Words // Rob Bricken io9
I think it’s safe to say we’re not getting our hoverboards. Despite the 2015 Back to the Future Part II showed us, it’s 2013 and we can’t even make a non-hovering replica of the hoverboard correctly. But while the lack of hoverboards will always be its greatest disappointment, it’s hardly the only thing BttF promised us that reality has failed to deliver. Here are 20 other things Back to the Future II lied to us about.
1) Flying Cars
Obviously, it isn’t just Doc’s DeLorean that can fly. When Doc and Marty arrive at the future, they pop in going the wrong way on a highway — a highway at about 50 feet above the ground, complete with hovering signs and street lamps (although what the hell they’re supposed to be illuminating is unknown, because there’s obviously no street). Since there are plenty of cars on the ground of 2015 Hill Valley, I’m not sure if every car in the future could fly, but since absolutely 0% of the cars in 2013 can fly, it’s kind of a moot point.
2) Mr. Fusion
Of all the inventions in Back to the Future II, Mr. Fusion would certainly have been the most useful. The time Home Energy Reactor transforms garbage — any garbage, apparently — into power via nuclear fusion. A clean, practically limitless source of energy that also gets rid of our trash? Back to the Future II, you are cruel.
3) Alpha-Rhythm Generator
Since Marty was with his girlfriend Jennifer when Doc picked him up to go to 2015, Jennifer got to tag along. And then she started asking questions. And then Doc zapped her with an sleep-inducing Alpha-Rhythm Generator, instantly rendering her unconscious. Since this is pretty much a Pocket Date Rape Kit, it’s probably for the best it doesn’t exist.
4) The Weather Service
Apparently the weather is on a strict schedule in 2015; Doc knows the exact time the pouring rain he and Marty arrive in will stop, thanks to the Weather Service, presumably a government agency that takes care of such things. Something tells me if the actual government were in charge of the weather, it would still be exactly as chaotic as it is now.
5) Rejuvenation Centers
I’m sure there are plenty of places calling themselves rejuvenation centers in 2013, but I bet they’re mainly spas that offer massages and facials and such. The Rejuvenation Center Doc went to de-aged him 30 years, enough that he had to wear a rubber prosthetic when he picked up Marty so he wouldn’t be baffled at Doc’s newfound youth. This seems somewhat more useful than a massage.
6) Power Shoelaces
Since Marty needs to imitate his son to prevent him from ending up in jail, he has to dress like him, and this includes a pair of Nike Air Mags whose laces automatically constrict, essentially tying themselves for the wearer. Not only do we not have these, but Nike actually released replica Air Mags in 2011 with non-functional power laces. If the proceeds hadn’t gone to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, it would have been a major dick move.
7) Self-Adjusting, Self-Drying Jackets
The other part of Marty’s disguise? A jacket that adjusts to fit its wearer’s body with the touch of a button. Obviously, it would almost certainly be more cost efficient to just buy clothes that fit, but the self-drying feature — which activated after Marty jumps in the town square’s little lake — would be pretty groovy.
8) The U.S. Mail Fax Service
Like so many films of the ‘80s that tried to peek into the future, BttF2 was convinced of the eternal viability of fax machines — to the point that even public mailbox have fax machines. For the faxes you need to send on the go!
9) Gas Robots
In Bttf2, when you get your flying car filled up, a hovering robot actually fills the tank for you and then processes your transaction. In reality, not only do we not have robot workers pumping gas, he don’t have human workers pumping gas either. We have to do it ourselves. That sucks.
10) Holographic Movie Theaters
Despite the fairly recent surge of popularity for 3D movies, we still don’t have genuinely holographic movies like Jaws XIV. We also don’t have holographic ads for movies, like the giant, 3D, incredibly obviously computer-generated shark that launches itself from the cinema marquee to chomp/promote itself to Marty. I’m more sad about the ads, personally.
11) Pepsi Perfect
In the ‘80s themed diner Marty visits, he orders a Pepsi, and the diner automatically gives him a Pesi Perfect. I have no idea what makes Pepsi Perfect different from other Pepsi products other than its awesome container, but I’d say if there’s one item on this list that might actually happen by 2015, Pepsi Perfect is it.
12) Suspended Animation Kennels
At one point, Doc mentions he left his dog Einstein in a suspended animation kennel. As a pet owner who is emotionally traumatized whenever I have to board my pet, I really, really wish these things were real.
13) Remote Hovering News Cameras
When Griff and his hooligans buddies are being led away from the courthouse they’ve wrecked by the police, a hovering news camera is instantly on the scene. It might not be a big deal for most people, but I imagine CNN and the other 24-hour news stations would kill for someone to invent these things.
14) Mobile Trashcans
When Doc needs to angrily throw the sports almanac away, a small trash can happily scoots by for him to conveniently put it in. Now, I’m pretty sure this trash can didn’t know Doc needed it — that would take a great deal of AI that I’m pretty sure even the movie couldn’t imagine — so I think these trash cans just wander around. How that’s more useful than a stationary trash can that people know where to find, I don’t know, but either way we still don’t have them.
15) The Scenery Channel
This is the channel on the projected TV in future Marty’s house, which simply displays a landscape. Honestly, since pretty much all TV providers have free music channels, I’m a little surprised no one’s thought to include this as a feature. It’s be better than watching E!, at least.
16) Chiropractic Hoverbelts
When Grandpa McFly arrives at Future Marty’s house, he’s thrown his back out. The solution? Some kind of belt — that attaches to leg cuffs — which floats and carries George McFly upside down. I’m not really sure of the science of how this works, but maybe 2015 knows something we don’t.
17) Retractable Indoor Garden Center
Whenever a McFly wants a banana, he or she just reaches up and grabs one, like our primate ancestors might have. Of course, our primate ancestors were grabbing things out of trees, and the McFlys are grabbing them from their Indoor Garden Center, which comes down from the ceiling, and provides a variety of fruits and vegetables right of the vine/tree/whatever. Someone seriously needs to get around to inventing this, stat.
18) Food Hydrators
Besides ceiling bananas, the other item the McFlys have for dinner is a pizza, fresh from the hydrator. Of course, the pizza that Grandma Lorraine puts in the hydrator doesn’t look dehydrated, it just looks like a tiny pizza; however, the hydrator both enlarges the pizza and cooks it. With, uh… hydration, I guess
19) Phone Glasses
Despite the prevlance of fax machines, Back to the Future Part II did actually have the foresight to recognize that people in 2015 would carry around small, portable, personal phones. Of course, BttFIIthought these phones would also be sunglasses, but I’ll still give them an E for effort.
20) The Cubs Will Win a World Series
The big headline on the day Marty arrives in 2015? The Cubs winning the World Series after a 107-year championship drought. Come on,Back to the Future II. Some things are just too ludicrous to ever believe.