The Back to the Future film franchise is one of the most successful in film history, with the three films still being amongst the most rented and bought movies in the world — thirty years on from the first film’s release.
Although the original film saw Marty McFly and Doc Brown going back in time to the 1950s, in Back to the Future Part II the pair go forward to October 21st 2015 — just two days away from today. The October 21st 2015 of the Back to the Future world had flying cars, hovering skateboards and some rather bizarre fashion developments, but how much did the writers predict correctly?
Undoubtedly, there was a lot of artistic licence involved on the part of the writers and they will have predicted most things in a very tongue-in-cheek manner.
No World Wide Web
Back To The Future II does of course predict some huge changes in technology, that many of us have lived through, but the Internet, arguably one of the biggest changes in modern technology was not even hinted at.
Work on the Internet was well underway by the mid 80s although it was not until the end of the decade that the World Wide Web as we now know it began to emerge and the start of the 90s that the first websites became available.
The thing we were all waiting for in 2015 was the hoverboard. We were practically promised them by BTTF2 and we were totally let down, right? Wrong. Lexus have, in fact, manufactured the world’s first genuine overboard.
Unfortunately for us, it’s unlikely to become an everyday reality until the world’s roads and pavements are adapted to contain huge magnets — something which is very unlikely to happen in the near future. However, I am sure Lexus have gained large amounts of publicity online with the whole venture.
Marty’s house in 2015 features a wall-mounted flatscreen TV (still a pipe dream in the 198os) which can display a number of channels at once and also shows video calling from a phone. The caller on the other end is shown swiping their credit card in a small scanner in order to send money to the other person. All of this is very possible and, in fact, routine now in 2015 if you use a little artistic licence with the phone’s credit card scanner and assume that to be Apple Pay. Interestingly, the film shows that outsiders are able to monitor and listen in to private phone calls… The less said about that the better.
Although the Internet is notable by its absence in Back to the Future 2, the film’s writers did manage to conjure up something that we are incredibly familiar with these days. Marty McFly talks to his boss via video call; something which could feasibly happen these days. Although, unlike in the film, we are not limited to making video calls from our big screen television. Programs like Skype have enabled us to make video calls from anywhere in the world, using our computer, smartphone or tablet.
When Marty arrives in 2015 one of the first things he does it to put on a pair of self-lacing ‘sneakers’ and it is reported that this is something that Nike are working on. Whether this is simply a next viral marketing exercise or if it set to become reality it will be very interesting look out for.
Predictions that didn’t make it…yet
However, there were one or two pretty much rock-solid predictions by 1980s standards which fell flat on their face.
A newspaper headline headline reads “President Says She’s Tired” — no female president for the United States yet, but it’s looking ever-closer. In fact, it’s the ubiquity of newspapers in the fictional 2015 that looks most odd — not one character is reading the news on anything resembling a smartphone or tablet.
It’s also probably best that we don’t focus on the fashion aspect of BTTF2, too. Let’s just say most of the characters look like tinfoil-wearing mobile phone radiation conspiracists.