Scene of the Week: Back to the Future III Opening Scene
The Back to the Future Trilogy is up there with some of the best trilogies of all time. Films that use time travel as it’s premise can get very confusing and usually end up bombing, but not Back to the Future. These films make time travel easy to understand whilst keeping that element of complexity we all love about this fictional invention. This is highlighted perfectly in the the end of Part II / opening of Part III, which is why I have chosen this moment as my Scene of the Week.
What makes this scene so special is that is starts where Back to the Future Part I ends, in the 50’s, with scientist Doc Brown just about managing to send Marty McFly back home to the future he has come from. Due to certain events of Part II, we see McFly back in the 50’s as he was sent back again soon after he had arrived back from this era. With the time machine which Part II Marty came in being sent back in time to the 1800’s by accident, Marty finds himself stranded in the 1950’s. Thankfully Marty is familiar with this era, due to being sent back there before, therefore he goes to meet the young Doc Brown, where he originally left him in Part I, creating this brilliant scene which merges two scenes from two films…
As mentioned before, the scene starts with a familiar site, of Doc sending Part I Marty back to the future. The scene is exactly how we saw it in the first film. We see Doc struggling to connect two wires together to channel a lightning strike into the time travelling DeLorean which is carrying Marty, allowing him to be sent home. Just as the DeLorean hits the critical speed of 88mph, Doc manages to connect the cables, channeling enough energy into the car sending it successfully through time. Doc, relieved with the success, celebrates in the street, in between the iconic fiery tyre tread-marks, with a slow version of the iconic Alan Silvestri theme playing in the background. This scene alone is incredible, but it is made that much better when we see Marty from Part II come running round the corner behind Doc, with the unforgettable chimes played as Marty is revealed. As Silvestri's score picks up into the version we all know and love, Marty grabs Doc and spins him round. Doc, at first is confused by what he sees, but comes to quickly enough and screams in Marty’s face. “Okay. Okay! Relax, Doc! It's me! It's Marty!” yells the teenager. “No! It can't be! I just sent you back to the future.” cries Doc, leading Marty into a the goosebump providing quote - “I know. You did send me back to the future, but I'm back. I'm back from the future.” Allowing Doc to reply with his iconic saying “Great Scott!” just before fainting.
Like many of the scenes we review here at Life of Films, there is always an iconic score making it that much better. When it comes to Back to the Future, the music doesn’t get anymore iconic. Alan Silvestri, the composer, has done many memorable scores, but Back to the Future is without-a-doubt his best work, with the main theme being used for this perfect scene. Like John Williams Superman theme, Silvestri’s theme for this trilogy will live on forever.
This incredible scene is certainly complex, but what makes it so great is how well it is put together, making it incredibly easy for the audience to understand. This is the running theme for the Back to the Future, which is why it is so successful. It is clearly made with the audience in mind, and that is why it triumphs. The films aren’t trying to impress, they are just taking the viewers on an incredible journey, which many, like myself, want to ride time and time again.