San Francisco – The 1980s were a fantastic time to be alive if you were lucky enough to have been a part of it. This era has been constantly revisited, admired, and imitated from music to fashion, film, and beyond. One highlight of the ’80s was the cult classic gem, “Back to the Future,” directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring a young Michael J. Fox. This film was the 1st of a part trilogy, and I’d have to say the best of the three. I’d also call it the quintessential all-American science fiction film and a global cultural phenomenon as the highest-grossing movie of 1985. It’s hard to believe it’s been 37 years since its release in theaters, which at the time, even the actual movie theater experience was quite different. The long waits in lines, arriving hours ahead to see the newest film, and the most memorable were the reactions to the movies.
Being able to flashback in time and experience such a big part of the ’80s with SF’s best orchestra bringing each magical, musical moment to life was epic. While watching “Back to The Future” with the live audience at the jam-packed Davis Symphony Hall, it gave me the same feeling I had when I saw it for the 1st time in 1985 at a small San Francisco theatre. The laughter, energy, and excitement were all there as if the SF Symphony were our personal time machine, flashing through different periods of my imagination. The one thing missing was the popcorn which was replaced by a glass of Champagne during intermission while taking in the aura of the beautiful hall. Yes, this is an 80’s flick, but most of the movie takes place during 1955 in a fictional town called Hill Valley. Michael J. Fox’s stand-out performance as Marty McFly perfectly encapsulates a guitar-playing, skateboarding all American teen in the mid-’80s.
Marty teams up with Emmet “Doc” Brown, played by the always talented Christopher Llyod, who gives an unforgettable performance as the excessive mad scientist. The eccentric Doc invents the DeLorean time machine and uses the flux capacitor he also created as the critical element to help Marty time travel. Of course, the catch is, they must drive the futuristic ride at 88 mph. Once they do, it’s a non-stop roller-coaster ride taking Marty back in time to before his parents met and helping steer the course of events to save his future. Crispin Glover’s portrayal as Marty’s father, George McFly, nailed it with his odd straight edge demeanour. Glover is a master of eccentric characters, and McFly is at the top of the list. The 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 was the perfect choice for the time machine powered by Plutonium and was one of the most popular luxury sports cars of the ’80s. Even legends like Sammy David Jr and Johnny Carson owned and drove DeLorean’s.
The movie’s theme song, “The Power of Love,” written by the Bay Area’s own Huey Lewis and the News, soared to new heights, but it was Alan Silvestri’s masterful compositions that carried the film from beginning to end. SF Symphony Conductor Constantine Kitsopoulos led the dazzling musical score, which featured new music added by Silvestri. A live orchestra presentation adds so much flavour and dynamics, sharpening all the colours of the audio palette. The SF Symphony’s performance added that special magic that only they know how to do. Matching classic films along with the orchestra is quite the experience, and I highly suggest getting tickets to one of the Symphony’s upcoming movie concerts. Although I didn’t see any 80’s style clothing in the crowd, there were plenty of people actually in attendance that lived that era, and you could see the joy in their eyes as they exited the beautiful halls with an 80’s newfound memory reinvigorated. Thank you, SF Symphony, for being our time machine…
Conductor: Constantine Kitsopoulos
Composer: Alan Silvestri
Director: Robert Zemeckis
For more info on the SF Symphony, go to: www.sfsymphony.org