Thursday, September 14, 2006

Back to the Future!


Ok, I've spent the last 3 days watching the Back to the Future trilogy with my neighbor Jo... due to a slight shortage in currency because of a quite large purchase on the horizon and the fact that payday is next week, I'm really glad that I brought 100+ movies with me right now. What blows is that I have a 3-day weekend coming up, but no money to do anything!! Ah well, it'll all be worth it in the end. Hopefully.

So yeah, back to the movie. We were just talking about how cheesy some of it seemed and over-analyzing everything and stuff, and I got to thinking (look out world!) - check out the timeline:

-Doc Brown invents the flux capacitor in 1955, and completes his time machine in 1985 in the first movie.
-Marty takes the Delorean back to 1955, then the 1955 Doc Brown helps him get back.

...so does that mean that Marty was the actual impetus that convinced Doc that he'd succeed and thus made him press on with his crazy dream of time travel? But wait, I'm not done...

-Doc Brown (of 1985), after helping Marty fix his mistakes resulting from their excursion to the future, accidentally gets sent back to 1885 due to "one point twenty-one jigawatts of electricity" striking the car while the time circuits were malfunctioning and showing 1885.
-1885 Doc Brown (from 1985) can't repair the Delorean with existing technology, so he buries it and leaves schematics for 1955 Doc Brown to rebuild it using technology of the day.
-1955 Doc Brown then proceeds to repair the vehicle that he built, but hasn't built yet, but now knows how to build thanks to the plans that he gave himself.

...so basically that means that Doc told himself how to build a time machine, which begs the question that if he didn't tell himself how to make it, how did he figure it out the first time? Or does that just mean that he figures it out earlier and sits on it until 1985? If Marty never went back in the first place then would the time machine ever have been built, or would crazy old Doc Brown just have put his zany scheme and flux capacitor (what the hell does that do anyway!?!?) up on the shelf and forgotten about it? It's all just one big cycle!

And when Marty gets back after what I think was about a month of time travel, does he celebrate his birthday a month earlier? What about Doc's kids - does he just keep track of how many days they've been alive and tell them when it's been another year? GREAT SCOTT! 1.21 Jigawatts!!

Oh hey, and if you go back and watch the movies again, just sit there and listen to all the Doc-isms spackled throughout... pure genius. And finally, yes, I am a card-carrying dork.

2 comments:

Matt said...

Alright!! You've finally made me write a blog Doug! (and I think mine is the first comment your site) I never write these things but it's 2AM and I'm bored and can't get to sleep. Great blogging combination!
Awwwright, about your Back to the Future conundrums, this always happens with time travel. It's the time travel paradox and it makes movies really confusing. Take Terminator II for example...why would John Connor send back a T100 to stop another T1000 sent back to kill his younger self in the past? Wouldn't he already know the outcome since him existing in the future is living proof that the T1000 failed in his mission in the past?
Anyway, BTTF is the ultimate of all time travel movies. They actually go into into philosophical physics to explain this paradox. If you'll notice, Doc introduces the concept of multiple dimensions in BTTF2 (Bif's crazy rise to power exists at the same time as the regular timeline). Thus, even if the Doc that invented the time machine should have known how to build it 30 years before, the 30 years ago Doc is now living in a separate parallel dimension so a different future would result (perhaps the 1955 Doc that met Marty would invent the time machine earlier). You'll notice the 1985 reality changes everytime Marty time travels (his parents become successful, Bif gets rich, etc.) So essentially, the time machine can travel not only along a single timeline but, across parallel dimensions representing different possible outcomes. If you think in a 2-D timeline, the movie makes sense kinda. They really thought this movie through.
The one thing that doesn't make sense is that all the characters exist and look the same in each alternate reality. Once Marty's parents become successful, you would imagine that they wouldn't have kids at the same time as before. But who knows, maybe we are all fated to be born the same way no matter when we are born.
Anyway, the BTTF trilogy rules!

darg said...

YES!!! Matt arrives! I appreciate the input as I feel you have brought my nerdery to a new level of nerdiness.

So as for T2 what about this: maybe John Connor has to send the T100 back because he lives in an alternate timeline which is set into motion by the T100 being sent back... in this case there could be an alternate dimension in which the T1000 succeeds and John is dead.

Back to BTTF, so from what you're saying, basically just by Marty going back in time and interacting with Doc in the 50's he automatically can't return to his own reality, but rather can only go to the one which his actions created? If so, that would make sense, but it still wouldn't explain BTTF2.

You see, in the 2nd one he goes into the future in order to change it, but how is that possible? Doesn't that go against the rules since the future is dependant on all the events up to that point? What's to say that he'll still wind up in that reality where he manipulated things if he keeps jumping dimensions? I think the end of the 3rd movie pretty much proves that going forward to change events that haven't happened yet is rather futile - you should just wait til they come and do it right when you get the chance.

You're right that I would expect the characters to change as well - they do have characters take on different roles in different timelines though, as with Biff - first he was the boss, then he was the tow truck driver, then he was the tycoon, then the tow truck driver again.

Oh yeah, and anyone else think Chrono Trigger was an awesome game?