(Review originally written at 31 December 2006)

I'll admit that probably the reason why I find this movie to be the lesser one of the three Back to the Future movies, has all to do with the reason that Western has never really been my favorite movie genre. This movie is almost set entirely in the Wild West of the late 19th century.

The movie features all of the Western clichés but at the same time it doesn't ridicule the genre. Pistol fights at dawn, hanging, robbing the stagecoach, typical villains, a sheriff, you name it and its in this movie. You may say that Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale pay a great homage to the longtime gone genre of classic spaghetti Westerns, with using all of the typical clichés and small references.

"Back to the Future" and "Back to the Future Part II" were two brilliantly written movies, with ingenious connected plot lines, moments and characters. "Back to the Future Part III" is also well written and is definitely fun and entertaining but just not as clever or ingenious as the previous two movies. "Back to the Future Part III" surely does still offer plenty of enough entertainment and cleverness. It makes sure that the movie overall is an entertaining one, that is also definitely helped by its characters and good, quick, fun directing from Robert Zemeckis, who with the Back to the Future movies made himself immortal as a movie director.

Besides the Wild West concept the movie also differs from the other previous two Back to the Future movies in many more ways. Of course the Wild West already provides the movie with a totally different atmosphere and premise than the previous two Back to the Future movies but also the storytelling and approach makes this movie a 'different' one. You can really say that perhaps this time the real main character of the movie is the Doc. The main plot line (a love story) of the movie involves him. Not much room for Marty and his family this time in this one, unlike had been the case in the previous two movies. I liked the previous two movies so much because Marty clashed in his past and future with his own relatives, that were alive at that time period. It always resulted in some comical- and brilliant written and constructed moments. "Back to the Future Part III" doesn't really have enough moments of that. It still has some fun moments involving time traveling and of course mainly the cultural differences that show what happens if characters from this time period are being set back in the early 19th century. It makes some of the moments in the movie still hilarious, such as Marty's clothes, his choice to name himself Clint Eastwood, Frisbees and the opening ceremony of the well known clock from the Back to the Future movies.

The movie of course also future 'distant' relatives of characters that are alive in 1985, the real-time, time period of the entire trilogy. Some play a more prominent role than others. Again the main villain is a Tannen. Buford 'Mad Dog' Tannen, to be exact. A typical stereotype example of a dumb but ruthless Western villain. He is perfectly portrayed by Thomas F. Wilson. The entire cast is basically great. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd have really grown into their roles and the chemistry is still there. They are being helped this time by the great Mary Steenburgen, as Doc's love interest.

What I love about the Back to the Future movies is that they always pick things up were the last movie ended. It makes the movie really a trilogy that can also be perfectly watched as one movie, just as the Lord of the Rings and Star Wars movies.

The movie is really great looking with great sets, costumes and make-up effects that suit the time period of the movie just right. What the movie also does well is blending in the different atmospheres of the different time periods with each others. When the movie is set back in 1985, you don't have the feeling like you're watching a totally different movie. Dean Cundey's cinematography of the movie is great and he also plays a small cameo role in the movie itself by the way. Alan Silvestri's musical score is also great but again also the lesser of the three in my opinion. But it's still great, so what am I really complaining about...The early special effects are also quite good, considering its period this movie was made.

The movie is really great, fun, clean, adventurous entertainment to watch from start till finish, with fun characters, settings and directing. A fitting conclusion of perhaps the most entertaining movie trilogy of all time.


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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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