9/18/2014

Back to the Future II (1989) - Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd)

How close are we to being able to dress up like Marty McFly in Back to the Future II's future world of 2015?

Back in 1989, the movie Back to the Future showed what life would be like 20 years later in 2015. But, it wasn't supposed to be a wholly accurate depiction. "For me, filming the future scenes of the movie were the least enjoyable of making the whole trilogy, because I don't really like films that try and predict the future." director Robert Zemeckis said, "The only one I've actually enjoyed were the ones done by Stanley Kubrick, and not even he predicted the PC when he made A Clockwork Orange. So, rather than trying to make a scientifically sound prediction that we were probably going to get wrong anyway, we figured, let's just make it funny."

They did a great job and people we're dying to live in the wacky future world from the film. While we don't have flying cars there are some technologies that have made it into our everyday lives like humongous flat-screen TVs. Let's do a run-down on what we do, and don't, have from the world of Back to the Future II. ...There's something very familiar about all this.

Nike Air Mags - Yes
xombit
When Marty gets to the future Doc Brown gives him a set of clothes. McFly puts on a pair of Nike shoes that light up and adjust to fit. Originally, the shoes were supposed to be part of a deleted scene which showed an anti-gravity game called "Slamball." Since then, there have been a few attempts to recreate these shoes. In 2008, Nike made the "Hyperdunks" which were styled off the Back to the Future II movie. There was a set of 1,500 shoes created for charity

HalloweenCostumes.com partnered with Universal Studios to sell an officially licensed version of the shoes on September 30th for less than $100. They're sold out right now (of course), but they have a bunch of features that the movie shoes have. They say it's:

  • Officially Licensed
  • Recreates the style seen in Back to the Future II
  • Hi-Top style with textured sole for traction
  • Fits with an adjustable Velcro strap around ankle and elastic on top of shoe
  • Shoes light up just like in the movie!
  • Shoes charge up easily with included USB cable
Lenticular Hat - Yes
Greenhead

To pose as his son, Marty puts on his son's color-shifting lenticular baseball cap. Back in 2009, Nike made a cap that was close to the colors of the hat, but didn't have the right colors. Today, Diamond Select sells a Back to the Future II movie accurate version.

Self-Adjusting Jacket - No
mooningmusings
When Marty puts his jacket on the sleeves are impossibly long. Suddenly, the jacket adjusts the sleeves to match his arm length. This kind of technology sounds like a no brainer, but it's actually pretty complicated. Besides a computer that can scan your body and determine your size it would have to have a set of levers to pull the sleeves up and down. Possible, but way too bulky to be practical. So, no. We don't have this yet.

Self-Drying Clothes - Maybe
screenused
In one scene Marty McFly falls in water and when he gets out his jacket says "Drying mode on. Jacket drying" and starts a set of blowers that dry his clothes. This technology probably isn't that hard to do, but no one's come up with it yet. That said, there are some clothes like Diamondown that have clothes that have "microevaporative-cooling technology" that allows moisture to wick away from the body. So, don't be a Bojo and start jumping into pools with your clothes on just yet.

Self-Tying Laces - Maybe
firstshowing

When Marty puts on the future sneakers, they automatically adjust to his feet. These are definitely not common place, but how far are we from getting these? One fan, Blake Bevin, created instructions that tell how to make your own self-tying shoes on the cheap, but they're pretty bulky. Nike got a patent for self-fitting shoes like Marty wore in Back to the Future II described this way:

"The automatic lacing system provides a set of straps that can be automatically opened and closed to switch between a loosened and tightened position of the upper. The article further includes an automatic ankle cinching system that is configured to automatically adjust an ankle portion of the upper."

Nike designer Tinker Hatfield said, “Are we gonna see power laces in 2015? To that, I say YES!” For now it's just a rumor, but who knows? We'll have to wait till next year to see if they come to life.

Hoverboard - Maybe
danshapiro

When Marty is trying to get away from Biff and his gang he grabs a Mattel toy hoverboard and flies off. In real life these do not exist. At least like the ones in the movie. Mythbusters and several others have managed to make boards that fly using a leaf blower, but none have been very effective. A couple of people have even created boards using magnetic repulsion, but these can only go on magnetic surfaces ("for that you need power!"). Earlier this year a company claimed to have created a hoverboard and that it was coming soon, but it turned out to be an elaborate hoax. Mattel sells a toy hoverboard, but it sucks.

TV Glasses -Yes
 
dialaphone

In the future world of Back to the Future II, Marty Jr. wears a set of goggles that allow him to watch TV at the dinner table. Today there are a bunch of wearable TVs. Way back in 1995, Nintendo made the "Virtual Boy" which was a flop. Now, the technology has gotten a lot better. The most popular one is Google Glass of course, but there are plenty of other options. They range from the Vuzik Star 1200DX which runs about $500 to a 3D printed version you can make yourself for less than $100.

Final Analysis: We're about halfway there to living in the future world of 2015, but we still have a ways to go. Synchronize your watches. The future is coming.

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Are you ready to dress like Marty McFly? What future clothes would you like to wear?
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5 comments:

jeremy [retro] said...

that was great... i wonder just like Blade Runner... time is the future and future doesn't meet the time.

Tony Laplume said...

Hoverboard, I need you!

Pat Dilloway said...

If only cars could fly.

DAVID WALSTON said...

Virtual Boy stunk! I imagine Google Glasses are a little improvement.

Reid Kemper said...

If we don't have this technology by Oct. 21, 2015, I'm going to be disappointed! I'm looking forward to self-adjusting jackets!

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