Chronological Back to the Future
- NTSC DVD-9
- AVCHD (DVD-9)
1) Sections of Marty playing guitar at the Enchantment Under The Sea Dance.
2) End of part 1, where Doc returns from the future to 1985 to Marty’s house and meets he and Jennifer. This scene is replaced by part 2’s opening scene, which was reshot with actress Elizabeth Shue as Jennifer. This was for continuity, since she plays Jennifer for the rest of the show. My belief is that Marty’s change of the past in 1955 had some slight ripples that changed Jennifer’s appearance in 1985.
So I finally got a chance to see this, and it’s every bit as fun as I hoped it would be.
I find many of the negative comments about this edit bewildering – “It doesn’t make sense out of order,” “You should have added context before the earlier scenes,” “It’s too long at six hours,” etc. Looking at these objections one by one:
Of course it doesn’t make sense in this order. It’s not the way the filmmakers originally put it together. It’s not supposed to make sense in this order. It’s supposed to show us what the events would look like when put together in order of Earth history. It does exactly what it says in the title.
The editor, Marty McSuperfly (hereafter MM), doesn’t make any indication that he’s intending to craft a completely different narrative. This edit is for people who already know the material forwards and backwards, and just want to experience it in a slightly different way. If he added context by showing earlier scenes, it would defeat the whole point of the edit.
And naturally an edit that features all three films back to back is going to be six hours long, just as advertised. Especially in a film series so tightly constructed as this one, I can’t think of any scenes that I would want to see cut--especially because cutting is not the goal. This edit just puts all the scenes in order, as it says it will.
I say all of this not to criticize the other reviewers—they have the right to their opinions—so much as I want other potential viewers to seek out this fun edit, and to approach it in the right frame of mind.
I liked the opening titles that MM added to the beginning of the movie, giving us the date that we’re starting with (Sep. 2, 1885). I would have liked to have seen new titles added each time Marty and/or Doc got to a different time period. Perhaps that would have eliminated some of the other viewers’ objections. But I didn’t really mind; it’s a matter of taste, not right or wrong. I’m guessing that for MM, part of the fun is seeing how different the characters look after the jump from what we’ll expect them to look like.
The first sequence, 1885, is the most straightforward of the sequences because only one film takes place there. But since I usually go through the films in order of release, it was fun to start with these scenes. Interestingly, gags pay off in a different order than usual. For instance: Usually, Marty showing up in the Old West and shouting, “Indians!” is the funny part, but in this case, the laugh comes when 1955 Doc tells Marty to drive towards the screen because “those Indians won’t even be there.”
The next sequence, 1955, is where the genius of this edit really starts to happen, as our intrepid editor gets to start interlacing scenes from the first and second movie. I kind of knew where these scenes were supposed to go already, but seeing them put together like this makes for a fresh and exciting viewing experience. Figuring out the exact sequencing and putting everything together like this must have been a painstaking and challenging process. Hats off to MM for all his hard work on this.
As fans know, Crispin Glover asked for too much money for the sequels, so he doesn’t appear in the later footage. With the intercutting, MM is able to use most of the Crispin Glover footage from the first movie in the 1955 segments so that it feels like he’s part of the events of the second movie. There was only once when MM absolutely had to use the voice of Jeffrey Weissman (the replacement actor) – in the scene where Marty is in Strickland’s office – and there’s really no way around that. Every other time, the integration between the two movies is seamless.
The fun continues in the 1985 segments, as we see parts of the first movie before switching over to the alternate timeline in Part II and then back again to the improved timeline from the end of I and III.
Of course, there aren’t really any changes to the 2015 scenes. How could there be? But it’s fun seeing them at the end. And it’s also fun watching them for the first time in the year 2015, and noting what the filmmakers were right about and what ended up being fairly accurate. (In their defense, the filmmakers have always said that they didn’t expect to predict anything.)
I was wondering how MM would handle the ending credit sequence. He just rolls the first, then fades into the second, and then the third. It might have been fun to see what it would look like to recreate the credits from scratch to reflect all the films (for instance, listing Michael J. Fox in the credits as Marty McFly, Marty Jr., Marlene and Seamus all at once). But I realize that it would have been a huge pain in the butt (who wants to itemize all the gaffers and key grips for each movie?) for very little payoff (most people wouldn’t even bother to watch). So I give him a free pass on this one.
There is one technical problem that I must acknowledge. While watching the films, the sound quality kept varying wildly. The volume seemed to go up or down each time the footage switched between movies. Strangely, none of the other reviewers have commented on this, so I wonder if the problem might be with our equipment instead of the edit. This warrants further investigation.
Overall, this is a fun edit that allows us to watch the movies in a brand new way that bring a new freshness to otherwise very familiar movies. Great job!
with the BTTF films being told in Chronological order without many major cuts being made we have an edit that last over 5 hours. i had to watch this over two days and to be honest it was a real struggle watching these films in this order. whenever i watch a fanedit i of course remember the original and with the BTTF series I've re-watched them many times other the years. but i try and put myself in a situation as if this is the first time I'm watching the film
we start with BTTF III 85mins into the edit Marty travels in time but with this being told chronologically we the viewer are now transported into 1955. this goes against everything that were told within the first 85 mins as the Doc states when Marty is worried that the bridge isn't complete the Doc reassures him that it will be there in 1985. so we go from Marty wearing a western outfit to wearing something completely different and the DeLorean that wasn't running cause it didn't have any fuel fine. 3 hours later we see the Marty from Part III in 1985 on the train track so we can now connect the dots.
this is a issue i have with the edit as i constantly had to remember things that happen some 1, 2 or 3 hours early to make sense of it all. when Doc, Marty and Jen travel into the future we instead go to an alternative present, Marty family is one minute geeky then in a space of 20 mins their completely different.
as i've said at 5 hours this is really long but i feel the editor could have made some cuts in improving the films narrative and getting the runtime to around 4 hours long. we two 2 actress playing Jennifer i think with a little work the actress from part I could have easily been removed. the sequence from Part I with the clock tower being inter cut with footage from Part II takes along time considering Doc says they have 4 mins.
overall the edit does what it sets out to do it re-tells the BTTF films in Chronological order, but my overall feelings was that a more condense cut maybe told in the style of Pulp Fiction could have benefited the edit. that being said this is the only negative review
This was a lot of fun. I’m not sure why people’re bitching about the length; I edited together the 3 movies years ago into one long movie by chopping out the closing credits and the “To be continueds” (and keeping the version of “Roads? Where we’re going….” that we all prefer).
I watch it probably once or twice a year.
That said, what you lose in this experiment is that you don’t have anything vested in the characters going in, b/c all the setup is gone as we start in 1885 (the “Indians!” scene). However, what it DOES do is highlight the parallels between BTTF 1 and 3, which is what I’ve always enjoyed about #3.
We then get to 1955. At first I thought the scene we open with, Marty & Doc in the flying DeLorean arriving very early in the a.m. (from BTTF2, in search of the almanac), was out of order. It turns out it’s an error in the movies: The dialogue in BTTF1 implies that the Enchantment Under the Sea dance is the same night as the scene in George’s backyard when he’s hanging laundry and talking to Marty about the “Get your damned hands off” plan. But it looks like BTTF2 has made it so that the backyard talk is one day earlier than the dance. It could be that the error is even in the first movie, but I will have to pay closer attention when next I watch the originals.
That said, the way the editor did NOT rely on the screen magic of BTTF2 to make the original and its sequel intermingle was truly spectacular. (And if you’ve read other reviews by me [see: the Quantum of Solace review], you know I do NOT say that often.) He did a great job of utilizing both the original cut of 1955 and the new take as seen in BTTF2. Bravo!
The editing and music is particularly strong by our FanEditor in the intermingling of BTTF 1 & 2 in the ‘50s — there’re only two bad cuts by my count (1. from Marty on the guitar at the dance to Doc on the Walkie and 2. The cut right after Biff finds Marty-2 peeking in through the door at himself and his parents), but everything else was perfect. And very impressive.
The other thing this edit highlights is how superior BTTF1 is to the other 2 — as much as I enjoy the other two, it’s just a far superior film.
What I think could help this FanEdit is to open with a 2-minute character-building montage that sets the stage for 1885; as mentioned (by myself and others), 1885 is bland when you’ve nothing vested in it. And then, what it needs is a longer montage (perhaps 5-6 mins) at the end that takes us through the ENTIRE trilogy (perhaps in the order of the actual movies as opposed to this fan-edit) as a sort-of finale, b/c this edit lacks both a setup and a climax. Nevertheless, it’s a great deal of fun, a new way to watch these movies — and it’s technically impressive.
I watched the whole thing in one go, yesterday (DVD Version)
Picture and soundquality are quite good. It seems that the scenes from part 1 are a little bit darker then the others, part 3 quality is the best.
1885: As the original movie this is a straight part, I couldn’t spot any changes
1955: This is the best part IMHO. The clock-tower and “Enchantment under the Sea”-sequences are just amazingly cut. Looks like it was planned by Mr.Zemeckis (or whoever was involved in writing the whole thing) from the beginning.
1985 & A-1985: The passage from one 1985 to the other works out fine, also the cutting of the part 1 and 2 scenes. The part3-scenes with the flying locomotive appeared a little strange to me.
2015: A little of a rough ending here, and watching all end credits from all parts is a little bit tiring, but what else could have be done?
I was surprised how short the last three parts are. In the original parts 1 and 2 it never came out so clear, that most of the scenes were in playing in 1955.
Thanks for that unique experience.