Or, if you prefer, “Blogs? Where we’re going, we don’t need blogs.”
Yes, yes, I know it’s only Wednesday, but this week’s entry is early for a good reason.
In November 1989, just two days before my beloved wife celebrated her 10th birthday (of course, we weren’t married back then), the sequel to the greatest film in history was released – Back To The Future Part II.
Ok, it’s the weakest instalment of the trilogy, but by normal standards it’s still a great film – it just so happens that the other two are superior (and damn near perfect). Besides, isn’t the middle film of any trilogy always the weakest?
I know most people – and seemingly every critic – will argue that The Empire Strikes Back is the best of the original Star Wars trilogy, but it’s my least favourite as it has no real ending and I prefer the other two.
Then there is the prequel Star Wars trilogy [shudders]. The whole enterprise was largely a bad idea from start to finish (which makes me nervous for Episode VII – The Force Awakens coming out in just over a month, no matter how pant-wettingly good the trailers look), but there can’t be a film fan out there who doesn’t see Episode II – Attack of the Clones as the runt of an already lame litter. Even Yoda getting his lightsaber on doesn’t save it from being terrible.
And the list goes on: Die Hard II, The Matrix Reloaded, Oceans 12, The Bourne Supremacy… are just a few examples of the many trilogies where the middle instalment is the weakest (even if, in their own right, they are decent films).
The rule isn’t exclusive, obviously, and I’m sure as you read this there will be exceptions you can think of straight away – Aliens, for example, is a great film (although I would argue that this is no longer a trilogy anyway, as they ruined everything with Resurrection and the various spin-offs) – but, generally speaking, the middle films of most trilogies are crap.
Never mind, that’s not why we’re here. We’re here because today, 21st October 2015, is a day most Back To The Future fans have been anticipating for years, because today is the day Marty, the Doc and Jennifer travel forward in time to in the second film.
I’m not sure precisely why everyone is so excited about it, to be honest. I mean, I love the films dearly, but there are people out there who seem to genuinely think a flying DeLorean is going to appear in the sky, in a burst of flames, at some point during the day. These are generally the sort of people who attack soap star villains in the street, believing them to be nasty in real life, so we can probably take their opinions with a pinch of salt, but it still shows the impact that films can have on some people’s fragile distinction between reality and fiction.
The main focus point of everyone’s attention, however, has been the comparison between the film’s perception of what 2015 would be like, twenty-six years in advance, and the disappointing, crappy, reality. In fairness, they didn’t get a whole lot right.
For example, the Jaws franchise still hasn’t got past film number four, let alone up to Jaws 19 as predicted (although I think, for that, we can be grateful), and I haven’t seen any self-tying shoes or Hoverboards on the market just yet – even though the boffins are apparently hard at work developing both. So, really, 2015 is a bit of a let-down.
Fair enough, we have got 3D films, Skype (similar to the manner in which Marty gets fired by his boss in the film) and, to some extent, thumbprint technology (although we can’t really pay for anything with it yet), but all the exciting stuff appears to be years from coming to fruition.
Most importantly, we don’t have any flying cars. Well, we do, but we still call them ‘planes’, and people don’t tend to like it if you try to fly them yourself.
In fairness to the film makers, trying to predict what the future might hold in twenty-six years’ time can’t have been that easy, and I’m not sure they genuinely expected flying cars to be in mass-production anyway. It’s far more likely that they had to come up with something outlandish to make the film more exciting. It would hardly have worked as well, if the full extent of this futuristic world was being able to pay for something at a self-service checkout, or using a vacuum cleaner that could go around corners. I mean, woooo.
Imagine trying to undertake the same task today, predicting what the year 2040 might have in store for us. I still don’t think flying cars are likely to be around, and certainly not in every household, so all we can safely assume is that the general public will be really bored of X-Factor by then.
It’s all guesswork anyway, so if you’re making a film about the future, you might as well go for the extreme and fascinating. I don’t think anyone in their right mind would seriously criticise the makers of BTTF for being a bit wide of the mark with their predictions.
The thing is, even with my extremely limited knowledge of quantum physics, I’m pretty certain time travel will never be possible. Think about it, if we do invent time travel at some point in the future, why has no one come back to tell us about it? Hmm?
So, with that in mind, and safe in the knowledge that all clairvoyants are utterly full of shit, we cannot possibly predict what the future holds for any of us. Would we even want to know anyway? Imagine going forward twenty-five years and finding out things don’t go too well for you or, Heaven forbid, you’re no longer around. That’s the sort of knowledge that can really screw a person up.
By the same token, what if you could travel back to your past and change an important decision you once made (which may not have seemed that important at the time), or a particular path you chose to take. Would you? Aside from the whole ‘fucking up the space time continuum’ palaver, you obviously shouldn’t live a life of regret anyway, but perhaps altering a few choices here and there might be useful. If nothing else, you could give your younger version a heads up about certain events that might not have panned out too well.
Take me for example. I think the first thing I would do with a time machine, would be to travel back to 2001, just as I was about to post my application to law school, and whisper in my younger ear “You really don’t want to do that, you know”. Then, I’d jump ahead to the 2009/2010 football season, and warn myself that it might be best to give County a miss for a few years. Think of the time, money and upset that would save.
While I was at it, I would probably consider going back to my school days to point out the many girls it really wouldn’t be worth asking out on a date, to save myself the years of rejection [sniff]:
1998 me: But she seems to really like me.
2015 me: Nope, trust me, she just wants to be friends. Bad idea.
1998 me: What about her?
2015 me: Ditto. Don’t worry, it all ends up fine. Anyway, best dash, there’s another version of us who travels all the way to Morecambe in the rain to watch County, and we end up losing 5-0. He nearly gets pneumonia.
1998 me: Morecambe? How the hell do they get so high up the leagues?
2015 me: Erm… it’s not so much that they get high up, it’s more that we plummet.
1998 me: Shit.
2015 me: Oh, that’s just the start of it. Ever heard of a team called North Ferriby?
1998 me: No.
2015 me: You will.
But, let’s be honest, it’s all a fantastical pipe-dream. We can’t change the past, and we sure as hell can’t predict the future. You just have to make the best of the cards life deals you, and try to be as happy as you can. That way, you might make other people around you happy too.
We should all strive to make each day as awesome as we possibly can, not just for us, but for those around us as well. You never know which day will be your last (unless you happen to have murdered someone in the State of Virginia), so make them count.
After all, you could be hit by a flying DeLorean later today…