Why "Back To The Future Day" Was So Popular
Happy BTTF Day, everyone!
Back To The Future Day, and why it was so popular.
This last Tuesday, October 21st, 2015, was Back To The Future Day. The internet was abuzz as this is the day, in the film, Back To The Future Part II, that Doc Brown and Marty McFly arrived to save Marty’s son from participating in a robbery.
For the last few years, fans of all ages have been anticipating this day. Some major corporations have even gotten in on the fun; Pepsi released a limited edition run of their previously fictional “Pepsi Perfect” soda, seen in the film. And, in 2011, Nike released a special edition of the shoes Marty wore in the future 2015, available only on ebay as a charity auction item for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. These kicks did not, however, feature the self-lacing ability that Marty’s had, but Nike has been working on the high tech version, and presented a prototype pair to Marty McFly himself, Michael J. Fox. The company plans to hold another auction for the power-lacing version sometime in Spring 2016.
Other things have been popping up to whet the appetites of BTTF fans; there is an animated sketch of what Doc and Marty would actually find in October 2015, and the result is a mixture of hilarious, and rather depressing.
Then there is the hoverboard. Oh, the wonderful hoverboard! In the film, Marty needs to escape from Griff and his vile cronies after a fist fight, so he asks to borrow a kids skateboard, only to find that, in this future, they have been replaced (as far as we can tell) by a skateboard without wheels; a board that hovers magically over the ground. It’s a great sequence, and one that instantly inspired many to try and create one for real world applications. So far, it hasn’t gone so well, with several failed attempts from people such as Jamie Hyneman from MYTHBUSTERS and Jason Bradbury from THE GADGET SHOW, but human innovation and determination are nearly unstoppable, so what we have so far is looking promising; in 2011, French artist, Nils Guadagnin, built a prototype board using magnetic repulsor technology, but was unable to sustain any heavy load. In 2014, a YouTube video surfaced from a company called HUVr, featuring Christopher Lloyd reprising his role as Doc Brown, and skateboard legend, Tony Hawk. The clip showed Hawk riding a hoverboard around a skate park. However, keen eyed viewers spotted evidence that the clip was a prank, and the video was exposed as a hoax. In 2015, Lexus released a video that showed a hoverboard in motion that used liquid nitrogen cooled superconductors and a series of magnets to sustain it. Lexus later admitted that the board is only operational on certain surfaces containing heavy amounts of metal, which would be fine if such surfaces existed in any useful capacity.
Finally, as with other films and television programs that have depicted the near future, the world was waiting to see what predictions, if any, that were made in the film would come true. While we still don’t have food hydrators that churn out full-sized pizzas from tinier, uncooked, ones; we still use doorknobs instead of thumbprints; those awesome dog walking drones are still not in store; and of course, no flying cars. The film did get some things, sort of true, like virtual headsets; Google Glasses were released recently, but were considered a flop when people realized how awkward they looked in them. We do have impressive thumbprint scan technology on our phones, but we cannot yet use a simple digit press to pay for items outside the home. We also use drones as cameras to capture news footage, and it more or less inspired Skype to become a reality.
The reason why the internet exploded into a celebration of Back To The Future should now be clear; the films have fascinated us, entertained us, and most importantly, inspired the world to look forward to the future and create new technologies to help us achieve the impossible.
I, for one, am just thankful that we aren’t wearing that space-age neon nightmare clothing.