Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How Back To The Future Almost Nuked The Fridge

Peter Sciretta over at /Film wrote an interesting post about how the original script of Back to the Future nearly "Nuked The Fridge", a term he explains below:
"After Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was released, a new pop culture term was coined. Nuke The Fridge is a reference to the film’s opening scene (possible spoilers if you haven’t seen it) where Indiana Jones finds himself on a Nuclear test site and hides in a refrigerator to survive the atomic blast. The phrase Nuke The Fridge was joined as an alternative to Jump The Shark, another pop culture term based on a scene in an episode of Happy Days when Fonzie literally jumps over a shark while water skiing. The scene was considered so preposterous, and is considered by many to signify the moment in time when the show became unappealing to its core audience."
Hard to believe that such a term could be used to describe anything related to the Back to the Future movies, but it's true.  Obviously, I loved the first Back to the Future movie but, I will admit that the original script was pretty cringe-worthy.  In fact, I talked about it a bit in this post back in July of last year:
"Now, in the original "Back to the Future" script (which, I'm sorry to say, was rather painful), the climactic scene did not revolve around Marty using lightning to power a DeLorean time machine back to 1985.

Actually, it had Marty leaving the "Enchantment Under the Sea" dance to take a road trip with Doc to Nevada where they snuck onto a restricted military base so Marty could hide out in an empty test house (with a TV playing "Howdy Doody", see a pattern here, folks?) before using a nuclear explosion (and a bottle of "Coke", in an act of really blatant product placement) to power his trip back to 1985... in a refrigerator.
Come on! When I first read that, I thought "Thank God they were smart enough to change that".
Peter gives more of an explanation over why the idea was scrapped:
Director Robert Zemeckis has said in interviews that producer Steven Spielberg was afraid that children would start climbing into refrigerators and getting trapped inside, after replicating the scene in the film. Who would have thought that he would have made a film where the hero climbs into a fridge at a nuclear test site almost 25 years later.

Zemeckis still believed that the time machine should move, and they came up with the idea of using a retrofitted DeLorean because it could lead to the gag of farmer Peabody thinking it was a UFO/Aliens. The concept of the Hill Valley courthouse didn’t come until much later. Even the third draft of the screenplay involved taking the DeLorean time machine to the atomic bomb test site. The idea was scrapped because it was deemed too expensive for the budget. ILM wanted one million dollars to create the bomb effect, and at that time, that was a lot of money. The power source was changed to lightening and the location was changed to the Hill Valley courthouse, which they filmed on the Universal Backlot.
Click over to read the rest. He's even included a video of the storyboards from third-draft ending.

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