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BACK TO THE FUTURE 3 (1990) - PG

Time traveling teenager, Marty McFly, goes back in time, to 1885, in order to prevent Doc Brown's death at the hands of a bullying, bad guy, named Tanner.

This film features action, FX, and romance. The romance between Christopher Lloyd and Mary Steenburgen (Time After Time) is the highlight of the movie. An unforgetable scene involves a train pushing the Delorean up to speed, as both head down the tracks toward a gaping canyon. The FX of a flying, time traveling train are amazing!

The cast includes: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Thomas F. Wilson, Mary Steenburgen, and Richard Dysart.

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis.

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Synopsis...

To Doc Brown's surprise, Marty McFly returns, to 1955, almost immediately after leaving. After finding an old tombstone with Brown's name on it, Marty takes the Delorean time machine back, to 1885, his plan being to save Doc Brown.

He soon encounters Brown, who is working as the local blacksmith. And Brown soon meets the new school teacher, falling in love with her immediately. Brown splits his time between romancing the school teacher, and trying to figure out how to propel Marty and himself back to the future.

Eventually, Marty defeats an evil hombre, named Tanner, saving Brown's life. As the Delorean is being pushed by a train at high speed, Brown chooses, at the last minute, to stay back in time with his sweetheart, as Marty flies back in the time car, solo, to 1985.

Review:

When BACK TO THE FUTURE 3 first hit the theatres, Universal Studios used an ad campaign that stressed that they'd saved the best for last. Strangely enough, in this era of "untruth" in advertising, I think they were right!

I'm one of those Sci-Fi fans who liked "Back to the Future," but felt "Back to the Future 2" was an overly hectic, meaningless look at an ugly future, with the great flying car scenes, with the Delorean atomic time machine, offering the only bright moments. With BACK TO THE FUTURE 3, on the other hand, Producer, Steven Spielberg, and Director, Robert Zemeckis (with Co-Writer, Bob Gale) have delivered a tasty time travel/Western/romance, that neatly ties up all the loose endings, left by the first two adventures.

BACK TO THE FUTURE 3 begins, in 1955, immediately after Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) at his most endearing, sends Marty (eternal teenager Michael J. Fox) back to the future at the end of "Future 1". Almost immediately, Marty reappears, telling a startled Brown that he's just come back from the future. Needless to say, Brown is skeptical at first.

Eventually, using Brown's own letter from the Old West, received by Marty at the end of "Future 2", Marty is able to convince Brown he's on the level. Soon, they find an old headstone with Doc Brown's name on it, the death date one week after he wrote the letter Marty received. Using information contained in Brown's 1885 letter, and despite Doc's written command, Marty and Brown retrieve, (with the help of dynamite), the Delorean from it's storage spot, in a long defunct mine. Soon Marty is racing back to 1885, his mission being to save Doc's life.

Once back in the Old West, the real fun begins. Much of the real charm of BACK TO THE FUTURE 3 has nothing to do with Marty's breathless "Save the Doc" mission. Rather, it is Doc Brown's romance with the pretty, new school teacher, played by the perfectly cast, Mary Steenburgen, that dominates the picture. Steenburgen is one of the most romantic of contemporary actresses, as she's proven in such diverse films as, "Melvin and Howard" and, "Time After Time". There is something irresistible about the love connection between these two Jules Verne nuts.

The film is weakest in Fox's impersonation of his Old West ancestor. Let's just say that Fox's strengths do not include character acting, not yet anyway.

Marty's use of the name, "Clint Eastwood," as his Old West handle is a nice touch. It's also the set-up for a cute visual joke, that pays off at the film's end.

This film has a great message. When Doc Brown (Lloyd) says, "Your future is whatever you make of it", the viewer can't help but agree.

The ILM special effects are as good as they get, particularly at the climax, as the Delorean is pushed at high speed by a train, with Marty, Brown, and the school marm aboard, heading at high speed towards an uncompleted bridge over a gaping canyon. This is my favorite scene.

BACK TO THE FUTURE 3 should be highly viewable for most Sci-Fi viewers. This is pulse pounding, high stakes, Sci-Fi adventure at its best!

BEST BETS: BACK TO THE FUTURE and TIME AFTER TIME.

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