Back To The Future (4K Blu-ray Review)

Back To The Future is another eternally iconic 80’s classic making it’s way to 4K Blu-ray this insane year.  The film holds up to this day as an exciting, funny sci-fi/fantasy that is hard to beat.  Performances, direction, music and storyline all hold up 35 years later.  Read more below on the first in the Back To The Future series and be sure to click the paid links below to order your own set!



My esteemed colleague Brian E. White took out some time to give a wonderful foreword to this review. Big thanks go to him for his contribution.

Preface by Brian E. White

Getting older truly sucks.  Life becomes more stressful instead of easier and things you once enjoyed all become just a faded memory.  Such is the journey of life, right?  There are some moments though I can still recall vividly from my childhood.  We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, but my parents did their absolute best to ensure we always had food on the table and everything within reason we needed to be successful in life.  They also taught me the value of money and for that I’m forever thankful.  That’s also why I’m so baffled how anyone can vote for someone that’s going to raise all our taxes, but I digress.  It’s just one of life’s greatest unsolved mysteries I guess.  So anyway…where was I?  Oh yeah!  I was recalling fond memories from my childhood.  Obviously since I am writing here today movies played a large part of my early formation.  Maybe it also explains why I am so screwed up.  Ha!

I grew up surrounded by old neighbors and thus I really had no childhood friends my age so one could say I developed a wild imagination.  I would watch a movie like Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back and completely re-enact it, by myself of course, out in the backyard.  I remember rehearsing that Luke getting his hand chopped off by a lightsaber scene (Spoiler Alert!) so much that I was paranoid as a little child of losing a hand.  I became completely obsessed with artificial limbs most notably hopeful robotics of such.  I realize I am getting off topic again, but there’s a point to all this.  Movies were my escape.  I wore the Betamax version of Empire out, but one of my fondest movie memories from childhood had to be when my dad came and got me out of school early one day.  I had no idea why.  Looking back I’m filled with sorrow as these are just mere memories now that I truly didn’t appreciate as a child, but he wanted to spend time with me and took me to see the first Indiana Jones movie.  Sure I was probably too little to understand it thoroughly and the Ark’s powers did give me nightmares, but what a treasured moment that is in my mind now.

Back to the Future, the subject of this review, revolves around my mom.  She took me to see this in the theater back in 1985.  The funny thing is to this day I am not convinced she completely understands it.  LOL.  I was only 11 years old at the time, but this movie in particular gave me an identity.  I was already an Alex P. Keaton fan because of TV’s Family Ties, but now I identified with a teenager (well not in real life he wasn’t) named Marty McFly.  I started to dress like him, talk like him and even ride a skateboard like him hanging off of cars (that’s “The Power of Love”) and all that crazy stuff.  Because I was scrawny and rather unpopular I literally embodied this character in my early teen years down to the life preserver and Sony Walkman headset always around my neck.  If time travel was real, you can take it to the bank I would have sought it out and been part of it.  I was so obsessed.  However, that’s my point.  Movies like this were my escape.  It was my formative years when I really had nobody else my age to guide me.  I probably owe a lot of my street creds to Robert Zemeckis creating this multiverse Brian White on the big screen in Back to the Future.  Sure the franchise went on to produce two sequels, but this first warms my heart just recalling this story in type and I cannot wait to experience it for the first time in glorious 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.  With that being said I would like to “pass the mic” over to my homie, Adam Byrne, and let him rock this review out.  I am so passionate about this one I know nothing I could ever say can do this masterpiece justice.  Therefore I’m looking forward to hanging off of everyone of Adam’s words.

And now… Adam’s Review

At age 8, my mother and father came home with a stack of videos from Costco.  They were on sale and always the frugal shoppers, finding cheap entertainment to bring home was always a big deal.  In the pile of course was Back To The Future with it’s now iconic poster emblazoned on the front cover. This had to be the first tape on the pile to watch.  My family had seen it before me, and I, the ever curious one was so excited to see it for the first time.  Of course, I was immediately taken with the now well-known tale of Marty McFly and Doc. Brown and the misadventures in their time travel exploits.

The film just flows right from moment one.  The ticking of clocks and the whirring of amplifiers so imaginably huge is always a moment that sticks for me.  The Huey Lewis tunes still sound fresh and fun now too.  Michael J. Fox just oozes that boy-next-door charisma and it’s a treat to see him play against a wily Christopher Lloyd.  When we are first introduced to the DeLorean, we are enamored of its steel frame and all the “Whosie-Whatsits” that are involved in the construction.  The instrument panel is another thing of beauty. So many digital displays! When the car finally zaps itself to 1955 we’ve already been on a ride for 30 minutes.

The film glides right on back to the 50’s with some gorgeous set design and a really authentic feel.  Costuming and grooming all set the stage for a down-to-earth realness that other films going back in time often forget to put the effort into. The fish-out-of-water humor is also still so fresh.  The need for a Pepsi Free still carries a laugh and those awkward moments of misguided romance between Marty and his unknowing mother still bring an odd hilarity too.  When Marty is being chased or racing against time to go home, we are rooting for him and the good Doc too.

I haven’t even begun to discuss Doc Brown yet.  What a character – Equal parts absent-minded and brilliant, Doc is someone you can always rely on to entertain and even provide you comfort in this and the other two films.  He is a source of genuine sweetness and also a lot of the films core laughs.  He is like a Kramer-type character to me.  Biff Tannen is another icon in the film.  He is a brute and to see him get his come-uppance as the film presses on is a much-loved cheering moment for me as well.


  • Encoding: HEVC/H.265
  • Resolution: 4K
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Layers: BD-100
  • HDR: HDR10/HDR10+/Dolby Vision
  • Clarity/Detail: Continuing on a string of catalog title wins, Universal’s Back To The Future set begins with a gorgeous new 4K presentation. Colors, clothing, indoor and outdoor settings and everything in between looks incredible here.  Leaving no stone unturned, the film looks as if it was newly filmed, breathing some new life into the ageless appeal of the film. No detail is lost anywhere and it’s a sigh of relief to be breathed by all 4K fans.
  • Depth: Depth is the epitome of 4K pop. Doc Brown’s home lab is a playland for the eyes, with everything from his inventions, clocks and that iconic amplifier looking crisp, clean and almost three dimensional.
  • Black Levels: No black crush in this transfer! Those wet Hill Valley streets give you a glimpse into the blacks yet to come. Scenes at night (and there are quite a few) all benefit from the great blacks and shadow detail.
  • Color Reproduction: Colors look nice and true to life. There is no candy-coated look with the color palette, but everything looks as though you’re looking at it in real life.  It’s an excellently realistic look overall that will please newcomers and old fans all the same.
  • Flesh Tones: Everyone looks great here flesh tone wise. Doc Brown has a nice pasty look that helps give him some age, while Marty and the 1955 versions of his parents all have that young folks glow! Spectacular tones throughout.
  • Noise/Artifacts: A respectful and necessary layer of grain appears throughout the film, but besides that, this is a clean looking new transfer!


  • Audio Format(s): English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1; English: Dolby Digital 2.0; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Dynamics: Dynamically this new Atmos mix is lightyears ahead of the previous releases. Huey Lewis and the News’ hit singles have never sounded this lively.  Sound effects are of their vintage but presented in such a way that they retain a decent modern sound.  Surrounds and heights are active throughout and the subwoofer gets good use as well!
  • Height: Height effects come into play in many scenes involving chases, proms and lightning storms. The iconic Alan Silvestri score also is put up in those height channels. Ambient sounds are evident when appropriate as well.
  • Low-Frequency Extension: The subwoofer is given work to do with music and also any time travel scenes. The DeLorean gunning it to 88 and going wherever it goes adds a big rumble to the sound design. Other times the bass moments are more subtle such as the deep bass buzzing of the amp just before explosion. I’ve never heard that before!
  • Surround Sound Presentation: Surrounds are active almost constantly and they are used the right way. There are ambient sounds, car engines, crowd noise and music in those channels almost the entire film. Excellent use of surrounds!
  • Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is perfectly intelligible and of appropriate volume for the whole film.


Back To The Future comes in a couple of incarnations to 4K. The films aren’t available individually but all together in a set.  The digibox set is the standard and Best Buy has a nifty steelbook set.  Target and Amazon also offer one with a collectible hoverboard! They all include a digital code for each film and special features for each film along with a bonus disc.  For the first film, the legacy features are as follows:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Tales from the Future: In the Beginning
  • Tales from the Future: Time to Go
  • Tales from the Future: Keeping Time
  • Archival Featurettes
  • Michael J. Fox Q&A
  • Behind The Scenes
  • Power of Love Music Video
  • Teaser Trailer
  • Join Team Fox
  • Q&A Commentary with Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale
  • Audio Commentary with Bob Gale and Neil Canton


So many years have passed since my first viewing of the film and there are never moments during my viewings that make me think anything less than this film being an 80’s masterpiece.  There are very few films like this then and now and this one is special for many of us.  This new reference grade catalog release will be a big deal for a lot of us collectors too as this has been so lovingly upgraded.  This one is a release you can absolutely buy with confidence!

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