Growing up, I didn't watch the trilogy until the early 90s when I was a kid and by then all 3 parts were on VHS. I particularly enjoyed part 3 the best as it had the whole Western element to it - part 2 always confused me as it jumped around a lot. I also grew up watching the Saturday morning Back to the Future cartoon which takes place after part 3 and focused more on Doc and Clara's sons Jules and Verne
A few months ago, the Back to the Future trilogy was re-released in as a 3-disc 25th Anniversary Blu-Ray/DVD set and in response, Sci-Fi and Pop Culture site io9 posted an article stating and pointing out how Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd's character) is actually the villain in the trilogy. Pretty interesting way of looking at it, if you really think about it.
Below are key points from the article, which you can read in full here.
He's a Terrorist
It's hard to call a lovable character from our childhood a terrorist, but he was. The DeLorean was electric but he needed a nuclear kick to generate the 1.21 gigawatts...again, 1.21 GIGAWATTS!!!...to shoot through time. Since you can't buy plutonium at the corner drugstore he had to steal it from Libyan terrorists. He takes the toxic and deadly substance for his own personal use and makes a bomb for the Libyans out of used pinball machine parts. This proves he knows how to make a bomb and is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goal. When they realize he made them a fake bomb they want revenge so they drive their van down to the Twin Pines Mall—later the Lone Pine Mall—at 1 AM looking for some payback. He then promptly gets shot in front of his dog and a teenage boy, who's then forced to jump in a time machine and destroy the space time continuum. This all happened because he was working with the enemy. More like Doc "Taliban Al Qaeda" Brown, right?
Let's face it: He deserved to get shot. That's what happens when you deal with terrorists. They kill you. However, in the process he put a teenager and his dog at risk. Doc was on his way to the future moments before the terrorist van tore into the parking lot. What if he had remembered to pack the plutonium, left for the future, and then the terrorists arrived while Marty was still there and took out their revenge on the happy-go-lucky teen who was drawn into the mad scientist's web of deceit? Or, worse yet, what if the terrorists killed Doc, Marty, and took the time machine for themselves? Plutonium is nothing when compared with a machine that could take over the world. Biff had a shot to run the world and made it sleazy; terrorists would travel back in time and run over George Washington with the De Lorean. If there's no George, there's no Great Satan. But what if the terrorists killed them all and didn't realize it was a time machine, you ask? Well, genius, Marty made a videotape detailing every aspect of the DeLorean. It even shows how to fuel the damn thing. If they can find a guy in a mall parking lot in the middle of the night they can probably operate a VCR.
Even if everything went according to plan, Doc still contaminated a mall parking lot with plutonium, poisoning a helpless community for decades to come. You really think those thin hazmat suits or plutonium chamber in a jury-rigged DeLorean are safe protection against nuclear fall-out? Well, they're not.
He's an Old Man Whose Best Friend is a Teenage Boy
Let's rewind to the very beginning, when Marty first walks into Doc's home. That's weird to begin with: A teen having access to a much-older non-relative's house. Then the phone rings and Marty is comfortable enough to answer the phone in a house that isn't his own.He Unnecessarily Puts His Dog's Life at Risk
It's Doc. How did he know Marty would be there at that precise moment? He should have been in school. Does Marty always stop by Doc's house before school? Does he ever spend the night? Doc tells Marty to meet him at the mall at 1:15 AM and Marty's totally cool with that. Later on he wakes Marty at around 12:30 AM to make sure he'll be at the mall in time. He also reminds him to stop by his house and grab some condoms...sorry, the video camera.
He's a loner in 1955 as well, living on the outskirts of town, on the precipice burning through his family fortune to make a machine that could destroy the world.
In Part III they give him a love interest. Director Robert Zemeckis and Producer Bob Gale say in the Blu-ray special features it was time for Doc to stop living with his head and start living with his heart.
Likely story, Bobs.
He's a Selfish Coward
Near the end of the original Doc rips up the letter where Marty tell him about getting shot by terrorists.
He says no man should know his own destiny, space-time-continuum, blah, blah, blah... But what's he do at some point between 1955 and 1985? Tapes the letter back together!
When Marty asks about the whole destroying the universe thing Doc responds: "I figured, what the hell."
So it's wrong for Marty to make a few bucks from the future with a sports almanac, or for other people to not know their fate. But when it comes to his own ass it's "what the hell." Really brave, man.
He's a Thief
He burns through all his family money to make the time machine, yet he still has enough to fill a suitcase with different denominations from every possible era.
Plus he upgrades the DeLorean with a Mr. Fusion machine and visits a rejuvenation clinic (took out the wrinkles, did a hair repair, changed his blood, and replaced his spleen and colon) adding 30-40 years to his life. Where's he get all the cash?
Clearly he stole it. Moving on...
He Destroyed the Space Time Continuum
He ruined time. He takes no responsibility over his unholy invention. He proclaims over and over again that it was a mistake and must be destroyed, but he kept on using it. Like a junkie who's always prepared to quit tomorrow.
The Back to the Future logic says time is not set in stone, or self-correcting, and the future can be changed. With each trip they take he destroys time that much more. George McFly, his father, was a weak peeping-tom loser. Biff was a strong Alpha-male, most likely raised in an abusive home (did you hear how much his grandma screamed at him in Part II?). That's how things were supposed to be. That's nature. But it's okay to change things if the results benefit Marty and Doc? Biff of the alternate 1985 world would strongly disagree.
This is just the tip of the destruction caused by Doc. Even when he goes into the future to save Marty's kids he could have done more harm than good. When he's toying around in the old west he's inventing items that shouldn't be in existence yet. We're not saying Doc is responsible for global warming, but it's a definite possibility.
He's a Big Fat Liar Who Plays God
How many times does Doc say once they get back to 1985 they have to "destroy this infernal thing" referring to the time machine? At least twice. He also says he wishes he never invented it. When Marty arrives back in 1985—alone because Doc was too busy thinking with his Lil' Emmett by saving the damsel in distress (a woman who was supposed to die in a ravine)—the DeLorean is pulverized by a train. Whew! It's over. Everything is in place, Doc is stuck in the old west with his true love, and Marty can get back to his life. He goes home and it's the 1985 where his dad wasn't a loser and he has his own truck. He gets his girlfriend and takes her to see the destroyed DeLorean.
A big f-ing old west steam train appears with twirly things on top almost killing them.
Who's it in? Hey, it's Doc, his wife, and two young kids, one of which he won't let take a pee.
What happened to the whole notion that traveling through time is wrong? That he should have never built that infernal machine? Since his eldest son Jules doesn't appear to be older than five he must have been building it shortly after Marty went back to the future. Why would he do that? Did he build it so he could show up in the future—almost killing Marty and Jennifer—and tell them in person that the future is up to us? He also said he had to come back for Einstein, but we proved above that's a crock (i.e. using him as a guinea pig to test out the time machine). Couldn't he have just sent a letter like he did at the end of Part II? Or maybe his great-grandson could have approached Marty and told him of all the good his great-grand pappy did to benefit humanity and given instructions on taking care of Einstein. At least we know Marty wouldn't try to vaporize him. But no! The devious Doc decides to start the whole process over again, only this time dragging a wife and two young kids into his madness.
From a Hollywood perspective this ending made it clear that if Zemeckis' career went in the tank he could always return to this franchise. But success smiled on The Zemeck and he never needed to make another BTTF. But somewhere, shooting through time, is Doc, addicted to the power of controlling the universe, wielding his infinite power over three hostages he calls family. Great Scott, indeed.
What do you think?