Enjoying a peaceable existence in 1885, Doctor Emmet Brown is about to be killed by Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen. Marty McFly travels back in time to save his friend.
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When you break down the Back to the Future movies, especially this third installment, there are many plot holes the size of Swiss Cheese:
Why does Marty's Great, Great Grandmother look like his mother when in fact she's not a McFly but a Baines?
Marty blows the gas tank in the Time Machine when he comes back to 1885, which sets up the plot, but can't they just go to the dug up Time Machine that Doc buried for Marty originally and get the gas?
In the Tombstone, it says that Doc died in the hands of his beloved Clara Clayton, but Clara dies when she falls into Clayton's Ravine. So Doc never would of met her if he wasn't with Marty in the first place to save her.
Marty took 2 hours to walk into town in the first film, but at the beginning (or end of part II) of part III it takes him less than 10 minutes to RUN into town from the exact same spot. So either Marty is a very slow walker or a very fast runner.
And so on....
But of course none of that matters because this is just a film made for pure entertainment and excitement. And it's a fun ride too.
Back to the Future III is not as good as the almost perfect first film but it sure is a lot better than the second one. In hindsight it seems that they just made the 2nd film so they can make this third film in the old-west. Every director secretly wants to make a Western, and this was Robert Zemeckis' chance to do it. Throw in a Doc Brown love story, a thrilling 3rd act to get Marty back (again!) to 1985 and you got yourself a nice conclusion to the series.
Marty McFly in the first 4 hours of the trilogy is the main character. He's the reactor to all of the events that happen in the films. He's the one that learns the most, grows the most and has the most internal and external conflicts happening. And he's the one doing all that cool stuff too that the main character always does in these types of adventure films. But the 3rd movie is all about Doc Brown. He was always the sidekick but now he's the one doing what heroes and main characters do in the movies: he gets the girl.
What a great choice for the creative team to complete this popular series on a story of the wacky sidekick scientist getting the girl. This is like Robin capturing the criminals while Batman looks on awkwardly. Letting Ed McMahon get all the funny lines while Johnny Carson reacts by saying ho-ha! Or having Chewbacca kiss Princess Lea instead of Han Solo (who would probably lose it and go to the dark side). This is just something that never has been done before.
Christopher Lloyd, who plays Doc Brown, is absolutely brilliant in these performances. If you are a condi'sour of movie acting, then this is a performance to study. These are the roles that Supporting Actor Oscars should be going to because they are the roles that make the film. They do the leg work so the lead actor can shine. They also do most of the dirty work too. Like having to give exposition dialogue that doesn't seem like exposition dialogue so the audience can understand what's going to happen. Or being forced to stand by awkwardly in the background so the main character can get the 'good lighting' from the gaffer for the scene. Or just disapearing in the 3rd act so our hero can be the only one to save the day.
So giving Doc Brown the center stage to complete the series is a bold move that really pays off. Why does it pay off? Because we love Doc so much we want to see him as happy as a man can be. And the only way for a man to be complete is for him to have a soul mate. And it also thematically completes the series as well because Doc Brown invented the Time Machine for organic reasons. So find his soul mate and complete himself!
Yes, that does sound corny, but usually the more corny the story the more interesting and engaging the story. Most of us are more likely the sidekick in life and not the hero or good looking main character. Most of us relate to Doc much more than we do Marty no matter how old or young we are. And we want to see us get the girl or guy, so of course we want to see Doc finally shine over Marty.
I love this series and I watch Back to the Future at least once a year because I feel it's perhaps one of the best screenplays ever written. It's that good. And this third film is much better than what I remembered because of the charm of these characters. I secretly wish they would do another film but of course if they would it would be kind of strange and it could never live up to its original.