The back to the future movies could well be one of the most watched trilogies ever and that is not just because Marty nearly makes out with his mom or because everyone wants her boobs to pop out of that prom dress.
Everyone loves back to the future because we all secretly fantasize about travelling through time ourselves.
The problem with watching the back to the future movies over and over is that you suddenly realise that there are so many things that make no god damn sense.
You Can’t Grow Old if You Are Not There
If you have found yourself reading this article I will assume that you have seen all three back to the future movies, but let us recap on a couple of key points from the second movie.
In the future, the year 2015 to be exact, Marty McFly’s son finds himself in a spot of bother with the law. Cutting a long story short Griff Tannen, the grandson of Biff Tannen, bully’s Marty’s son into coming along on an illegal activity and the end result is that Marty’s son ends up serving thirty years in jail. Doc Brown decides that the best course of action is to take Marty to the future so he can stop the events from taking place. As the movie progresses we see Doc and Marty travel to the future and successfully stop Marty’s son from becoming involved with Griff’s gang. As with all the Back to the Future movies there are plenty side plots along the way such as Marty bumping into his future self and realising that his son is identical to him in every way.
Now don’t get me wrong, this all makes a great movie which you can cheerfully watch over and over again but there is a huge gaping hole in the entire plot of the second movie.
If the Marty McFly from 1985 travels through time to the year 2015 there would be no Marty left to grow up, get married and have kids. This means that when Marty arrives in the future his son would not have been born and there would be no middle-aged Marty who had given up on his music and found himself in a dead end job.
Call it nit picking but when you are messing around with the space time continuum you have to get your facts straight.
Time Travel Paradoxes
As I am sure everyone reading will remember in the first movie Marty travels back to the year 1955 and manages to interfere with his parents meeting for the first time. While Doc Brown goes about trying to make sure he can send Marty back to the future Marty must engineer a way for his parents to get it on. If he fails to get his parents to hook up then things for Marty McFly are going to be nothing short of disastrous.
By disastrous I mean his parents won’t get married, have sex and therefore Marty McFly will never be born. Throughout the movie Marty is able to gauge his success by looking at a photograph of himself with his brother and sister. As time runs out Marty and his siblings begin to disappear from gradually from the photo.
This is where the problems begin in the story line. If Marty prevents his parents from hooking up this means Marty and his siblings will never be born and the photograph will never exist. The movie, however, has other ideas on how the fabrics of space time would work and show Marty’s brother stood with no head. This means that since Marty prevented the first meeting of his parents he was still born as was his siblings only he has managed to create a universe where his brother is born but with no head. That just does not make any sense but we will leave that for a moment.
If Marty prevented his parents from ever meeting then he would cease to exist as instantly as parents failed to meet. This means that he would not be around to engineer a way for them to get together for the first time. Of course this means since Marty is now never going to be born, he would not be around to travel back in time and bollocks everything up in the first place. Once he cannot travel back in time there will be nothing to stop his parents meeting so then he can be born and can then travel back in time.
The whole thing goes round and round till your head explodes but you get the idea. It just does not work.
Doing Things the Hard Way
At the end of Back to the Future 2 we see Doc Brown flying the DeLorean when it is struck by lightning and catapulted back to the year 1885. With no way to get back he hides the DeLorean in a cave and arranges for a letter to be delivered to Marty explaining where the time machine is hidden so he can get back to the future.
Marty quickly discovers that Doc Brown dies several days after writing the letter so Marty decides he must go back to 1885 in order to save his friend. Everything seems to go as planned until Marty manages to rip a hole in the fuel tank of the DeLorean which causes a bit of a problem because in 1885 it is a safe bet there will be no gas station in Hill Valley until at least 1940. The rest of the movie is about Doc and Marty trying to find a way to propel the time machine to 88mph without fuel and without the necessary parts to repair the DeLorean.
You must admit that there is plenty going on there to fill out a two hour long movie and boy do they do that. The problem of no parts and no fuel is solved by placing the DeLorean on a railway track where a train will push it up to 88mph and catapult it back to the future.
The problem is if you have a guy like Doc Brown who is smart enough to design and build a time machine it is hard to believe he lacks the ability to think of the most obvious and simple solution to a problem.
Surely, rather than adapting the time machine to run on rails and hijacking a train it would have made much more sense that Doc Brown had just took the necessary spare parts from the DeLorean which he had hidden in the cave. After all, at this point there are two DeLorean time machines that exist at this point in 1885. Heck, Doc Brown could have even taken that gasoline from the hidden DeLorean solving all the problems quickly and easily with no need to hang around and no need to hijack a train.
And before anyone jumps to point out how that borrowing parts from the DeLorean in the cave would have an impact on what is left for Marty in 1955 can I just point out the following. Yes, borrowing parts from the DeLorean would indeed mean that a fuel tank would be needed as would gasoline but both of these are readily available in 1955.
Technically we should not complain too much about this obvious solution to the entire third movie as if Doc Brown had opted for the common sense approach we would only have two movies and a television special that was not particularly exciting.
Spot the Difference
If I were to ask you to think back to your teenage years I am sure there are something’s that you will remember more than others. For example you will probably recall the moment you lost your virginity but you are unlikely to recall what you had for a snack afterwards.
If we think about the first Back to the Future movie and look at the young Lorraine Baines (McFly) of 1955. During the movie we see young Lorraine experience her first crush (who just so happens to be her son) and then meet and fall in love with her future husband. Like everyone else on the planet Lorraine is surely going to remember these events and that Marty McFly played a pivotal role in all of them?
What makes absolutely no sense is that Lorraine seems to be totally oblivious to the fact that her son seems to have a freakishly scary resemblance to her first crush and the guy who helped her hook up with her husband. It is kind of weird that the likes of Biff fails to spot the resemblance as well.
A Matter for Law Enforcement
As you can imagine when the police discover a group of dead and heavily armed Libyan terrorist in the parking lot of Twin Pine Mall, it is only a matter of time before they come looking for Marty McFly.
Even in 1955 most shopping malls in America would employ some kind of security tape and those tapes will show both Marty McFly and Doc Brown in the car park with the time machine. Even if, on slight chance there is no security tape, the terrorists would most likely have some form of documentation that would indicate they were looking for Doc Brown.
The authorities are quickly going to discover that Doc Brown completely disappeared after 1985 and his only friend is Marty McFly who was indeed with him hours before his mysterious disappearance. Police and the FBI would definitely raid the Doc’s house and discover evidence of his contact with the Libyans and his intentions to build a bomb (the excuse he gave the Libyans to acquire the plutonium). They would go through every inch of the Doc’s life with a fine toothcomb leaving no stone unturned.
Of course that would mean they would also do the same to Marty’s life. Within hours every law agency in the country would be on the lookout for Marty McFly and it is only a matter of time before they have him in an interview room with a spotlight in his face.
Put simply Marty McFly is screwed and he is going to have to sing like a canary to law enforcement about the time machine.
It is just a pity that the third movie failed to think of this when the movie ends with Marty and Jennifer all set to make the future whatever they want it to be.
If that has put you in the mood for watching the Back to Future you can always buy them from Amazon.