‘Roads. Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads.’
By Jake Myers
Dr. Emmett Brown utters these words to Marty McFly before flying his DeLorean time machine to the future date of Oct. 21, 2015 at 4:29 p.m.
That was last Wednesday, the date that fans of “Back to the Future II” have been waiting for.
Bob McGovern, forecasting analyst for FirstEnergy and owner of Cartography Coffee Company, is one such fan. He has been counting down to the present via his Facebook account for over two years now.
“Back to the Future II” was set in 1985, and the film was released in 1989.
The characters time travel 30 years into the future. The writers’ task was to create a realistic future world for the characters to visit.
“Being a nerd, I have been looking forward to 2015 for quite a while, to see how it ended up stacking up to what we had in ‘Back to the Future II,’” McGovern said.
The recent History Channel Documentary, “Back to the Present,” does exactly that. It takes a look at how the future in “Back to the Future II” stacks up to the present.
Robert Zemeckis, director of the all three “Back to the Future” movies, said they got about 50 percent of the predictions right.
Although the hoverboard is a reality today, it has not been manufactured for mass consumption, costing $10,000 according to “Back to the Present.”
Entertainment parks are looking at technology that utilizes four hover engines to create a magnetic field. However, it does require a copper-plated skate park.
Hendo Hover CEO Greg Harrison was inspired to develop the hoverboard technology after seeing “Back to the Future II” and experiencing an earthquake that happened at about the same time.
The company’s aim is to be able to raise a building off the ground, to keep it from collapsing during an earthquake. But, the company is currently working on a smaller scale, attempting to manufacture the hoverboard.
The film’s predictions caused a rush to get a hoverboard on the market before 2015.
“The hoverboards in the movie were ubiquitous enough that teenagers could afford one,” McGovern said.
Another prediction from the movie was a flying, time traveling DeLorean.
Slovakian car manufacturers AeroMobil took 24 years to make a half plane, half car, and the closest 2015 is to having prophesized flying vehicles. The AeroMobil costs $250,000 and is not yet in circulation according to “Back to the Present.”
But, Doc Brown’s DeLorean is outfitted with a “Mr. Fusion,” which turns banana peels and beer into fuel.
Unlike the previous two examples, this prediction is actually in use in England today. The Bio-Bus uses Bio-Gas, a natural gas produced by fermented human excrement, waste water and food waste. One person’s excrement production in one year can run the bus for up to 40 miles.
Other technology like Skype, smart televisions with caller ID, fax machines, movies in 3-D, Google Glasses, televisions in restaurants, retro restaurants, voice command and fingerprint identification are all a reality today.
But, Pizza Hut does not offer a three-inch pizza that can be hydrated to a 16-inch in a “Black & Decker Hydrator.”
Some of the other misses are “Nike Power Lace” (shoes that auto-lace), self-drying jackets, pay phones on the streets, dust repellant paper instead of dust jackets on books, six channels on the television at once and a “garden center” that retracts into the ceiling.
According to fans, “Back to the Future II” is not a miss.
“Obviously there is an appeal. It has lasted and stuff and talking about this makes me want to go back and watch them all,” McGovern said.
Anthony Hartwig, junior telecommunication major at Youngstown State University is also a fan.
“I always liked the different way it approached time travel, like it was grounded; by that I mean it wasn’t over-the-top sci-fi,” Hartwig said. “On top of that, it’s a pop culture icon. Even people that haven’t seen it know what it is.”
One item that surely gained pop culture status after “Back to the Future” is the DeLorean.
Jonathan Jenyk, systems analyst at YSU, is the owner of a 1981 DeLorean. Although Jenyk’s DeLorean does not hover, fly or travel through time, it is recognized as the “Back to the Future” car.
“As Doc said about the DeLorean, ‘If you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?’” Jenyk said. ‘“Back to the Future’ is an iconic movie for an entire generation, and you cannot think about ‘Back to the Future’ without thinking of the time-traveling DeLorean.”
“The DeLorean Motor Company filed for bankruptcy three years before the first ‘Back to the Future’ movie was released, so they did not get to directly enjoy the increased exposure from the film. But the film certainly ignited interest for the DeLorean among movie lovers and time travelers.”
In the meantime, fans wait to hear the words, “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.”
“Unfortunately, we do need roads,” McGovern said.