What "Back to the Future II" got right about the future
October 21, 2015 marks an exciting day in cinematic history -- the future is finally here.
In the sequel to the "Back to the Future" trilogy, Marty McFly and Doc Brown travel thirty years into the future, to this very date in their DeLorean time machine. In the real 20-teens, it's all about self-driving cars, but many of the film's other predictions for the future have finally become present, reports Vladimir Duthiers of CBS News's digital network CBSN.
Screenwriter Bob Gale had a clear vision for the future. Inside the Cooper Union Clock Tower, Gale told us he wanted 2015 to be recognizable.
"We knew going in nobody successfully predicts the future accurately, can't be done," said Gale. "We want the future to be a positive, optimistic future. We want people to see this movie and say, 'Hey I like that future, I'd like to live there.'"
In the film, a gang chased Marty around town in 2015, each flying on their own personalized hoverboard. Visual effects art director John Bell designed many of the movie's futuristic elements, including hoverboards and the nostalgic Café 80s.
"All we know is we go thirty years in the future and there's something called the hoverboard," said Bell. "I'll take something that's 85 percent familiar -- it could be a shape, it could be a color, it could be a pattern -- and then if I'm projecting the future, throw something that's just a little 15 percent twist."
Today, companies are still testing how to make a reliable, working hoverboard for the general public. On the real streets of 2015, toys like swagways are the closest we've gotten to gliding around.
"There were a lot of old predictions that we made where maybe that'll come true, that has a good chance. Hoverboards? We never thought that," said Gale. "They say life imitates art...so kids like you saw "Back to the Future part 2" back in the day and said well, if I can't have a hoverboard...I'm going to make one."
Even the movie's fantasy about drones have made it to reality.
"They're being used by everybody, they're all over the place," said Bell. "We started out thinking this was this gag technology, its just a joke. Little did we know people are using them all over the world.
"We're not thinking about 'we're making it an important statement about the future here" - No, no, no, no -- we're having a good time," said Gale.
While nobody uses fax machines anymore for instant communication as in the movie, it nails other everyday technology--like finger print scanners, which unlock the front door and pay for things like taxis in the film. Today we use biometric technology to open doors, unlock smartphones and even authorize digital payments.
The McFlys also use a giant flat screen TV that responds to audio commands and makes video calls. Flat screens have been around for a while now, but Samsung's Smart-TV now even has a voice recognition.
As for video calls, there's Facetime and Skype. Duthiers spoke to Executive West Coast Editor of Vanity Fair, Krista Smith via Skype.
"I think [the movie] still holds up, absolutely...the stuff that they were talking about in 85 to 90 is stuff that's actually a reality now," said Smith. "As a teenager it's still very relevant...because you're still going through the same things. It doesn't matter if you have an iPhone or if you can fly around the world -- 15-year-olds are feeling the same thing 15-year-olds were feeling in the 50s.
If we wait just a bit longer, we will see whether the movie's ultimate prediction will come true -- whether the Cubs will win the World Series, marking the first time in 107 years since the Cubs won their last World Series title.
Three decades later, "Back to the Future II" still has a lasting impact and resonates with viewers, which Gale attributes to the "humanity" in the film.
"The movie says you have some control over your own destiny, the things that you do today can have a life changing effect in your future...," says Gale.
To celebrate the movies, a 30th anniversary DVD is out, and the trilogy is being re-released in select theaters nationwide.
for more features.