Back To The Future Day
So, Back To The Future was released in 1985. And here we are, THIRTY years later: the very time and place that Marty McFly travels to in the second movie (1989). We visited the Puente Hills Mall today, aka. The Twin Pines/Lone Pine Mall, to snap a few pics and fulfill a major sci-fi pilgrimage. There’s one question that has been bouncing around for years now though, and one that can only truly be answered now: how accurate were the BTTF movies? Let’s do a quick before-and-after comparison.
The Levitating Signs
The signs in the movie look super-cool, there’s no arguing that. Highway signs levitate amongst the clouds (corresponding to the “sky highways”), and city signs hover high up above buildings. Unfortunately though, these signs are far from the current truth – as yet, we are still very much driving on solid roads, and our street signs are firmly rooted into the ground. However, one thing cannot be denied: traffic would be so much lighter if we could redirect some common vehicles into the air. It certainly would save me hours of travel every week! That’s wishful thinking for now though.
This is a difficult one. I mean, strictly speaking, we do now have hover boards. But, let’s face it, they are nowhere near as cool as those agile high-speed boards in the movie. Plus, I’m not sure if it counts as a real actualised prediction, given it was only created because of the movie. It’s not like skateboards have become redundant, right? Truth be told though, we do indeed have the technology to make boards hover nowadays, so I guess the movie was right in a way. Have any of you had the privilege of riding a Hover Board yet? p.s. those 2-wheel balance boards totally don’t count.
OK, I think we can all comfortably say that these outfits did not come to be – and thank f*** for that. Admittedly, it probably wouldn’t have been easy to predict that 80s high-waisted jeans, neon party outfits, and clashing geometric patterns would come back into fashion. And in all honesty, a movie set in the future with almost the exact same vehicles and outfits would have been utterly boring; and ironically unbelievable! Still, I’m glad we’re not running around with kitchen pots on our heads and carnival paint all over our faces…
BTTF 2 predicted interactive holographic movies, as seen in the scene (yeah, I know, that’s weird to read) where Marty is standing in front of the Holomax theatre and gets eaten by a giant holographic cartoon shark. The hologram was advertising Jaws 19 – a movie that clearly didn’t make it (and would have probably been very very boring). As far as movies nowadays go, I guess what we have is pretty much holographic – I mean, we have 3D movies (even 4D), which are almost equivalent to what we see in BTTF. Admittedly, our 3D films look nowhere near as solid and interactive as the shark in BTTF, but I think we have to at least give this one to them. Oh, and don’t give me that “Tupac Hologram” business – yeah, it looked utterly brilliant , but let’s face it, what we saw wasn’t a hologram. In fact, it was a basic glass reflection trick based on a 19th century technique invented by John Pepper: read more about “Pepper’s Ghost” here. You know what would be really cool though? All three Back To The Future movies in 3D.
Flying Cars/The Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor
Yeah, so as mentioned before, we definitely don’t have flying cars (yet?). Unless the Government is hiding something from us, which is always a possibility (cue for UFO theorists). In terms of energy resources though, I would have honestly hoped that we’d have come up with something more efficient and less pollutive by now. The Mr. Fusion Home Energy Reactor is essentially a mini-generator that derives its energy from combustible waste material, and was the energy source that powered the DeLorean time machine. OK, so we have hybrid and electric cars nowadays, and many buildings make use of solar energy. But, considering that similar power sources have been used as far back as WWII, it’s truly disappointing that such power generators are not used commonly around the globe nowadays. Shame on us. We had so much hope back then; this is something we should truly work towards.
The Food Hydrator
In the movie, we encounter something called a, “Hydrator” – a somewhat microwavey-looking device that is able to take a dehydrated food product (in this case, a dehydrated pizza), and rehydrate it into a scrumptious, piping hot meal (seriously, just look at that pizza…). So, do we have anything like that now? Well, we do have some pretty good microwaves nowadays, but that’s not quite it. Regarding dehydrated food though, that is indeed something we have: think space-food here (I’m sure we’ve all seen the freeze-dried ice cream and shrivelled vacuum packs of astronaut food). However, not only is dehydrated space food something that’s been around since the ‘60s, but we certainly don’t have a method of rehydrating it (other than by eating it). Black & Decker, you’ve failed us. Not cool.
In the movie, we witness the older version of Marty having a conversation with his co-worker (Needles, played by a somewhat scary looking Flea), followed by his supervisor (Fujitsu). Alas, I think we can safely say that we have video-calling technology nowadays; in fact, many of us probably use applications such as Skype and FaceTime more than we make regular “phone calls.” I know I do. Not only has it become a useful business tool, but it has also created millions of friendships and relationships around the world (cue for “awww”). As well, ahem, as a whole new industry in webcamming… Well done, Back To The Future, you got this one spot on.
OK, so they didn’t get much right. Does it really matter though? Nah. Would it have made the movie any better if it had been accurate? Certainly not. Let’s be honest, the BTTF version of the future was way cooler and more fun than our current version. That’s what sci-fi is all about: it’s not fiction for no reason.
Anyway, while we eagerly await the official Back To The Future, here are some extra pictures for you to enjoy: