(continued from Robert Zemeckis: An Appreciation Part One)
1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit: Based on the book “Who Censored Roger Rabbit?” by Gary K. Wolf, this ground-breaking live action/animation film centers on a 1940s private detective (Bob Hoskins) who tries to protect Roger Rabbit (voiced by Charles Fleischer), a famous cartoon character who’s been framed for murder and being hunted by the villainous Judge Doom (Christopher Lloyd). Featuring both Disney and Warner Bros. animated characters, as well as Joanna Cassidy and Kathleen Turner as the voice of Jessica Rabbit, this film garnered six Oscar nominations (winning four of them!). A prequel is currently in development.
1989’s Back To the Future Part II: Picking up immediately where the first film left off, Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) brings Marty (Michael J. Fox) and his girlfriend Jennifer (Elizabeth Shue) to the year 2015 to fix their kids’ futures, but when Marty’s negligence leads to the past being altered, Doc and Marty have to travel back to 1955 to fix the space-time continuum. Nominated for a Best Visual Effects Oscar for its ground-breaking special effects, the film’s many futuristic items would actually become a reality within 25 years after its release. A sequel would be released the following year to close out the trilogy.
1990’s Back To the Future Part III: Picking up where Part II left off, Marty (Michael J. Fox) has the DeLorean fixed up so he could travel to 1885. He hopes to rescue Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd), who was trapped in the Old West at the end of Part II, and prevent him from being shot in the back by “Mag Dog” Tannen (Thomas F. Wilson). Things get complicated when Doc falls in love with a new teacher (Mary Steenburgen), and Marty may be the one who ends up with the bullet in the back. Shot back-to-back with Part II, this final chapter of the Back To the Future trilogy was critically well-received and brought the story to a perfect close.
1994’s Forrest Gump: Based on the novel by Winston Groom, this film depicts a few decades in the life of a naive and slow-witted Alabama native (Tom Hanks) who witnesses, and in some cases participates, in some of the major events of the second half of the 20th century. Featuring a cast that includes Robin Wright, Sally Field, Gary Sinise, and Mykelti Williamson, this film employed advancing, ground-breaking special effects, and was a critical and box office hit. It even won six of thirteen Oscars, including Best Actor, Best Director (for Zemeckis), and Best Picture.
1997’s Contact: Based on the novel by Carl Sagan, this film centers on a SETI scientist (Jodie Foster) who discovers a message from the stars and deals with the political and religious repercussions of whether or not to build the machine whose schematics were included in the message. Featuring a cast that includes Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt, James Woods, William Fichtner, Angela Bassett, David Morse, and John Hurt in a very creepy performance, the film was well-received critically and at the box office. It was also nominated for the Best Sound Mixing Oscar.
(To be concluded in: Robert Zemeckis: An Appreciation Part Three)