Just forget the words and sing along

Sunday, July 11, 2004

It's a dark and stormy day in Entwistle. We're currently experiencing a power failure. Battery operated laptops RULE!

Before the lights went out, I was watching Back to the Future Part III again. Watched Part II a few days ago. It's interesting listening to the running commentaries. They never intended to make a part 2 and a part 3. Part II was shaping up to be this incredibly epic 3-hour movie. Director/co-writer Robert Zemeckis looked at the script and said, "It's good and all, but I don't like the fourth act. I mean, the fourth act is just far too busy. We introduce too many new characters close to the end of the film and just too much is going on." So, producer/co-writer Bob Gale said, "You're right. Let me play with this fourth act and do things properly with it." When Gale finished doing things proper, the fourth act had turned into a screenplay for Part III.

Oh, but there's more. Now, Zemeckis and Gale had to break the news to Universal studios. Universal really, really wanted Part II to big their big summer blockbuster for 1989. With these two scripts, now, the earliest Zemeckis and Gale could have Part II ready was for Christmas 1989. So, Zemeckis called up the studio head and said, "OK, the bad news is Part II won't be ready for summer 1989. The good news is we can have Part III ready for Summer 1990!" The studio head said, "I don't care about part III! I want Part II ready for summer 1989!" Zemeckis then hatched a scheme. He told Gale, "Send them the original 3-hour script for Part II." The studio head got the original 3-hour script, read it over, and said, "There's no way we can get this done for summer 1989!" Zemeckis then said, "Well, you know, for just a few dollars more, we can split that into two movies, have #2 ready for Christmas 1989, and #3 ready for Summer 1990." The studio said, "Do it!"

And that's how Back to the Future became a trilogy.

It's also why they figure Part II was the weakest of the trilogy. As Zemeckis pointed out, when it was time to do post-production on Part II (editing and the like), he was beginning filming on Part III. So, he wasn't able to fully dedicate himself to the post on Part II. Plus, a lot of people also blame bad word-of-mouth for Part II. How did bad word-of-mouth happen? Well, Universal's marketing people were running around saying this: "Yeah, it's true that we're making a Part III right away, but Part II is a completely self-contained film! It doesn't end on a cliffhanger or anything like that!" And, of course, when people saw the words "To Be Concluded..." at the end of Part II, they walked out of the theatre feeling screwed. That's why it was important to Zemeckis and Gale to end Part II with the teaser for Part III. They wanted to assure the audience that the conclusion was happening really, really soon.

I should write those movie reviews now.

Next Issue...Review-o-rama!

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