Back To The Future Trilogy Scores (Mondo Box Set)

Posted: July 12, 2016 in Vinyl
Tags: , , , , ,

I only have a few Mondo releases in my collection; the Jurassic Park and Halloween Soundtrack/Score, and judging by those I had no reason to expect the Back To The Future Trilogy set they released would be a huge disappointment. Compared to the quality and creativity of the Jurassic Park and Halloween records, these Back To The Future records are lacking, especially considering the price.

When it was first announced that Mondo was releasing the scores for each movie in the Back To The Future trilogy, many people were excited, including myself. The price tag is what it is. It’s the same price Mondo charges for all their releases; $35. It’s a take it or leave it thing, as their stuff is rarely discounted and good luck trying to find it for anywhere close to retail on the secondary market because flippers flock to Mondo. Mondo usually pulls out all the stops with their releases so the price is a bit easier to swallow, and initially it appeared they were going to do the same with the Back To The Future Trilogy as they decided to release a limited box set for the three scores as well as release each of them individually. Before I delve deeper into things, my complaints are solely for the box set, not the individual, non-box set exclusive scores/variants.

The box set cost $105 before shipping, which comes out to $35 for each score, and that is if you’re not including the box itself or the exclusive booklet that comes with it. I guess it was my own ignorance for not reading the complete description/press release for the box set, I just skimmed through it and stopped reading, letting out a bit of a chuckle once I saw the price. I didn’t bother to do the math to see it cost $35 for each score, the same as buying them outside of the box set, I just wrote it off as being too much to sink into one thing. Fast forward to the pre-order date (fittingly October 2015) when I was literally hiking up a mountain, having the box set sell out long before I got back to my hotel that night, was only further encouragement that I made the right decision on not buying it.

Now with that said, if you’re reading this you’re probably thinking well why did you/what made you wind up buying it after all that? Well, once the box sets started shipping in April 2016 it reminded me about these scores, and I started listening to the all three of them again and fell back in love with them. It also didn’t hurt that Mondo hinted they would be re-stocking their web store with out of print/sold out stuff (strongly hinting that the Back To The Future box set would be amongst them) to introduce their new shipping services. I bought a copy of the box set when Mondo put more copies up for sale during that re-stocking in late April 2016. I’ll admit, I enjoy soundtracks more than scores, regardless of how much I like a movie. But there are simply classic scores, like Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones and Back To The Future that can’t be passed up when given the chance. If you notice I have several of those in my collection.

Going back to my ignorance regarding the press release, I just assumed the box set was an actual box set, not a slip case. So calling this a “box set” is kind of misleading. But yes, I still bought the box set, even after seeing photos of the final product and realizing it’s just a slip case. And the reason goes back to my love of the score and the films themselves. The first Back To The Future is hands down my favorite movie. And I think the franchise didn’t get watered down or tarnished with each successive sequel, unlike a ton of other franchises out there. I’m looking at you Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and Star Wars.

Before I ramble on further, here are the pertinent details about this Back To The Future Trilogy box set. As aforementioned, each of the three scores come housed in a hard shell slip case, which is inspired by the plutonium case Doc uses in the first movie when he first tests the time machine in the mall parking lot. The front and back of the slip case are identical, but the top, bottom and side (that doesn’t have the opening) all are slightly different. The top is meant to resemble the metal edges of the plutonium case. That is where my initial gripe is with the laziness and/or lack of creativity with this set. I know they make boxes with both lids that came completely off and ones where the lid remains attached to the box itself with some sort of hinge or strapping, as I have many of them in my collection. Mondo should have went that route as it would have added that extra touch to really knock this set out of the park. Instead they opted for the easy route, a simple slip case. A true box set with a lid that opens up while remaining attached to the box itself like it does in the movie. With that style of box, the plutonium case would replicated a lot better, and would truly feel inspired by the movie. Mondo also added rust/wear/grime to the replicated metal portions on the slip case, which simply aren’t in the movie. In the movie all the metal parts of the plutonium storage case are shiny stainless steel.

As per usual, Mondo went berserk with variants. In total there are four variants; two are for different covers and there are color variants amongst the different covers. First off, everything inside the box set is exclusive to the box set. The cover art, gatefold artwork and back cover art, along with the color of the records themselves. The artwork for all the box set variants was done by DKNG Studios, whereas the artwork for all the non box set variants was done by Matt Taylor. The artwork between the two (box set vs. non box set) is drastically different. You can see the box set artwork in the photos below. It’s all themed to match, with the Deloreon’s tire tracks in a setting inspired by each of the films. The gatefold artwork continues the running theme, having the DeLorean on each as it’s seen in each respective film. So the first score has the standard DeLorean, the second has the hover conversion and the third has the train wheels. The cover art for the non box set variants are all different from one another, there is no theme. But there is a theme for the gatefold art, which is the clock tower as it appears in each of the three films.

Usually Mondo releases have a thick, sturdy jacket. But with these, at least the box set versions, the jacket is very thin and flimsy. Which was a disappointment. Especially after finding seam splits in all three scores, which I attribute to the low quality of the jackets themselves. Mondo packaged the box set great for shipment. So the poor quality of the jackets are another disappointment of mine.

The box set is limited to 2,000 copies. The first score is on yellow marble, the second score is on pink with green splatter and the third score is on brown. All scores are pressed as a double LP, and at least for the box set variants, come in a black ploy lined dust sleeve. I can’ speak for the non box set variants, but the box set has different center label for the A/B and C/D sides. The A/C sides had a proper titling labels, while the B/D sides have images inspired by the movies. I usually don’t post/take photos of each side of the record, but for this release you can see all the center labels in the photos below. There is only one variant for the box set, but the non box set copies have two variants. Each score has a limited color variant (clear with electric blue) and a standard black variant. It’s the same deal with the center labels as with the box set variants, though the center labels are different between the two. No word on how many copies were pressed of either variant for the non box set version, which is typical of Mondo. I’m actually surprised they released the pressing info for the box set.

All scores, regardless of if they’re in the box set or stand alone, are on 180 gram vinyl. But with that said, my copy of the third score from the box set if not on 180 gram. It’s on standard weight vinyl; first LP is 142 grams and the second LP is 133 grams. That is my second complaint about this release, and it has a bit more merit as it’s a glaring error instead of personal preference in art direction. Typically I’m not a stickler for records not being on 180 gram, but when it come to something I spent over $100 on, I’m going to be upset if it’s way under 180 grams.

On top of the exclusive variants in the box set, it also comes with an exclusive booklet. The booklet has exclusive liner notes written by Bob Gale, the screenwriter. Nothing from Alan Silvestri, you know the guy who actually composed the score and would be a far better and more suiting choice to write up something regarding the score(s). The booklet itself is rather disappointing. It’s a small, almost brochure size stapled booklet of hardly any substance. Bob Gale’s liner notes are only four pages, with nearly two pages devoted entirely to the first film while the second and third films are combined together to cover a total of two pages. The rest of the booklet is detailed credits that seem to only serve as filler. I guess they’re needed for legal reasons but they’re completely meaningless and unnecessary to the average person.

So there you have it, my gripes about this release and all the finer details about the box set. I can’t speak in depth about the non box set variants because I don’t own them. I’m basing the information I included on photos of those variants, which are widely available online.

 

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