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Back to the Future (DVD Review)

12 Feb, 2009 By: John Latchem

Reliving the Ride

The best part about Universal Studios Home Entertainment releasing individual DVDs of the “Back to the Future” trilogy is that the new two-disc version of the first film contains a spectacular re-creation of Back to the Future: The Ride.

This theme park attraction was a staple of Universal Studios theme parks in Florida and California from the early 1990s to 2007 (it has since been replaced by The Simpsons Ride). As a simulator, the ride was somewhat of a disappointment compared to Disneyland’s Star Tours, but the production values were top notch and the idea behind the ride was a lot of fun for “Back to the Future” fans.

The new individual releases of the three films (at $19.98 each) offer the same bonus material from the trilogy boxed set that was released years ago. But the first film now has a bonus disc containing all the lobby video and ride footage from the Universal Studios ride. The ride footage includes a simulated DeLorean dashboard to complete the effect (be on the lookout for the infamous “giant coffee cup” one of the model makers left on the set during filming).

This bonus disc also includes a great new retrospective about the making of the first film that really hammers home how it became a modern classic (one of the filmmakers even calls it the It’s a Wonderful Life of our time). A tweak in the timeline could have resulted in the film starring Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly and Jeff Goldblum as Doc Brown, using a refrigerator as a time machine. Yikes!

As we all know, Christopher Lloyd so owned the role of Doc Brown it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing him, and the DeLorean time machine has become a staple of pop culture. Sadly, the DVD still doesn’t include the much-discussed footage Stoltz actually managed to film before he was replaced as Marty by Michael J. Fox.

But the new DVD does include a new Q&A with Fox and footage of Leslie Nielsen hosting NBC’s airing of the first film in 1989.

Now all fans need is Universal to release the trilogy on Blu-ray Disc.

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