Good start to the popular franchise
"Marty McFly" (Michael J. Fox in his most famous movie role) is an average teen with Rock 'n Rol dreams. He has a beautiful girlfriend (Claudia Wells), trouble in school with the principal (James Tolkan), a mother (Lea Thompson) who just do not understand him, and a wimp of a father (Crispin Glover) who is still terrorized by high school bully "Biff" (Tom Wilson), who is now his supervisor at work.
One early morning, he is asked by his good, yet very eccentric friend "Dr. Emmett 'Doc' Brown" (Christopher Lloyd) to tape his latest invention -- a time machine made out of a plutonium-powered De Lorean automobile.
There are some good performances in this movie. In fact, I couldn't find fault with any performances. Everybody, especially Lloyd who was the most over-the-top, did a great job in their characters. Even those who change after "Marty" returns from 1955 are pretty believable. Lloyd is probably the most comical due to being over-the-top around the more serious characters he interacts with.
There are some pretty good make-up effects for the 1985 pre-time travel Glover, Thompson and Wilson. The make-up jobs are pretty believable, although Thompson does appear to have prosthetics on her face to fatten her up.
As for the computer special effects, it's nothing spectacular. Even though the time machine breaking the time barrier looks impressive, the special effects are over 20 years old.
In the 1955 scenes, everything appears authentic. From the clothing, props like televisions to automobiles look great. And they did a great job with the 1955 "Hill Valley" and the 1985 one. It really looked as if the buildings aged 30 years.
The music is fun as well. From the instrumentals composed by Alan Silvestri to the classic tunes of "The Ballad of Davey Crockett" and "Johnny B. Goode", and the music from Huey Lewis and the News, who have their big release "Sports" immortalized in poster form in "Marty's" bedroom.
There are some good laughs in this film. None of which will make you bust a gut. And like other movies over 20-years old, many jokes reference things that are no longer in existence. In one 1955 scene, "Marty" tries to order a Pepsi Free, the first caffeine-free soda. People who were not around in 1985 would not understand jokes like this one.
There is a bit of a continuity problem with "Back to the Future 2" at the end of the movie, but you seem to forget about it when you see the first of the two sequels.
This is definitely a family movie. There is a few spots with some bad language, but the language is not extreme like the F-Bomb. And none of the jokes are dirty, so parents need not worry about what their kids will see and hear. Heck, this franchise produced an animated television series, so you know that it's not just for adults.
There is even some action scenes, although not many. You get a fun chase scene with 1955 "Biff" and his crew, who are surprisingly not seen in 1985, against "Marty" on a make-shift skateboard.
Speaking of the skateboard, there is some good editing in this movie. According to Wikipedia, Eric Stoltz was originally cast as "Marty" and scenes with him seem in the distance are still in the final cut that we see now. The scenes that obviously have a stunt double, or a skateboarding double, are also pretty flawlessly edited together. You pretty much believe that the main actors are doing what is being depicted.
Overall, this movie is just fun in general. The problems I've mentioned are pretty much minor and can easily be ignored. It's still a classic.