Movies: Back to the Future * * * * *
(PG, general release)
Robert Zemeckis's Back to the Future is such a familiar cultural artefact at this stage that watching it on the big screen is probably the only way of assessing it with moderately fresh eyes. It's being given a re-release to mark its 25th anniversary, and it stands the test of time even more triumphantly than I'd expected. In fact, it can now be compared with classic moral fantasies such as Heaven Can Wait and It's a Wonderful Life, so perfectly does it create and sustain its strange little world.
Michael J Fox is Marty McFly, a smalltown American teenager whose association with the eccentric scientist Doc Brown results in his being plummeted back to 1955 in a DeLorean car that doubles as a time machine. There he meets his own parents and gets in the way of their romance. The wonderful ickiness of the moments where Marty's mum tries to kiss him are priceless, and the 50s are created with cartoonish aplomb.
It's extraordinary how fresh this film feels, but then I suppose that's the case with all classics. The all-round acting is wonderful, and Crispin Glover gets a special mention for the seamless skill with which he plays McFly senior in both callow youth and disappointed middle age.