After today, every ‘Back to the Future’ film will have been set in the past. Scary isn’t it? Back to the Future Day has been a widely anticipated day of celebration for the cult films starring Michael J. Fox. ‘Back to the Future’ has become a staple in every must-see movie list and for any film buff, so this day is worth celebrating – but, did they get anything right?
The short answer is no. However I’m not going to give you the short answer because I have to talk about Back to the Future for longer than one paragraph so I’m going to say – sort of! Marty McFly travels round on a Hoverboard and whilst we don’t have Hoverboards that actually… hover, we do have those things teenagers are going round on these days instead of walking and people refer to them as Hoverboards. We don’t have self-lacing trainers at the moment, though it has been reported that Nike have already patented self-lacing trainers similar to the ones that feature in the film. They were just a little too early in predicting that one.
In the film, Biff paid for his taxi using his thumb print. Although we haven’t made it quite that far, with the likes of ApplePay, contactless payments, and the rise of Uber more of us are now hailing and paying for taxis without having to rummage for our wallets.
Also, powering a car with waste you put in the Mr Fusion Energy Converter is also still only a dream for environmentalists. However, there are steps being taken to convert waste and sewage into energy and buses in Bristol and Bath are supposedly running on treated sewage and thrown-away food. Registration plates are the same, and I don’t think there’s any plan to turn them into barcodes in the future.
Something they did get right was drones. The use of drones are seen only briefly in the movie, but the film depicted dog-walking drones, which apparently do exist though I’ve yet to see one, and a USA Today drone filming a crime scene. Many media organisations have been deploying ‘camera-enabled’ aircraft to film crime scenes from a different perspective.
Entertainment wise, we have not been treated to more Jaws films, and definitely not in ‘Holomax’. However, they sort of got it right with the rise of the 3D movies and with each and every 3D movie looking more impressive, the latest pitch in 3D technology is a laser-projection system. This innovation was recently premiered in London with the film ‘The Walk’, directed by the same guy who directed the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy.
The one obvious thing they missed was the lack of smartphones. Though the smartphone hasn’t even been around that long (Nokia 3310 anyone?) they have become a staple in modern life and are used for pretty much everything. This is understandable. At the time, the World Wide Web didn’t exist, so the 2015 they depict is largely offline. This explains all the fax machines. They did, however, have video calls on the television which parallels Skype, and when a campaigner is trying to restore the clock in the film, he does seem to be carrying a tablet.
So, whilst they didn’t get everything spot on, they got a lot of things right. Though the fashion isn’t quite as loud and as innovative as seen in the film, we’re getting there, and we also don’t have robots that fill up our car with fuel. We still have to do it ourselves. The greatest tragedy of all is that the pizza hydrator doesn’t exist. What a sad world we live in. Still, take this rainy, Back to the Future Day as an excuse to re-watch the film and find out what they got right and what they got wrong.