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OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine (Blu-ray Review)

3 Aug, 2016 By: John Latchem

$19.99 DVD, $19.99 Blu-ray
Not rated.

At first glance, a movie like this might not seem to have much appeal beyond a certain niche. But the niche in this case is people who love Back to the Future. And judging by the celebrations of the franchise in 2015, that’s a whole lot of people.

Looking at it through a broader lens, however, director Steve Concotelli’s OUTATIME is a terrific look at the relationship that can grow between a film and its fans, focused through the efforts to save one of the most iconic props in movie history.

That would be the DeLorean modified for and used in the original 1985 Back to the Future. As the film explains, there were three cars used in the film — one was cut up to film inside the car, another was used for stunts and was eventually destroyed filming the third movie. The primary prop, the ‘A’ car, was the most detailed of the three, and after the trilogy was used to entertain guests at the Universal Studios theme park in California, and kept in generally poor conditions that allowed people to steal bits from it over the next 20 years.

As the magical 2015 anniversary approached, the film’s writer, Bob Gale, noted the dreadful condition of the car, and commissioned a team of fans with expertise in auto work and replicas to spend a year restoring it to pristine condition. The film traces the progress of the team, led by superfan Joe Walser, at every step of their painstaking efforts to not only return the car to glory, but improve upon it, leading to the eventual display of the car in a glass case at Universal Studios, as if it were an Apollo spacecraft.

Concotelli actually raised money online to produce the film. A condensed version of OUTATIME is included as a featurette on the Back to the Future: 30th Anniversary Trilogy Blu-ray set, but the full movie presents so many more details about the history of the car and the restoration that fans will find fascinating (for example, how it was just parked on the studio backlot unlocked with the keys in it for anyone who came by to start it up).

The Blu-ray offers even more detail, with deleted scenes and a commentary from Walser and Concotelli, plus footage from the film’s premiere and an important epilogue about the car’s fate since the film was completed.

Late last year, Universal actually closed the prop attraction that housed the car, which then went into storage. Not to worry, though — it’s now on display at Los Angeles’ Petersen Automotive Museum. This final featurette should get fans excited about their prospects for seeing the car in person, as the centerpiece of the museum’s exhibit of legendary Hollywood cars, which includes a Batmobile and Walter White’s Pontiac Aztek from "Breaking Bad." Perfect company for one of the most iconic cars in cinematic history.

About the Author: John Latchem

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