What ‘Back to the Future: Part II’ Got Right and Wrong

Originally published on Mxdwn Movies. Click here to view.

What ‘Back to the Future: Part II’ Got Right and Wrong

On Oct. 21, 2015, Marty McFly traveled to the future from 1985. According to director Robert Zemeckis (The Walk, Forrest Gump), the 2015 future that was depicted in the film was not meant to be completely accurate, but rather enjoyable and funny. Nevertheless, it was surprisingly able to predict some technologies that are currently used today.

 Right: Hands-Free Gaming


In a scene featuring the debut of Elijah Wood (see bottom right), Marty McFly fails to recognize that a video game is supposed to be hands-free. Nowadays, there are several body motion detection gaming systems, including XBox’s Kinect, Playstation’s EyeToy and even the Wii (although it technically still uses a remote). 

Right: Flat Screen TVs


A freakishly accurate prediction, Back to the Future: Part II demonstrated the popularity of flat screen TVs in every home. It also depicted multi-channel options that are realities today as well.

Right: Hoverboards


In a great chase scene, hover boards are used in place of skateboards by Marty McFly. In the past few years, hover boards have gone from beta testing to realities. However, they are very expensive and have yet to replace skateboards as shown in the film.

Right: FaceTime/Skype


Back of the Future: Part II also predicted the use of FaceTime, Skype and other video call technologies. This may have seemed very unlikely in 1989, but is frequently used on computers and cellphones.

Wrong: Flying Cars


Flying cars are a staple of many movies set in the future, including Blade Runner and The Fifth Element. However, we are still waiting for self-driving cars to become mainstream, yet alone flying cars. A couple of companies have released plans for small airplane-like cars, although we are a long way off from seeing highways in the sky.

Will We See Them in the Future?

Not likely. Several critics of flying cars point out that car crashes and malfunctions in the sky would result in them falling to earth, potentially harming people and damaging homes. 

Wrong: Food Re-Hydrators


Sadly, food re-hydrators are not in every American home. Although we have relatively quick delivery, we cannot take a tiny miniature and within a few seconds have a full-size pizza. 

Will We See Them in the Future?

Hopefully. A handy little device, it would help to continue to make cooking home-made meals obsolete.

 Wrong: Princess Diana Becomes Queen and the President is a Woman


Back to the Future: Part II had progressive ideas about the future of women in politics. In a USA Today newspaper that Marty McFly read, they give small nods about the fact that the POTUS is female and Diana became Queen of England. 

Will We See Them in the Future?

A female president is a clear future possibility with Hillary Clinton leading the Democratic Presidential race. However, about seven years after the release of Back to the Future: Part II, Prince Charles divorced the late Diana, ending any chance of her becoming queen.

Wrong: Continued Use of Outdated Technology


Out of everything that it correctly predicted, the movie was not able to foresee certain technology that would no longer be used. The biggest two examples are fax machines in every home and pay phones everywhere. Fax machines are still occasionally used nowadays, but pay phones have pretty much been completely replaced by cell phones. 

Will We See Them in the Future?

Definitely not. I’m still somewhat surprised that fax machines are still in use.


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