Elsewhere, the main attraction is likely to be Tales from the Future, a newly made, nearly three-hour documentary in six parts (three on the first disc, one on the second, and two on the third). Most of the principals from both behind the camera (director Robert Zemeckis, producer Bob Gale, exec producer Stephen Spielberg, etc.) and in front of it (actors Michael J. Fox--Parkinson's disease notwithstanding--Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, and others) are on hand to discuss the Back to the Future odyssey. There are some fascinating revelations throughout--not least the facts that Eric Stoltz, not Fox, was first cast in the Marty McFly role, only to be replaced after five weeks of filming (a few of Stoltz's scenes are shown here), and that the filmmakers rejected Crispin Glover's excessive demands for Back to the Future II, which led to his role as McFly's father being written out of the story. Other extras include "archival" making-of featurettes, which offer some of the same material as the newer documentary (and delivered by many of the same folks, only considerably younger), while a featurette on the second disc in which theoretical physicist Michio Kaku discusses the physics of time travel in the films is also quite entertaining.
Each disc also includes deleted scenes, audio commentary tracks with Gale and coproducer Neil Canton, a Q&A commentary track with Zemeckis and Gale, and a host of "behind-the-scenes" material explicating everything from makeup tests, outtakes, and storyboards to effects shots and the creation of the DeLorean "time machine." And that's not all: in addition to common ingredients like photo galleries and theatrical trailers, viewers wanting to go back to the past can dial up music videos by Huey Lewis and the News and ZZ Top from the first and third films, respectively. --Sam Graham
The most controversial part of the video concerns the framing of the image for widescreen viewing. When Universal went back to the full-frame, open-matte negatives to do the DVDs, they made some changes, intentional or not, from the laser disc framing. Then they issued an official press release as follows: "Universal Studios Home Video is aware of a minor technical framing issue on the 'Back to the Future Trilogy' widescreen DVDs. The framing appears differently from the laserdisc releases for approximately two minutes during 'Back to the Future II' and four minutes during 'Back to the Future III.' The framing difference is unnoticeable to widescreen DVD viewers and does not detract from or interrupt the viewing experience. Consumers with further questions can call (888) 703-0010."
The studio is probably right in saying that the differences are unnoticeable (whether they meant "widescreen" or "full screen" or whatever), because unless a viewer has a photographic memory of the theatrical versions or has the laser discs on hand for direct comparison, there is little to notice. It's doubtful that anyone but the most meticulous "Back to the Future" partisan need worry about any possible framing problems.
When I called, a lady who showed TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF RELUCTANCE in doing her job answered and AUTOMATICALLY started reading out a WRITTEN MEMO about Universal's awareness of the MESSED-UP DVDs. You leave your address and phone number, then they'll send you a PRE-PAID ENVELOPE for returning DVDs (BTTF part II and III). You send only disks to them, then you'll HAVE TO WAIT until "LATE MARCH to get the fixed version (finally!).
I don't understand why they need physical disks to be sent back. But whether you like it or not, that's how it works, and that's how Universal treats customers. Good luck! :-)
Those of you who FORTUNATELY haven't bought the DVD set yet: WAIT UNTIL APRIL!
As of April 11, 2003, I finally received the replacement DVDs.
It's been more than three months since I originally bought them... Welcome back my disks! :-)
But this does NOT necessarily mean that all BTTF DVDs on the shelf are fixed version. I have no idea how you can confirm it.
Movies are great. No doubt.