Starring: Dan Aaron Ramnarong, Pimchanok Leuwisetpaiboon, Vaan Chanintorn Jitpreeda
Director: Yanyong Kuruaungkoul
Running Time: 111 mins
Back To The 90s is a Thai film about a teenager who finds himself transported back to the mid-90s, where he meets his parents before he was born, and sets about helping his father before coming back to the present.
An homage to/copy of Back To The Future but set four decades later, Back To The 90s is a really lovely film, filled with life and energy alongside good humour and thoroughly likable characters. Its story may not have the excitement of Back To The Future, but it turns to one of modern Thai cinema’s strongest areas – romantic drama – to keep you entertained, and does it without issue right the way through.
Let’s start off with the time travel side of the story, though, because while the film takes its main inspiration from Back To The Future, it’s not quite as identical as you may expect. Of course, its time setting is the most obvious difference, this time offering up a whole heap of ’90s nostalgia including pagers, walkmans and even Tamagotchis to remind you of your youth.
Whether or not this depiction of the 90s quite has the same vibrant character as the 50s setting of Back To The Future is another matter, but there’s no denying that the film captures its time period well, and with a soundtrack that’s even got some original Thai indie rock that’s very much à la The Cranberries etc, it’s an immersive and thoroughly entertaining trip back in time.
When it comes to the core plot, the basic premise is the same, except this time we don’t see our main character desperately trying to change/maintain the course of history to prevent his own future from fading away. In that, Back To The 90s doesn’t quite have the excitement of Back To The Future, and leaves some of the main character’s actions without much motivation, proving the film’s weakest point overall.
With that said, though, there’s no escaping just how enjoyable and pleasant a movie this is, whether it be the fun nostalgia of the trip back to the 90s, or, as is mostly the case, the delightfully sweet romantic drama that unfolds throughout.
While it may not be the most emotional or enthralling big screen romance ever, it’s got all the heart and humour to really make you smile, delightfully telling the ups and downs of teen love that both plays well on the nostalgia front, as well as a bog-standard romantic movie.
In fact, the time travel aspect of the story doesn’t have all that much bearing on the core romance, and although that doesn’t speak highly of the screenplay, it gives you the opportunity to enjoy two thoroughly enjoyable movies for the price of one, and they blend together well throughout thanks to the energetic and passionate direction from Yanyong Kuruaungkoul.
Overall, then, I had a lot of fun with Back To The 90s. It’s nowhere near as impressive or thrillingly entertaining as Back To The Future, but few films are. Instead, it’s a delightful and easy-going movie that combines wonderful nostalgia with a sweet romance, making for a genuinely pleasant watch throughout, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.7.