Pros: More humor and adventure across time
Cons: Some plot threads only work if you've seen Part 2
The Bottom Line:
Goes back to the past
For fun take on the Old West
Great trilogy ends
"Everybody Everywhere Will Say that Clint Eastwood is a Yellow Bellied Coward."
Since Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III were filmed back to back, it's not that surprising that part II ends with a cliffhanger. Part III literally picks up as the second one ends and takes the story in a fun new direction.
At the end of the second movie, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) is stranded in 1955. He enlists the help of the Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) living in 1955 to get the time machine hidden for 70 years back in working order. But along the way, they discover that the future Doc Brown is shot in the back in 1885. Marty can't let his friend die, so he heads back to save his friend and bring him back to the present day.
Arriving in the old west, Marty finds Doc living happily as the town blacksmith. But their plans to return to the present day are hampered when Doc meets Clara Clayton (Mary Steenburgen), the new school teacher. It's love at first site for both of them. Will that alter Doc's plans? And will he die in a few days or will Marty die in his place?
Despite a bit of a recap of where we left things, many of the plot threads introduced but not resolved in the second movie are finally dealt with here, the biggest being Marty's reaction to being called chicken. To really get the final scene, you've got to have seen the second.
Those already familiar with the first two will find themselves enjoying this one, too. While the first two really focused on the McFly family, this one focuses more on Doc, and it's nice to see him in the spotlight for a change. As always, there's romance, comedy, and worries about time paradoxes. I've heard some theories about paradoxes from the events in this film, but I don't see them. In fact, this series continues to be the best use of time travel without paradoxes that I've found.
The old west setting also makes for a nice change of pace. Don't worry, they still manage to get in a few running gags from the series, however.
The acting has always been great here, and I find nothing to argue about this this installment. The leads are great, and Mary Steenburgen makes a nice addition to the cast. As with the second installment, Michael J. Fox plays a McFly relative, and I think he does a better job than he did in the last film.
The movie isn't heavy on special effects, but those that are here work for me outside of few obviously enhanced explosions.