Despite coming out in 1985, the special effects in Back to The Future have held up remarkably well, and the film is often held as an example of practical movie effects done right before CGI became ubiquitous in Hollywood. In an interview, the co-writer of the movie, Bob Gale, explained that one particular special effect from Back to the Future still makes him cringe, in the scene where Marty McFly is slowly fading from existence after failing to get his parents to get together.
“I’ll tell you, though, the thing that aggravates me every time I see it is, and, again, we ran out of time, we didn’t have time to perfect the special effect, in the Johnny B. Goode scene, when Marty starts to be erased from existence and there’s the shot where he looks at his hand, and there’s a hole in it, it really wasn’t supposed to be like that. That’s just sort of … everybody else is just is fading out of existence, and, why is there this hole in his hand? That, we were up against a deadline. We just didn’t have time to have ILM do a rethink on that and figure out a better way to do that. That would be the main, number one thing that makes me cringe.”
Still, despite the wonky special effect in that scene, Back to the Future is adored by several generations of fans. Other movies have since attempted to copy the formula of the Back to the Future trilogy, but none have come close to enjoying the same level of popularity. According to Gale, the reason for this is because the copycats tend to learn the wrong lessons from the success of his films.
“The thing that people don’t always understand about Back to the Future and what really makes it work, because people say, ‘Oh, let’s do a time travel series.’ Well, okay, time travel series are really hard to pull off. Back to the Future works because it’s the story of this family, and time travel is an element of it, but you are totally with those characters.”
Bob Gale goes on to explain that the film creates a heartfelt dramatization of the moment that most people experience when they look to their parents and realize they were kids once as well. For Marty, that moment comes when he goes into the past and actually sees his father and mother as high school students belonging to his own age group.
Despite the massive popularity of the Back to the Future franchise, the makers have resisted any attempts to make further sequels or reboot the films for a new generation, insisting that the original movies were a perfect representation of a specific time and place in America pop culture. Still, the franchise has already seen one enormously successful reinterpretation in modern times, in the shape of Rick and Morty, which started off as a parody of Doc and Marty. If Back to the Future was a perfect representation of its time, and Rick and Morty is a perfect representation of our times… make of that what you will. ComicBook.com came first with this quote.