Back to the Future
I was just a kid when my sister or someone took this out on a recorded VHS tape and put it on for me. Holy ****. What a perfect movie to show to a kid to fire up his imagination. Especially on time travel. As I mentioned above it’s the ABC of time travel, it clearly establishes what you can do with a time machine and how you can screw things up also. Until this point time travel movies were things like ‘The Time Machine’ (1960) which basically was a voyage through time and observing it rather than trying to change it. ‘The Terminator’ 1984 was a movie showing a preordained event that was the result of time travel. In between those we had Star Trek and Doctor Who doing their thing in a very science fictiony way with time travel as a way to save the Earth from some dire event or alien foe.
Back to the Future ingeniously takes a more basic approach that makes it simple to understand for any age and highly entertaining too. Making a Time Machine from a car is a fantastic idea. Showing how the main character interacts with the past and almost erases himself from existence is plotted out very clearly. He has to make his mother fall in love with his father in order to save his future. The rest of the movie falls perfectly around this point with heart pounding count down moments to save the day.
Back to the Future Part II
Although still at a young age when it was released I was pumped like crazy for this sequel after the ending of the first Back to the Future movie. I hadn’t known at the time there was going to be a sequel until one night they showed a clip of Marty Mcfly in the futuristic Hill Valley.
One day after coming home from school my brother tells me he has rented a movie with a dog, a skateboarding kid and a Mad scientist in it. I try to guess what movie it is when he gives the final hit “and a car” I go craZy with excitement.When I go to school the next day i’m raving about the film and spent many lunch times on the playground pretending to be Doc or Marty. 25 years later I was able to see it on the big screen and it still made me as damn excited as I was as a kid.
The movie is set in 2015. A little under 2 months away as I write this. Can I start wearing my pants inside out yet? It’s funny to see how the future is portrayed. At the time 2015 seemed so far away that we all hoped and expected hover cars by now but in a deleted scene from this movie George Mcfly mentions that he injured himself on the golf course when one of these hover cars fell out of the air onto him.
The film fires the imagination again not only with it’s depiction of the future but showing how disastrous time travel can be when Doc and Marty find themselves in an alternate timeline. Alternate timelines themselves aren’t that new to fiction but at the time it was rare to have a movie show and explain how the alternate timeline is created. It’s very clearly explained by the Doc on his chalk board and it’s the simplicity of this which makes it fantastic. Nowadays lots of SF movies are being rebooted using this method from Star Trek 2009 to next years Terminator Gensysyssss movie.
Back to the Future Part III
It’s a great movie and all and ties up the little loose ends perfectly but going back into the wild west was a bit of a back step what with the excitement of flying cars and time travel antics of part II. Part III is really Part I again under a different guise. 1885 looks rather Honky Tonk and a stereotypical western in some ways but it’s a very fun movie all the same. I like that there is more focus on Doc Brown and his love interest. As a rational man he realizes that time travel is dangerous yet throws caution to the wind when it’s for love and as a viewer you get pissed off at the man of reason and science going gaga like that.
Back to the Future the Ride
A special note on this one. A hell of a lot of fun and a childish dream come true. Shame that it’s no longer in Orlando but it’s still in Japan!
Time Travel Notes
Going by the first film I think it’s safe to say that we are dealing with one timeline only here without the creation of separate timelines. While Doc does mention that they are in an alternate timeline it is in fact one that skewed (his words) from the original. Considering that Marty’s actions in the first film almost erased himself from existence it seems most likely that all events occur in one time stream/line. What’s interesting here is that it shows how time is not written and a character can control his destiny up until the very point of a major event relating to their own timeline. Instead of Marty disappearing immediately by his actions in 1955 he is aware that the future is in flux and he may or may not survive depending on the events of a few days later. All time events are relative to the moment the time traveler exists in. The time traveler is aware of events that have changed, can be informed of events, but until that has happened their former future self has no knowledge of events and continues on willy nilly. So even though future events and past ones change it is only relevant to the time traveler himself and only he retains the information of the original time stream and the changed one. It’s a bit like Doctor Who, being outside of the timeline you are able to retain the information and know what has changed. We see also that Doc and Marty leave Jennifer in the alternate 1985 which automatically transforms itself back to the original version of itself once they fix events in 1955.
Favorite Quote: “Great Scott!” – The Doc