Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Back to the Future Part II
Back to the Future Part II is a 1989 film and is the second part of a trilogy, coming after Back to the Future and followed by Back to the Future Part III. It was directed by Robert Zemeckis and written by Zemeckis and Bob Gale. The second and third parts of the trilogy were filmed at the same time and released six months apart.
The story continues with Marty McFly and Doc Brown as they now go into the year 2015 to stop Marty's kids from destroying their lives. Since Jennifer has seen the DeLorean, they take her along, but Doc tranquilizes her because she asks too many questions about the future.
Marty's son, Marty Junior, is approached by Griff, Biff's grandson, and his gang and asked to join in a robbery. According to Doc, this event eventually leads to the disruption of the entire McFly family. Marty impersonates his son and tells Griff he won't join in. The gang gets angry and chases after Marty. Using a hoverboard, he manages to escape them, and as a result they crash into the courthouse and end up in jail.
While Marty is in 2015, he finds an antique store with all sorts of memorabilia from the 1980s, among which the Grays Sports Almanac 1950-2000, containing all sport scores for that age. Wanting to get rich when he goes back to 1985, Marty buys the almanac, but Doc catches him and puts it in the trash, berating Marty that he didn't build a time machine for such trivialities as making money. Old Biff overhears the conversation.
Jennifer, still tranquilized, is found by the police, mistaken for her future self after thumbprint identification, and taken home. Hiding in a closet, she sees her family life is far from ideal. Then, old Marty gets a phone call from his colleague Needles, who goads him into cooperating in a profitable but illegal scheme. But their boss was listening in, and Marty promptly gets fired. Doc finally finds Jennifer and gets out of the house, after she briefly spots her future self and faints from the shock of it.
Returning to 1985, Marty and Doc see that their time is not what it's cracked up to be. Hill Valley is dilapitated, crime-infested and corrupt. Biff has become a rich and powerful man, and is now married to Marty's mother, Lorraine. Doc realizes that the old Biff must have used the DeLorean to give the sports almanac to his past self, thus changing his future. Marty confronts Biff to find out when and where he got the almanac, which turns out to be in 1955, the time of the first movie.
In a series of events that closely match the first movie, the newer version of Marty manages to keep Biff's cronies from beating up his older version, and several times comes close to obtaining the almanac. Eventually, Biff drives off in his newly cleaned car. Hanging onto the side of the car with the aid of the hoverboard, Marty finally grabs the almanac and is rescued by Doc from being overrun by furious Biff's car.
As the rainstorm from the end of the first movie begins, Marty burns the almanac to cinders, thus repairing his future. As Doc attempts to land the DeLorean, the car is suddenly struck by lightning, and disappears.
A delivery man drives in to hand Marty a very old letter, written by Doc, who turns out to have travelled to 1885. Marty rushes off to find the contemporary Doc, whom has just succeeded in sending older Marty back to the future in the first movie. Upon receiving the news, Doc faints. And the screen fades out with the words, "To be concluded..."
- Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly, Marty McFly Jr. and Marlene McFly
- Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett L. Brown (aka Doc Brown)
- Lea Thompson as Lorraine Baines (McFly/Tannen)
- Thomas F. Wilson as Biff Tannen and Griff Tannen
- Elisabeth Shue as Jennifer Parker (McFly)
- James Tolkan as Mr. Strickland
- Jeffrey Weissman and Crispin Glover (BTTF1 footage) as George McFly
- Billy Zane as Match
- Casey Siemaszko as 3-D
- J J Cohen as Skinhead
The characters of George McFly and Jennifer Parker were played by different actors to the original film, requiring that some previous scenes were reshot.
Back to the Future Part II earned $47 million in its first weekend of US release (22 November, 1989) and $118 million total US gross – $332 million worldwide. However, this was still not as much as the first film made. Part III came out only six months later. On 17 December, 2002 Universal Studios released all three movies in a three disc DVD and three tape VHS boxed set which did extremely well when it was released.
The movie won a Saturn Award for Ken Ralston (the special effects supervisor), a BAFTA Film Award for Ken Ralston, an AOL Movies DVD Premiere Award, a Golden Screen, and a Young Artist Award. A new computer-controlled camera system, called VistaGlide, was invented specifically for this movie — it enables one actor to play two or even three characters in the same scene while the boundary between the sections of the split screen and the camera itself can be moving.
Replacement of Crispin Glover
Actor Crispin Glover was asked to portray the part of George McFly in this film, but he declined, saying he was not offered enough money for his part. During all new scenes with George McFly in both this film and Back to the Future III he is played by Jeffrey Weissman and seen wearing sunglasses, from the back, or in the background out of focus. This was to prevent audiences from realising that George McFly was a different actor. However, producers recycled various scenes from the original Back to the Future that included Crispin Glover's portrayal of George McFly. Glover sued Universal for compensation, on grounds that his contract for the first film did not allow subsequent uses of his portrayal of George McFly. Universal settled, and new Hollywood rules were written regarding the derivative use of actors' works.
Rumours and urban legends
During an interview, director Robert Zemeckis jokingly said that the hoverboards (flying skateboards) used in the movie were real. A surprising number of people thought he was telling the truth and demanded them at toy stores. After the release of Part III, Robert had the opportunity to explain in another interview that all of the flying scenes were accomplished using special effects.
During one scene, Marty watches a holographic sports news broadcast that states the outcome of the 2015 World Series, in which the Chicago Cubs have defeated a team from Miami. A significant number of people believe this scene correctly predicted the outcome of the 1997 and 2003 World Series, in which the Florida Marlins (based in Miami) were victors, and that this is especially remarkable because Miami did not have a baseball team the year this movie was made. This is obviously a case of selective memory; the movie deals with the year 2015 and not any other year, the Miami team lost the fictional World Series, and in the event that the Chicago Cubs did win a World Series, it would not come against the Marlins, as both teams are in the National League. It was also meant as a joke, since the Chicago Cubs had not won the World Series since 1908.
Goofs and explanations
There is one apparent flaw with the story, and that is the fact that if Biff stole the time machine from 2015, there would have been no way for Marty McFly and Doc Brown to travel back to 1985. Biff would have had to returned the time machine to 2015, but it would have been in an alternate reality (the reality in which he is rich and corrupt). The producers suggest that Marty and Doc were instantaneously put in the alternate time line in much the same way Jennifer was when she was left in 1985A. That is why they waited for Doc to leave Marty's house for Biff to return.
- Back to the Future Online Message Board. Back to the Future Message Board
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