On October 26 1985, Doc Brown and his underage sidekick, Marty McFly travel to the future in a Delorean generated by 1.21 jigawatts of power arriving in their hometown of Hill Valley on October 21, 2015. The future that they arrived in was full of flying cars and technology beyond viewer’s wildest imaginations. In 1985, there was no World Wide Web. There were no laptops, no wifi, no smartphones, no iPads and no iPods. CD’s weren’t even a household item yet. So when viewers saw the future that Back To The Future II promised, it was an overnight cultural phenomenon. It might have only been a 25 year time difference (part II was released in 1989), but 2015 felt like an entire lifetime away for most fans. Ten year old kids around the world marked their mental calendars for the day when they would have their very own hoverboard
2015 is now officially less than a year away. Over the past quarter of a century, the world has witnessed some of the most rapid advancements in human history. Advancements so big, they make some of the technology in Back To The Future’s foresight seem juvenile. But upon a modern viewing of the cult classic, it’s remarkable to see just how much Back To The Future II got right about technology today. We might not be looking at flying cars or hoverboards before next year, but the writers were still able to predict the future with alarming accuracy. Find out what 10 things they got right.
10. Miami Gets A Baseball Team
Miami didn’t have a baseball team in 1985 or 1989, which is why Marty is so shocked to see that they were in the World Series. The Miami Marlins didn’t begin playing in Florida until 1993 (then the Florida Marlins) and switched to a Miami based team in 2011. The Cubs did go on to face the Marlins in the 2003 Playoffs (not the World Series), but nothing came of it. Baseball fans should get their bets in now, though, because if the film is to be trusted, the Cubs could go on to beat Miami in the 2015 Championship game.
9. 3D Movies And Sequels
When Marty stops to marvel at the Texaco station that fuels up flying cars, he is surprised and impressed with a giant, 3D replica of the shark from the movie sequel Jaws 19. Although Jaws never made it past part IV, the film industry continues its love affair with producing sequels. Additionally, 3D technology is in every modern theater now across the country, with scenes in films specifically being shot to translate well in the 3D appearance of the film.
8. Wireless Tablets And Finger Print Technology
When Marty is approached in the future to help save the clock tower, the man is holding a flat, wireless tablet on which he can take Marty’s donation by registering his thumbprint on the screen. iPads paved the way for the craze of tablets and many Apple devices, among others, have fingerprint technology now. So, this prediction might be one that most viewers easily glance over, but it’s definitely notable.
Fun fact: The man asking Marty for the donation is the same person who does the voice of Roger Rabbit. Read on for an addition Roger Rabbit-Back To The Future II tie-in.
7. Antique Swipe Phones
In the window of the antique store, where Marty buys the almanac that sends him back into the past, all over sits a handful of items that the writers of the movie assumed would be ancient technology by 2015’s standards. The Macintosh and JVC tube television aren’t really that impressive, simply because they were already prevalent during the 80’s, so that would make it a little easier to predict. Check out the Magnavox box in the middle of the display that looks shockingly similar to swipe phones that were popular around 2008 (like the Sidekick). Cell phones were barely even marketable in 1989. The fact that they could not only predict such an advanced phone by 1980’s standards, but to make that version considered an antique is highly impressive.
Fun Fact II: As a special shout out to the Roger Rabbit stuffed animal in the corner (gone, but never forgotten), Who Framed Roger Rabbit? hadn’t been released yet. The man who asks Marty for the clock tower donation was working on Roger Rabbit at the same time and was able to sneak it into the shot.
6. Compost Fuel
When Doc Brown appeared back in Hill Valley to gather Marty and his very confused girlfriend to take him back to the future and snapped, “I need fuel!” everyone was sure it meant another run in with the Libyans. But Doc had some new tricks up his gold lame sleeves. Instead of plutonium, he tossed banana peels, eggshells, beer and even the beer can itself that he found in the trash can into the “Mr. Fusion” fuel generator and, voila, fuel. Today, cars that run on alternative fuel sources are growing fast. Willie Nelson has been traveling the country in a tour bus powered by corn oil since 2007. Also, All Power Labs of Oakland, California created a trash-powered Honda Accord that uses gasification technology in 2009. The road to these vehicles being parked in every driveway across the country might be long. But roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
5. Flat Widescreen Wall Mounted TVs
Young Marty comes home and instructs his giant, wall-mounted flat widescreen TV to open 9 different channels simultaneously. Which means, the TV not only had SIRI capabilities, but the writers of the show knew that we would all be watching thin, long, and flat TV’s mounted up on our wall. He seemingly knew that rather than opting for a giant projection screen or, even more cliché, holograms, we would have slim screens hanging on our walls.
4. Handless Video Games
While at the 80’s Café, which features both popular and not-so-popular memorabilia from the 1980s, Mary notices a couple of kids trying to figure out how to play the dated arcade game, Wild Gunman. Marty steps up to the game, grabs a gun, and says “I’ll show ya, kid. I’m a crack shot at this,” proudly showing off his skills. But the kids scowl at the game and say, “You mean you have to use your hands? That’s like a baby’s toy!” Thanks to video game technology like Kinnect, controllers are becoming a thing of the past. A far cry from the days when everyone had to sit within two feet of the TV or risk ripping the controller out of the console by the cord.
Additional fun fact for you movie trivia buffs: One of the kids who is unimpressed by Marty’s gaming skills in the 80s café is a young Elijah Wood, starring in his first on-screen appearance.
3. Video Chatting
The idea of video conferencing and telephones with TVs on them were a really big deal in the 80s. Nobody could wait for the technology to get here. Now that everyone has the ability to video chat relatively anytime, anywhere with webcams on our computers, Skype, and FaceTime, everyone is kind of over it. The TVs in Back To The Future II also showed a rolling ticker that displayed the interests of the people you were chatting with, which can loosely tie in with social media and the dreaded public profile.
2. Power Laces
Most people argue that one of the things that was way off in Back To The Future II is that everyone seems to dress like a mental patient. From Biff’s tin helmet, to Marty’s sleeves that don’t fit, to the double neck-tie that luckily hasn’t caught on, the fashion in the film definitely did not live up to the test of time. But one thing did: those awesome power laces.
They’re not here yet. But an Australian woman, Blake Bevin, created a prototype that earned her a $25k Kickstarter to produce the concept. And Nike has promised the same premise of self-tying shoe laces for mass marketing in the same year Marty gets his: 2015.
1. Google Glass
Marty’s kids might have been a little on the strange side, but they definitely stayed in touch with the times. Their computerized glasses strongly resemble the current wearable technology of Google Glass, which hasn’t seemed to really catch on just yet, but is still making a buzz across the tech world.