Film Reviews

REVIEW: Monkey Collective’s Back To The Future II

Reviewed By: Jack Dawson
Image Credit: Den of Geek.com

A Flux Capacitor hums quietly as I walk in the door, Doctor Brown is running continuously to stop multiple Marty McFlys from looking at each other and causing a rip in Space and Time, and there’s a special on ‘The Biff Tanner’ drink, which packs one hell of a punch.
It’s another Monkey Collective Presentation, showing one of the most relevant movies of 2015, Back to the Future Part II. The Future is here, and now we get to see how we measure up to the 80’s promise of a materialistic society driven by nostalgia for the past and hover-boards.
Well two out of three aint bad.

Following the events of Back to the Future, Marty McFly and Jennifer are stolen away to 2015 in order to deal with the problem of their children. What follows is a rather nightmarish experiment in dystopian fiction, a trip back to the first film, and what feels like several hundred set-ups for the sequel. And we have yet another film whose story you probably already know, regardless of whether you’ve seen it or not.

Monkey Collective are to be congratulated yet again on another fantastic show. It demonstrates a real passion on the part of both the Collective and the audience, and it pays off immensely. The Doc Brown impersonator had a lot of fun organic interactions with the crowd, and those in costume were unusually receptive to improvising and bouncing off one another. Having the score from Back to the Future playing in the background didn’t hurt either.
I should note that almost all of the contestants in the costume contest were variations on Marty McFly; with Biff, two of his minions, and a curiously appropriate Rick and Morty standing as the only innovators.
The rules were also well chosen, with a nice mix of lights, sound and balloon tossing accompanied by some verbal guidelines that left a lot of room for riffing and improvisations.
In short, it was another excellent evening courtesy of Monkey Collective, who deserve every bit of praise they get. It’s just a shame that we have to wait until August to be treated to such a lovely evening by such esteemed hosts.

As for the movie itself, it’s still an okay follow up to an excellent film. The first film really had the best story and execution in the series, the sequels muddle the rules of time travel and have clumsy exposition dumps galore. But there’s an endearing fondness for the Second film that almost eclipses the First, mostly due to its depiction of the future. It’s certainly a future informed by the 1980’s, but it’s actually been a while since we’ve seen such a lavishly designed futurescape. Many depictions of the future are modelled after post-apocalyptic societies, these being cheap to produce and easy to set the stakes for. Others try to strike a balance between past and present that stops these depictions from looking comical or outdated.
But the future we see in Back to the Future II is dated beyond belief, it was dated within one year of its release, but that was always the intention.

Robert Zemeckis later stated that they knew whatever their depiction of the future was like, it would be proven wrong in the very near future, so they decided to just have fun with the concept, and essentially extend the excesses of the 80’s into wild and imaginative new directions. And there’s real effort put into its depiction; the 3D Hologram of Jaws, the self-crying jacket, the hover-boards, and even the 80’s themed café which actually comes across as rather brilliant commentary on the value of nostalgia.
And of course the jokes about how well we’d measure up to this idyllic standard were plentiful in the days before 2015 actually happened. Granted we can use credit cards from home, product placement is everywhere and the post office still sucks, but that’s not exactly how we wanted to measure up to the ideal.
Maybe Back to the Future II isn’t the best film out there, but here and now it’s one of the most enjoyable to look back on.

And now we weather the weary months of winter while waiting for the next Monkey Collective Presentation. But it’s not all bad, there’s still a mountain of excellent films due to be released soon. Like…

entourage

Well okay but…

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I suppose there might be some cool new DVDs out…

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Goddamit.