After a lightening strike on the DeLorean, Doc is trapped in 1885. But a photograph Marty finds in 1955 shows that Doc dies in that very year!
Back to the Past!
As Marty (Michael J Fox) joins his friend in 1885, he soon finds out that they cannot power the DeLorean as there is no gasoline in 1885! Although the Mr. Fusion will power the Flux Capacitor, they still need to reach 88mph.
Things only get more complicated when Doc (Christopher Lloyd) saves a school mistress, Clara Clayton (Mary Steenburgen), from certain doom (we know this because in 1985 the ravine is called Clayton Ravine in her name).
Doc curses inventing the machine, swearing to destroy it the moment they get back to their own time. But really Doc is smitten by Ms Clayton and when you throw in “Mad Dog” Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson) and his gang of thugs and the weight of history of the very beginning of the town, things get very complex very quickly.
Lots of self referential humour returns into this movie and very welcome it is too, an old friend who we’ve missed. The slapstick is also still there, especially around “Mad Dog” and his gang.
The setting, as if living out a Western movie, works well with a few oddities that can be glossed over easily enough – accents mainly. Indeed and alas, I have to include the settling McFly ancestors as part of the comedic element of the movie. This part of America truly looks the part. Beautiful and wild. Setting the majority of the movie in the Wild West allows longer, better play between characters.
Amongst the supporting cats, Matt Clark puts in a good performance too as the Bartender in 1885.
The action is believable, honest work. Not overdone either, allowing the characters time to breathe and relate to each other without the constant “foot to the peddle” approach common today.
As the series comes to an end I have to admit, I have a soft spot in my little critical heart for these movies. Innocent movies like this are rarely huge blockbusters and I am glad to have been the right age at the right time to really appreciate them.
Things to look out for: “Mad Dog” – just like in the famous arcade game, “chicken“, model railroad, several attempts to reach 88mph, Doc takes a drink, should I stay or should I go conundrum, Oirish accents, the beautiful setting, Calvin Klein becomes Clint Eastwood, recurring jokes from the first two movies, ZZ Top (???)
Cast: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Mary Steenburgen, Thomas F. Wilson, Lea Thomson,
Rating: good strong end to the story, feels right and proper, watch all three together if you can, highly nrecommended
Part of the Back to the Future trilogy: