Since November 1989 – when Back to the Future II was released – there have been well over 40 predictions that the world would end (SPOILERS: it didn’t). There are some that would say 0 out of 40 isn’t a terrible statistic, but then, 10 out of 8 people admit to being bad at maths, so you be the judge.
Having narrowly avoided the end of the world so many times, today we arrive at Back to the Future Day (as 21st October 2015 has been so lovingly dubbed) – a day when fans of the iconic sci-fi adventure films cannot help but feel a mixture of awe-filled nostalgia at all of the things Robert Zemeckis accurately foretold, and melancholy disappointment at how ghastly the real 2015 is by comparison.
Exhibit A: Futuristic Sports-based Transportation
When we think of Doc and Marty’s 2015, one of the key elements of tech we immediately think of is the hoverboard. Just like a futuristic skateboard should be, the board rides anywhere without the need for rails, fuel, or tracks. It looks pretty sleek, too.
Unfortunately, all we mere mortals have been able to muster in the 65 years since skateboards began are a couple of hoverboard prototypes designed by Lexus and Arx Pax, but neither are close to being sold on the 745th page of the Argos catalogue, so we can’t really count them. We did manage to invent handlebarless scooter things called Airwheels (or something), but it’s already totally illegal to ride one anywhere except in the volcanic craters of the Antipodes Islands, so let’s be honest: we’re still riding around on chunks of tree with wheels attached.
Exhibit B: Wearable Tech
Mr McFly donned some self-tying sneaks, and a pair of JVC high-tech specs. Admittedly, the film still promoted using the good ol’ phone box and fax machines, but we’re talking technology you can wear, so how does the real world 2015 match up?
The real designers of our futuristic footwear didn’t opt to follow Back to the Future’s design, unfortunately. Instead, our crowning achievement are the laceless, distasteful slip-on shoes that disgrace Toms everywhere, or the garish Crocs that look like an even more terrifying incarnation of Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees’ hockey mask. Neither really scream ‘futuristic foot clothes’ though, so I guess the best we’ve managed is either the Gameboy Platform shoes, the MP3 Sneakers, or these…
The Dildo Shoe… stepping in dog poo is not advised
As for the sexy JVC tech-specs, we’re actually breaking similar ground – go us! With the dawn of the gadgety-goggles such as Oculus and Playstation VR, this is one prediction the film seemed to nail. If we really want to brag, our friends at Nintendo actually hopped on the virtual reality wagon 20 years earlier than predicted with their Virtual Boy console, but it’s been suggested that any prolonged use of the unit could result in permanent brain damage. Great Scott!
Exhibit C: Screens and Movie Scenes
According to the film’s future, our telly screens would be voice activated and could be rolled-up. Also, everyone’s favourite cello-playing shark was being shown at the Holomax cinema with Jaws 19, which featured terrifying PS1-style 3D graphics. What’s real world 2015 got as a reply?
Back in ’89, our televisions were fatter and our bodies were thinner. Now, in 2015, we have traded our trim physiques for flabbier ones, and let the TVs hit the gym instead. Flatscreens are cool, I guess, but carting one to my mate’s house would still be easier if I could roll it up and put it in a carrier bag (which, by the way, are NO LONGER FREE IN THE REAL 2015!)
As for holographic film, we’re forced to wear fugly glasses that make even Coronation Street’s Deirdre look like a sex symbol, and the move to 3D is really not all that fantastic if we’re being honest. The endless recycling of film franchises nodded at in Back to the Future is one of the more accurate predictions made though, except rather than something awesome like Jaws, we’re stuck with another sequel to Disney Pixar‘s Cars, and are sure to witness the seventeenth Rambo film before too long.
…did I mention that carrier bags are 5p now? And don’t even get me started on Freddos…
Back to Back to the Future Day
Okay. Alright. Maybe I’m being a tad cynical – Back to the Future actually did a pretty good job of pre-empting the year 2015, especially considering just how far we’ve advanced since 1989. It was, after all, the year the ‘World Wide Web’ was invented. It was the year the very first episode of The Simpsons aired. The Nintendo Gameboy was launched that year, too. Oh, and Taylor Swift was born.
Well, you know…no year is perfect.
Maybe it’s okay to be in the real 2015 after all. We might not have flying cars, drones that walk our pooches, self-drying jackets, or pizza hydrators – why, god damn you, why?! – but we do have selfie sticks, Windows 10, a belt that self-adjusts to your expanding waistband, and levitating speakers (…what?).
On second thoughts, the real 2015 royally stinks… enjoy Back to the Future Day!
Join NUBI in the year 3000 when we review Busted’s predictions surrounding the turn of the millennium!