Back to the Future: Part III - 8 stars out of 10
“Back to the Future: Part III” is a fitting conclusion to the series. While I find it to be the weakest of the three films, I still love to watch it and applaud it for giving a fresh spin to the familiar “change the past to save your future self while trying not to disrupt the space-time continuum, all the while finding a way back home” theme. The change of scenery is a little extreme, but I guess that it makes sense for the writers to give us an imaginative look at the past after giving us an imaginative look at the future in the second film. The entire trilogy has that 80’s cheesiness running through it, keeping the films from becoming too dramatic and making the characters lovable, even the bad guys (well, especially the bad guys). It isn’t too much, but the third film definitely walks the line of being too cheesy with Marty calling himself Clint Eastwood and plenty of puns that remind us that they are in the Wild West instead of 1985. That being said, the writers do an excellent job of providing Marty with a DeLorean, using the death dates to justify him traveling back, and helping Doc Brown to find what he has always been searching for. They also gave Alan Silvestri a great excuse to combine his awesome “Back to the Future” theme with music from the Wild West. …And ZZ Top (see earlier comments about this film walking the line of being too cheesy). The line is crossed during the film’s Disney-esque ending where Doc Brown practically grabs the camera and, staring directly into its lens (and the souls of every audience member), says “Here is the cheesy moral of the story and there’s no tuning me out.” There are a few weak points but the acting is solid all the way around. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd are just as great as the first two films but the best performances in Part III come from Thomas F. Wilson and Mary Steenburgen. Wilson’s slapstick portrayal of Mad Dog Tannen is inspired, blending intimidation with comedy and it is enhanced once you have seen him as Biff in Parts I and II. Contrastingly, Steenburgen is captivating with her southern charm and feistyness when she tells off Doc. It is unfortunate that the character requires her to go a little beyond her soft-spoken, refined disposition with the runaway carriage and the train scene; however, she has a lot of very nice moments in the film. From start to finish, this is a solid film. “Back to the Future: Part III” is a classic, particularly when used as the conclusion for one of the most inventive trilogies out there.