In honor of “Back to the Future Day,” we’ve compiled a short list of lessons gleaned from the trials and tribulations of time travelers in the classic Back to the Future films and our own Movement + Location. Marty McFly is on a never-ending (read: mindbogglingly frustrating) quest, mostly to clean up mistakes made as he hops from 1985 to 1955, back to 1985, then to 2015 and round again. Kim Getty is firmly planted in her one-way destination year of 2014, just trying to build a life that’s fulfilling… but they’d both do well to take these lessons to heart.
Remember how Marty and Doc Brown meet up in an abandoned parking lot at 1:15am to time travel for the first time in Back to the Future? …Remember how they hop in the DeLorean in broad daylight at the end of the first movie/beginning of the second to head to 2015, and Biff figures it out and ruins literally everything? It seems like a stretch that such a brilliant scientist would allow such an oversight, but how else would this sequel hold our attention!?
As for Kim, in Movement + Location, the consequences of her new contemporaries finding out the truth about her are pretty dire, too. In her world, unlike in Back to the Future, she doesn’t have the ability to time-hop more than once, and telling the truth wouldn’t enable others to access time travel, but it could very well get her institutionalized.
Using time travel to get rich quick? Not cool, man. Even though the Doc is somehow okay with altering the space time continuum to improve Marty’s future family life, he is pretty clear about his position on using the DeLorean time machine to make some lucrative, risk-free bets and investments. Marty is totally jealous that Biff steals his idea to use the 1950-2000 sports almanac to make a fortune, but Doc Brown shuts. him. down. Also, it just seems a little weird that Biff would be called the “Luckiest Man On Earth” instead of being pegged for a con artist after all of his big payouts… and, hey, how many times have you heard about the lottery winners who end up going bankrupt?
Kim doesn’t really have such an opportunity to take advantage of her knowledge of the future. In her situation, with no way back to the future and no identity to safely start anew when she arrives in contemporary Brooklyn, homelessness is a more realistic bet for her and others from her time.
More time travelers = more chances to make a huge, time-altering mistake. Between Marty, Doc Brown, Jennifer, and Biff, there are far too many paths that nearly cross in the Back to the Future installments, and because future-Biff has the foresight to tell 50’s-Biff what to do if he encounters a “wild-eyed scientist or a kid” in Part II, when he finally comes across Marty it escalates to a life-or-death matter.
Kim lives an incredibly private life, and is very resistant to making herself vulnerable to other people for fear of being found out. However, privacy and safety start to unravel for her, too, when she encounters Rachel, a teenager who turns out to also be from the future.
Let’s be real… Marty wouldn’t have a clue what to do without Doc Brown, hairbrained as his plans may be.
Likewise, Rachel probably wouldn’t be able to survive for very long without help from Kim and Paul. For them, time travel is a difficult, one-way trip of isolation.
Time travel starts out as an exciting prospect to Marty and the Doc, but as they make changes and leap across time to rectify them, it becomes clear that you just can’t control the future. Who knew?
Kim also has to confront the fact that life doesn’t get easier when she travels through time to escape the unseen dystopian future that she came from. Instead, she loses the life she once had and damages all of her relationships, new and old… but we won’t spoil all of the details.
Enjoy your Back to the Future binge this week (if that’s what you’re into), then be sure to check out Movement + Location on iTunes, Verizon FiOS On Demand, or — if you like bonus footage — right over here on VHX!