The year is 1955. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) meets up with Dr. Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd). It turns out the Doc Brown from 1985 traveled back in time to the wild west of 1855, and sent a letter to Marty asking him to return to 1985 and destroy the DeLorean time machine. Marty cooperates until he stumbles upon the grave of Doc Brown, who died only a week after writing Marty that letter. So far, so good, right?
Unfortunately this movie transforms into a clichéd western, complete with bar fights, a gunslinger showdown, and a damsel in distress. You'd figure that the creative forces behind the first two movies would have given us something better than this, but ultimately we're let down. Instead, this movie relies heavily on running gags from the previous films (you'll know them when you see them). Also, the "wild west" setting of the movie looks as if it was ripped from Universal Studios or something. It doesn't look realistic at all.
Back in 1885, Marty seeks out and eventually finds Doc Brown. Together, they try to fix the recently damaged DeLorean, and in doing so, Doc saves the life of a woman Clara (Mary Steenburgen). Doc and Clara develop an instant attraction, which ultimately causes Doc Brown to rethink whether he really wants to go back to the future or stay in 1885. Like in the first two movies, actor Thomas L. Wilson plays the bad guy, this time Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen.
I really didn't like this movie. Maybe if it was a standalone movie, I'd have a better opinion; but in all honesty, it did nothing to push the time travel story forward, as the majority takes place in 1885. Also, the ending felt pretty cheesy, although it did wrap up a few issues.
"The Making of Back to the Future Part III" is shown in full screen, integrating clips from the movie and interviews with Zemeckis, Fox, and many others discuss the third movie. The featurette runs approximately 8 minutes. "Making the Trilogy: Chapter Three" was produced specifically for the DVD, and looks fantastic. Here Zemeckis and Gale discuss working on both Part II and III at the same time, the wild west motif, Christopher Lloyd's first onscreen kiss, and other things. This was nowhere as good as the first two "Making Ofs." This runs for 16 minutes.
"Live Q&A Session" is a commentary track, featuring Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, held at the University of Southern California in front of a live audience. They talk about why they chose to set the movie in 1885, editing, and postproduction. The commentary ends only 30 minutes into the movie.
The commentary with Bob Gale and Neil Canton starts out with them guaranteeing us that there won't be a "Back to the Future Part IV". At this point, you can tell that they are a little burned out from recording so many commentaries. They discuss the Lea Thompson/McFly attraction, riding horses, among other things. I found this to be the driest of the commentaries, as I actually fell asleep during it.
There is one deleted scene with optional commentary. Shown in rough-cut widescreen, its under two minutes in length. This runs for 7 minutes. Next are the outtakes… that only last less than two minutes, once again, a massive letdown. Like the second DVD, the remaining features are short in length, and could easily have been compiled into one neat featurette. The ZZ Top video is passable, but I did like the Back to the Future FAQ. It attempts to answer the impossible questions on time travel, and is generally a fun read.