“Back to the Future” Day is Wednesday (October 21, 2015), and fans are tallying up the 1989 film’s predictions of life in the year 2015.
How did the movie do? Here are some of its hits and misses:
Big-screen televisions and video conferencing: Yes
The film features several scenes of characters watching screens very much like the oversize ones we actually use these days. That’s saying something, because most TVs of the 1980s were heavy, square appliances with bulky picture tubes. Some of them even came in wood-grain cabinets like furniture!
Also, the “BTTF II” characters talk to the screens just like we do today. Not bad, given that videophones — though long promised — barely existed in 1989.
Despite the recent Lexus commercial showing skateboard aces skimming around a skatepark on maglev hoverboards, the technology just isn’t there yet. The Lexus hoverboard requires a special surface to ride on, as does a rival, the Hendo.
Another hoverboard, the Omni, is essentially a skateboard with helicopter rotors. Sorry, we’ll just have to wait a little longer before flying around Hill Valley is commonplace.
News drones: Yes
During a crucial scene in the film, a USA Today drone can be flying around the Hill Valley courthouse taking pictures. Major media companies, including CNN, are now looking into using the tech for news purposes.
Hands-free video games: Yes
Our intrepid time traveler, Marty McFly, plays an arcade game called “Wild Gunman” at Café 80’s in 2015. Two kids are shocked that McFly has to use his hands to play, calling it a “baby’s game.” Thanks to products like Xbox Kinect, hands-free video games are now pretty commonplace.
The less said about the custom of wearing two ties at the same time, the better. However, the movie did get the concept of everyday athletic apparel right.
Everyday consumer products: Yes, with an asterisk
Pepsi is still around, and the beverage company wasn’t going to miss a chance to put out a limited-edition Pepsi Perfect like the one Marty orders in the film. But the key words are “limited edition.” Similarly, in reality, “Jaws” only made it to “Jaws: The Revenge” (the fourth film in the series), but that didn’t stop Universal from putting out a fake trailer for “BTTF II’s” “Jaws 19.”
But there’s a Pizza Hut in town, and the McFly family is shown chowing down on a pie. Some things never go out of style.
Video glasses: Yes
Marty McFly’s troublesome kids wear high-tech goggles to the dinner table, which are remarkably similar in function to Google Glass, Oculus Rift and Samsung VR.
The World Champion Chicago Cubs: ?
Some futures just aren’t knowable … yet.