How The World Is Celebrating Back To The Future Day

We don't have hoverboards yet, but that doesn't mean we can't have fun.

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By coincidence or design, 2015 is a big year for the Back to the Future franchise and those enamoured with the time travel trilogy. Not only is it thirty years since Marty McFly and Doc Brown first graced the silver screen, but as the internet has constantly reminded us, 2015 was also the year Doc and Marty travelled to in Back to the Future II.

You’ve probably seen one of the many articles and videos on what BTTF II predicted correctly and incorrectly about 2015 (fortunately for us, ’80s nostalgia diners have not become fashionable), and you’re undoubtedly aware that Lexus are attempting to bring the Hoverboard to life — all evidence of the impact Back to the Future continues to have on pop culture.

And why not? The original film and its two sequels are among the greatest time travel films of all, um, time. Though light-hearted, BTTF’s time travel timelines are intricate if not plausible, and long before Pixar became the masters of family films, Amblin Entertainment dominated that market throughout the ’80s with films like The Goonies, E.T and Gremlins. Amblin’s crowning achievement, of course, was Back to the Future – sophisticated entertainment that wasn’t afraid to be a little darker than your average family film.

We Gotta Do Something To Make Money Outta This, Marty

As Back to the Future Day (October 21st) draws nearer, both Pepsi and Universal have produced tongue-in-cheek advertisements to celebrate. Remember the super ‘futuristic’ looking Pepsi bottle Marty buys at the retro ’80s diner?

Pepsi have released a limited edition bottle in that exact style, and even made this suitably cheesy ad to celebrate, complete with Back to the Future IIs questionable vision of future fashion.

Not to be outdone, Universal Pictures — who just so happen to distribute the Back to the Future films, as well as the Jaws franchise — released this pisstake of a teaser trailer for Jaws 19; a nod to BTTF II’s memorable visual gag wherein Marty is attacked by a hologram of a shark advertising yet another Jaws sequel.

For the record, the franchise thankfully stopped at Jaws 4, in which a descendant of the original Jaws follows a character down the eastern seaboard of the United States to the Bahamas. You can’t make this stuff up.

They also released an ad for the Hoverboard, again taking fluoro fashion and design queues from the first sequel, along with an aggressively obnoxious hoverboard bro to spruik it.

Universal also managed to rope Christopher Lloyd for an as-yet unreleased short, Doc Brown Saves The World, and YouTubers are theorising it will follow Doc Brown on a mission to find out why the hell Hoverboards haven’t been invented yet.

Of course, Back to the Future Day wouldn’t be complete without a Michael J. Fox/Christopher Lloyd reunion, and Toyota have obliged the world with just that, teasing a video featuring the two original stars. The catch is you won’t be able to see it until October 21st. Dang it.

The Internet Does What It Does Best

If you don’t want to miss out on Back the Future Day but remembering dates isn’t your thing, some geniuses have set up websites like Is Today Back to the Future Day? and Is Today the Day Marty McFly Arrives When He Travels to the Future? Both were developed as a reaction to a hoax back in July 2012, when some bozo Photoshopped a still of the DeLorean’s time panel from BTTF II, changed the destination date to June 27 2012, threw it up on the Internet, and subsequently tricked a lot of naive folk because, well, some people are just jerks.

And of course, the memes. So many memes.

Party Like It’s An ‘80s Version of 2015

Of course, nothing says celebration like a party, and no one has been looking forward to this day quite like We’re Going Back. The Los Angeles-based non-profit is putting on a week-long celebration that includes a hoverboard show featuring Biff’s original gang members, film location tours, an Enchantment Under the Sea dance (in the actual filming location) and an exclusive premiere of documentary and fanboy gold Out of Time: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine.

The Virginia town of Reston is changing its name temporarily to Hill Valley, and will host a red-carpet screening of Back to the Future, with stars Christopher Lloyd and James Tolkan (who played that no-good Principal Strickland) in attendance.

But the USA is a long ways away, so Sydneysiders might be better served heading to the Back To The Future Bash at Goodgod. They’ll also have an Enchantment Under the Sea dance, trivia, and a Johnny B. Goode air guitar competition to boot, all to raise funds for Parkinsons NSW. Melbourne might have to wait a while, but come November Back To The Future Live in Concert will be sure to appease fans, with a full symphony orchestra performing Alan Silvestri’s original score to a screening of the film.

But of course, sometimes it’s better to celebrate your way with your friends. If you’re feeling creative, there are some excellent guides out there teaching you how to build everything from hoverboards to Doc’s mind-reading helmet. Failing that, just dig out that red sleeveless puffer jacket, see what kind of DeLorean-looking thing you can fashion from cardboard, make the best flux capacitor the world has ever seen out of pipe cleaners, and celebrate the benchmark in film entertainment. 

Garry Westmore is a Melbourne-based educator, freelancer and Film Editor of Spook. You can find him on twitter @GarryWestmore