Back to the Future Part III (1990)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Back to the Future Part III</strong> (1990)

(Second viewing, On DVD, May 2009) While no disaster, this third entry in the trilogy certainly brings to mind the law of diminishing returns. After the time and reality-hopping of the second film, this entry maroons the characters back in time, overplays many of the same jokes and gives the impression of turning in circles over familiar terrain. There are some wonderful things about this third volume (Mary Steenburgen, obviously), but a lot of it seems overly familiar. One suspects that not everyone will share the same fascination for the Wild West as the filmmakers and the ever-self-referential nature of the gags makes the film of interest chiefly for those who have paid a lot of attention to the first two entries. The linkages with the second part, which was shot at the same time, are more or less successful, although they all come into play fairly cleverly in the film’s extended epilogue. Some of the stuff is fairly clumsy (I was never fond of the whole “Chicken!” subplot), but the final few moments do evoke some of the sense of wonder that was so precious to the end of the first film. All in all, not a bad final chapter, but also a good excuse to end things there.

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