Back to the Present?

Ted Orbach, Contributing Writer

“Back to the Future II” is an iconic piece of 80’s film and an essential piece of one of the most beloved movie franchises ever, “Back to the Future,” which grossed approximately $416.8 million over the course of three movies, according to filmsite.org. In the second film, directed by Robert Zemeckis, Marty McFly and Doc travel to an insanely bizarre and futuristic 2015, complete with flying cars, rampant fax machines, hoverboards, and 19 Jaws movies. Though, as expected, most of these left-field predictions did not come to pass, those that have are a bit curious.

To begin with, Nike is in fact coming out with a self-lacing sneaker, the same style as those worn by Michael J. Fox in the film. They are going to be auctioned off in 2016 with proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Though this is a self-fulfilling prophecy (they are being made as a tribute to the movie), at least we’re getting some consolation for the unfortunate lack of hoverboards.

Another thing that Zemeckis and company managed to get completely correct was 80’s nostalgia. In BTTFII, Marty meets with Griff in Cafe 80’s, a restaurant based on 80’s nostalgia. As you can tell, 80’s nostalgia is still a huge deal, evidenced by the amount of 80’s throwback Halloween costumes, themes at sporting events and office parties, and the heavy 80’s pop influence in today’s music. This article itself is based off of 80’s nostalgia, in fact.

Zemeckis also basically predicted Google Glass, depicting pairs of glasses that were able to connect with house phones and even show television. This is surprisingly accurate when compared with the advent of not only Google Glass but all the devices that people in the real 2015 own. We have devices that can connect with our TVs, phone services, and pretty much anything in the environment around us.

On the other hand, as expected, most of the predictions Zemeckis made did not even come close to fruition. For instance, the Cubs supposedly won the 2015 World Series, which was prevented by the Mets in real life in the National League Championship Series. The one huge thing that Zemeckis curiously did not predict was the reliance on computers and the digital age. Though computers had existed for a while, the medium through which we lived was predicted to be the then brand new fax machine. In “Back to the Future I” there were fax machines everywhere: in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in the living room. They even had portable fax machines, a curious alternative to the now essential cellphone. It is pretty interesting that at the time, fax machines were actually bigger than computers, or seemed to have a brighter future. Not only this, but the film also predicted a female president (which is possible next election), a fashion trend based on inside-out clothes (which sadly still hasn’t caught on), and video games that don’t require the use of hands (XBox and Wii came close).

This whole pop culture anniversary has me wondering: what will the year 2045 look like? Will computers have human intelligence? Will virtual reality exist? Will humans be able to colonize space? These are just some of the questions that will be answered as we move past Back to the Future Day and towards the unknown. See you there.