital was. The Back to the Future Trilogy will, in most of us, invoke the same feeling of overwhelming nostalgia as when veiwing the original Star Wars trilogy.

It's been such a long time since I've viewed the original and wow, why did I wait so long before re-stepping back into the familiar DeLorean and riding through one of the most cleverly scripted and tightly paced films in history. I was blown away all over again by what the makers achieved in terms of, pretty much, everything. The performances are every bit as convincing and funny as you will remember and the sight of the DeLorean taking hair spin turns and breaking the time barrier only serve to ingrain this film deeply in your subconscious. It's simply what it set out to be, a thrill ride of honest intensity and adrenaline populated by sincere and truthful human characters that you generally care about.

The second part is, in more ways, even more successful. The plot is so tightly woven and controlled that you can't help but gasp at how much detail is included, from the Mc Fly family history to the correct way to turn on lights in the future. And for visual candy, you cannot beat the beauty of the flying DeLorean.

How much you enjoy the third will ultimately depend on how much you like westerns. While obviously retaining the style, wit and bravado of the BTTF legacy, it is alot more digestable in terms of plot and even set pieces. Though as a film by itself, it is a wonderful achievement in entertainment, viewing the installments in order may lead you to feeling ever so slightly let down by a conclusion to the one of the most twisted and brilliant trilogies ever to take place outside of a galaxy far, far away.

Keeping in tradition to the BTTF stamp of excellence, the extras on the DVD hit eighty eight miles per hour from the get go and rarely let up. Embarrassing other lesser DVD boxsets with it's desire to leave no stone unturned, we get 'on location' and retrospective documentaries examining the aspects and realities that the film makers endured in order to bring this adventurous tale to the silver screen. Cast and crew remincese fondly about how everyone involved was so excited about the potential of the script and the freshness that Michael J. Fox brought to the production. The star himself even sits in for a few interviews, giving himself wholeheartedly to talk about the movies that made him a household name.

While a frankly shocking reason is given to explaining Crispin Glover's absence in BTTF part 2 and therefore, all the extras thereafter, it is the absence of Doc Emmett Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd, that resonates most of all. Why he was not included in this celebration of the trilogy goes unexplained and therefore, unforgiven.

This minor gripe aside, this box set is for everyone who managed to hop onboard the DeLorean first time around. For others, this is the perfect medium and compliation to catch up with the time travelling duo as they were meant to be seen. It's astonishing how well the films have aged, and how much better than recent films they remain to be. A knockout!!!

Read Best Reviews of Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy (1985) Here

The picture quality of these dvds is really pristine, and the extras are quite nice, though I would have liked to see more interviews with supporting cast members.

As many people have noted, parts 2 and 3 seem to have been matted too high on the open matte original print, so stuff tends to get cut off the bottom of the screen, like Marty's jacket and hoverboard in part 2. Plus there's too much headroom on many of the shots as a result. I just called the Universal DVD return hotline and they are offering a free replacement of those 2 wrongly matted dvds. You need to send in the 2 dvds (without the packaging they came in) to:

Back to the Future DVD Returns

PO Box 224468

Dallas, TX 75260

You need to include your name and full mailing address, along with your daytime phone number and reason for exchange.

I also noticed that on Part 1 when I try to watch the commentary with Michael J. Fox that it cuts out and takes me back to the menu screen around chapter 8 or so. Not a big deal but I do think it's a glitch that occurs in some dvd players.

Want Back to the Future: 25th Anniversary Trilogy (1985) Discount?

Well, after too much Internet gossip and anticipation, we can finally enjoy the DVD version of this great trilogy. Actually, nothing needs to be said about the story or the fantastic crew that made it happen, everybody knows it (and if not, you're a caveman amongst other cavemen...or cave-women...). The DVDs have many extras you'll enjoy and then some...

Probably the most-talked about issue of this release is the product's interpretation of the soft matted original cut. If you dig deep enough in Internet sources, you'll read a mixture of positive and negative responses. Fact is, on this 1.85:1 version, you will see less picture information in height, and more in width than the 4:3 version. This movie was shot in soft-matted format, which basically means that the original prints were in a kind of '4:3' format, where in the upper and lower regions there is information that needs to be covered (the microfone syndrome...), and was not intended to be part of the screening of the film. This is done in theaters, and again with every video/ld/dvd release. This in contrast to 2.35:1 movies, or otherwise matted films and formats, in which case the widescreen format is 'directly' converted to DVD, and will give a much more complete film than the 4:3 viewing. But that's not the case here.

What all this means is that with the Back To The Future DVDs, a new matting has been applied that has converted the original soft-matted material to a new 1.85:1 format. This means that, like I stated earlier, when you compare the 4:3 VHS (that everybody knows) to this release, the 4:3 has some extra film top and bottom, and this DVD has some extra film left and right. This is what the 'confusion' on the Internet is all about. Some people, rightfully, indicate that they are missing peaces of the film (Marty's sci-fi jacked is f.i. not fully displayed in the DVD whereas it was on ld and VHS), but other information is added on the DVD (the hard matted special effects sequences). Thus, some people are inclined to say that this is not the original movie version. Actually, being a soft matted presentation in theaters in the mid '80's and later, it probably differed each time it was presented, with a different projector setting each time, resulting in a different matting and screening each time. This DVD version is just another interpretation of matting. And everybody has something to say about this one!

To make a long story short, please enjoy this classic and its many extra features, with or without the knowledge that in every different media format, there is a different viewing of this wonderful peace of family entertainment.

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