Ever had a moment when you're in the mood to watch something in particular - kind of like a craving for your favorite candy - only it's for your eyes? Maybe it's the Flux Capacitor in me, or the decade of my birth summoning me, but I needed some Back to the Future action!
The first film stands great on its own. Though it starts in 1985, the concept is ... timeless! Moving on to Part II, it's not really my favorite of the three, but it does prove how chaotic time traveling can be when used for personal reasons. The biggest problem, however, is the fact that they travel to the year 2015. That seemed really far away as a five-year-old. But now, it's less than two years away!
Folks at their respective research and development jobs have a lot of R&D to do if we hope to have portable fusion generators, flying cars, hoverboards, and pizza hydrators by then. Tick tock, tick tock!
Watching this trilogy again, at my age, helped chill some stresses and made me feel like a boy again. At the same time, my picking-stories- apart side came out in full force and spotted more holes than Biff's logic. The second movie wasn't necessary, if you think about it ...
"Hey, Marty! Make sure your future son doesn't do this and don't give in to people who call you 'chicken'. See you in the future!"
Holes aside, it's a great story and it's by far my favorite Christopher Lloyd movie. But then I got to thinking (dangerous pastime, I know): what effect does a story like this have with audiences in the long run? Because it dated itself by presenting an inaccurate future, is it less valid than it once was? Depends on what you're going for.
The advantage of stories that depict a near future (Back to the Future, Terminator, Blade Runner, among others) is that it speaks to the audience now, and there are enough familiar things going on that the ideas seem plausible and may be something to look forward to.
The disadvantage is when kids watch it, and when they become adults later on, you run the risk of, "I thought this was cool as a kid?"
This is only my opinion. I have no problem with a story that goes back in time or takes us to the distant future, but if its the near future, it better find a way to win over my suspension of disbelief. For time traveling, it's trickier, but there's always the default explanation that everything in the story now takes place in an alternate reality.
Then you have stories like Avatar, Ender's Game, and The Hunger Games that either don't provide an exact date (which means the story will always take place in the future for the foreseeable future) or, if there is a date, it's so far down the line that everyone who is alive now will be long since dead before we get there. Shut up and take my suspension of disbelief, at that point - and my money!
This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. If we're dead- set on taking audiences to the near future, nothing's stopping us, but it may serve us and our stories well by doing a little research in what technologies are being developed today, when do we expect to have access to such technologies, and how will they effect everything from world governments, global markets, and little Jimmy on his way to his first day of school. This may make our stories ... timeless!
Thanks for stopping by! I'll be seeing you in the future!
What do you think about stories that date themselves with near futures that don't turn out the way they were depicted?
I'm David, and "I was at the very first Salt Lake Comic Con!"
Recap (with photos) on Monday!