The energy and heart which Robert Zemeckis and story-writing partner Bob Gale (who takes solo screenplay credit this time) poured into the ingenious story of part one is diverted into narrative mechanics and camera wizardry in Future II.
The story starts exactly where the original left off, with Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd’s visionary inventor Dr Emmett Brown taking off in their flying DeLorean time machine for 2015 on an urgent mission to save Fox’s children from a terrible fate.
Future II finds the McFly family living in shabby lower-middle class digs in a world that isn’t so much Orwellian as a gaudier and tackier projection of the present day.
What matters to Fox is that his son has become a wimp, just like his father was in the 1955 segment of the original film.
Then, in a curious narrative lapse, Fox picks up a sports almanac which, if taken back to the past, will enable him to get rich by gambling on future events. But villainous Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) absconds with it in the time machine to give it to his 1955 self, and the chase begins.
Zemeckis’ fascination with having characters interact at different ages of their lives hurts the film visually, and strains credibility past the breaking point, by forcing him to rely on some very cheesy makeup designs.
1989: Nomination: Best Visual Effects