Back to Future day marks important date, film fails to predict future

By Preman Koshar || Arts & Entertainment Editor

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015 was an important day for film buffs and science fiction fans alike. Oct. 21 was Back to the Future Day— the exact day in the second Back to the Future film when Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) goes to change his son’s destiny. When the film first came out, this was over 25 years in the future, but now that day has finally come to pass. Marty McFly has finally grown up, and the future is now. To commemorate this occasion, I will review the second Back to the Future film and analyze its predictive skill (or lack thereof).

Back to the Future II is set immediately following the events of the first film, and launches right into a new drama: Marty’s son, 25 years in the future, has gotten himself and his sister arrested. This event, according to Doctor Emmett Brown (Christopher Lloyd), will destroy Marty’s family for generations to come. Marty and him must go back and stop him before he sends the McFlys down a dark path.

The cinematography in Back to the Future II is not particularly spectacular, but it doesn’t really need to be. This film is not really about how it looks— it’s about having fun with the concept of time travel. The acting is decent, and Michael J. Fox does a great job of being the stereotypically impulsive and enthusiastic
1980s kid. 

Christopher Lloyd is as goofy as can be, and manages to pull off an entertaining combination of eccentric and brilliant as Hilldale’s resident mad scientist. The score is great: a wonderful combination of silly sound effects and well-timed cues adds a lot of suspense to otherwise kind of silly action. The plot is also well done— a lot of movies get tripped up with the concept of time travel, and while Back to the Future is not without its own plot holes, it is much more coherent than many more sophisticated films. The dialogue is repetitive, but pleasant. Each character has their own catchphrases and signature reactions to certain events (God forbid you ever call Marty “chicken”) and, again, while not very sophisticated, it is enjoyable and light-hearted. All in all, it is a truly fun and silly film that still makes me smile.

The film’s predictions about the future, unfortunately, are not very accurate. There are no mass produced hover boards (though it looks like Lexus may be coming out with one sometime soon) and clothing styles have not gotten more colorful and outlandish— for the most part, they’ve toned down. Clothes do not automatically dry or fit to your body yet and our AI systems are not quite as realistic or reactive as those in the restaurant quite yet. And, alas, flying cars are not a reality, but they might be soon. There are several companies that are working on building a car that can convert into a private plane right now.

It seems that overall, the film overestimated humanity’s technological advances, but on the other hand, they didn’t even imagine a personal smartphone. So maybe we’re not as far behind as it seems. And many of the advances shown in the movie (flying cars, hover boards, technological implants, etc.) have been predicted to now only be a decade or less away. The future may be closer than you think.

Preman Koshar is the Arts & Entertainment Editor. His email is pkoshar@fandm.edu.

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