NOSTALGIA: Let’s go Back to the Future

JOANNE SAVAGE fondly recalls Marty McFly’s jaunt in a plutonium powered DeLorean that took him three decades into the past, almost eradicating the possibility of his own birth

Friday, 7th January 2022, 6:07 pm
Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown and Michael J Fox as Marty McFly in the iconic 1985 movie Back to the Future
Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown and Michael J Fox as Marty McFly in the iconic 1985 movie Back to the Future

It was surely the best science fiction film made in the 1980s, with Michael J Fox as Marty McFly at its centre, working alongside Christopher Lloyd’s mad scientist Emmet ‘Doc’ Brown with the crazed eyes and hair who has somehow found a way to make time travel possible with a super cool modified DeLorean powered by plutonium which he somehow swindled from Libyan terrorists. Their mad defiance of the space-time continuum begins when the unlikely duo meet in The Twin Pines mall parking lot in Hill Valley, California just as a disaffected teenage Marty, who to me looked like the cutest guy on earth, gets in the weird vehicle and by reaching 88 miles per hour (142 km/h) occasions time travel, and relocates all the way back to November 5, 1955 (a date fixed by Doc because it was the day he first conceived his supernatural time travel invention), discovering on his arrival that he has none of the necessary plutonium to return. Quite the mind-bending conundrum, to be trapped 30 years back in the past, whereupon, after perusing a burgeoning old school Hill Valley he witnesses his father-to-be George fall into the path of an oncoming car while spying on his teenage mother-to-be Lorraine, and their future son now extraneously in their midst, is knocked unconscious trying to save him.

Marty awakens from the accident to find himself being tended to by his mother, who proceeds to become infatuated with him. But in order for Marty to come into existence in the future, Lorraine was supposed to meet her husband George after the accident instead of Marty, and if he does want to go back to being a flesh and blood teenager with a failed band in 1985 and ever live again with his siblings and family, he now has to set about ensuring that his mother and father do fall rapturously in love, otherwise his existence will be wiped out once he speeds back to the future.

It’s an utterly weird scenario, one’s future mother falling for her future son and thus imperilling the preordained nature of reality 30 years to come, and perhaps a cautionary tale about why time travel should never be attempted, whether into the future or into the past, lest all manner of messed up interference with the natural order of things become terrifyingly manifest.

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That being said, this pandemic apocalypse presently at hand, wherein we’re all muzzled by masks, tentative about crowds or the long forgotten joy of dancing in a nightclub, waving ones hands in the air at a packed live music gig or giving strangers spontaneous hugs without the fear of viral transmission, who wouldn’t want to get into a supercharged magical vehicle that could take one back to a time long before we had ever heard of Covid-19?

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Ben Lowry