30 November 2010

Roads?

Where we're going we don't need roads!

So, today, NASA announced that they will hold a press conference on Thursday in regards to "astrobiology". While some are speculating that this means we've found little green men on Uranus (I'm looking at you Glenn Beck), others are keeping level heads. Like Carolyn Parkhurst (follow her!). Today she tweeted, "I'm excited about this NASA announcement on Thursday. Do you think we're finally getting flying cars?"


To which I replied, "We should in order to meet the 2015 deadline for hover conversion as postulated by Back to the Future II."


This got me to thinking, again, about how we're living in the future and it's all awesome and stuff. But, think about some of the movies and television shows we watched as kids...are we living in the 21st Century Zemekis and Spielberg predicted? Sure, I was promised a hoverboard and flying cars, but aside from that, we're eerily close to some of McFly's future. 


For your consideration: The Back to the Future 2 Protocols.

1. "You have to use your hands? That's like a baby's toy!"
Look, kids! It's Frodo Baggins!
So, when Marty arrives in 2015 Hill Valley, he visits the Cafe 80's. This diner proves that everything old is new again (and right on schedule, I might add) by sporting vintage exercise bikes, video wait-staff programmed to look like Max Hedroom'ed versions of Ronald Reagan and Michael Jackson and even an old arcade cabinet for a classic first-person shooter, Wild Gunmen. When two children find this game and get it working, neither of them knows how to play. So Marty demonstrates, whipping the tethered gun about like a true crack shot. Then, Elijah Wood (yup) says, "You have to use your hands? That's like a baby's toy!" Funny, huh?  Have you played your Wii lately? Or how 'bout those commercials for the Kinect? No controllers anymore, kids. With full body movements controlling your characters on screen, you no longer have to use your hands. 


2. "Shark still looks fake."
I wonder if it was a James Cameron flick...?
Walking around the town square of Hill Valley, Marty comes to ye olde movie theatre. The traditional marquee has been replaced with a large screen (similar to those currently sold in Best Buy) playing a trailer for Jaws 19. (Really? Didn't we say everything we needed to in Jaws 4? What's the tagline? "Nope, still not safe.") So, Marty is completely unaware that a ginormous man-eating shark emerges from the screen in 3D 16 bit rendering! Oh, God! Marty, turn around! He does just in time to see the sharks immense maw coming at him.  Now, while we are thankfully NOT resurrecting the Jaws franchise any time soon (do you hear me, Hollywood? We're NOT), there is another aspect of this scene that is accurate to 2010 America. EVERYTHING now is done with a 3D option. In 1985, 3D was a novelty and it looked pretty shitty (see above), but now? Holy shit, I don't think McFly would have been ready for our CG renderings. 


3. "Power laces, alright!"
The look on his face says it all.
Because, in the future, tying your shoes is too much trouble. You can't possibly chance popping a lace while balanced on your hoverboard, so get the new Nikes. Just slide your foot in, hit a button on the side and the high top cinches together like a Hefty bag. Well, I still put my pants on (right-side out, unlike those crazy 2015 hellions) one leg at a time. And I still lace up my Chucks and tie them. Yes, the rabbit still goes 'round the tree and down his hole. So, clearly, this future myth is busted. WRONG! Earlier this year, Nike published a patent on a self-lacing shoe that looks eerily similar to those depicted in the movie. Check it!


4. "Read my fax!"
How's it hanging, McFly?
Industrial espionage and the commentary that we Americans will all be working for the Japanese come 2015, this scene in the McFly home is interesting to me for many reasons. 

  • Face-to-Face video phone. Plausible. Look at the new iPhone and others of its ilk. They're all advertising the "facetime" capabilities. Hell, the way McFly has his TV set up to accept calls? It's like he's got Skype and a webcam routed through. 
  • "What if the Jits is monitoring?" - Marty is worried that his boss is able to see his transactions and conversations even though this is clearly a personal call. Patriot Act and wire tapping anyone?
  • "Hydrate Level 4 Please." So, unlike the future in Demolition Man when all restaurants become Taco Bell (now that is dystopian!), Pizza Hut still exists. And, with the help of Black and Decker, you can carry a pizza around in a baggy then just hydrate it to steaming perfection. Who needs delivery? 
  • Hydroponic Plant Chandelier. Same scene, more food. A chandelier provides a seemingly endless supply of fresh fruit right over your dinner table. While we don't have the chandelier part yet, DIY kitchen gardens for herbs are everywhere. 
  • Thumb-print identification. We've started going there, but seriously, I have to wonder why security companies haven't jumped on this one yet. No more door knobs. Just press your thumb to the plate and if you live there, you get in. Plain and simple.
Really, though, I am glad that people aren't wearing two neck-ties. *Shudder* Fashion don't. 

There are a few things about the 2015 we see in Marty's world that bother me. The kids are sitting at the dinner table plugged into their little sunglasses-goggles-phone-television things. Oh, wait, we've already got that with cell phones. (Seriously, unplug, said the blogger!) Rejuvenation clinics with complete changes of blood, face lifts etc...oh, yeah, we have those (of a sort). Those flying cars still use fossil fuels even though Doc Brown has a Mr. Fusion? Kinda confused on that one.  

Other than the obvious of flying cars and hoverboards, is there anything in the movie-future that you want to see? Personally, I dig on the Mr. Fusion. I'd love to be able to just throw all of my trash into a bin and use it to power my car. 

Kinda crazy that an 80s sci-fi flick got so many things right. (And we still have 5 years to go!)

Carolyn Parkhurst says we need to get cracking. If we fall behind, we'll never rescue Doc Brown from "Mad Dog" Tannen back in 1885!

I have only one thing to say to that. GREAT SCOTT!! 

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