What 'Back to the Future Part II' got right — and wrong — about 2015

What 'Back to the Future Part II' got right — and wrong — about 2015

After traveling back in time to 1955 in 1985's "Back to the Future," Marty McFly pays a visit to the year 2015 in "Back to the Future Part II," Robert Zemeckis' 1989 sequel to the box-office smash starring Michael J. Fox. And for the last 25 years, fans of the franchise have been eagerly awaiting 2015, when flying cars, self-lacing shoes and — of course — hoverboards would be everywhere. Now that we've reached 2015, it's time to find out what the filmmakers got right — and wrong — about the future.

What they got wrong: Flying cars

In the film, cars take to the sky in Zemeckis' 2015, or, as Christopher Lloyd's Doc character says at the end of the first film, "Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads." In reality, we don't have flying cars, at least not the way they're portrayed in the film, but we do have Priuses.

What they got right: Flat-screen televisions, Skype-like technology

As ABC News notes, an older McFly talks to a friend (played by Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers) with a Skype-like program through his flatscreen television. In reality, voiceover IP technology, Skype and Apple's FaceTime are widely used in 2015.

What they got wrong: Self-lacing shoes

In the film, sneakers in 2015 lace themselves. In reality, shoe laces continue to haunt kindergarten teachers. But Nike says it hopes to release a real version of the self-lacing high-tops portrayed in the film.

What they got right: 3-D technology

In the film, McFly walks by a 3-D hologram of "Jaws 19." In reality, 3-D "hologram" technology exists, allowing the late Tupac Shakur to "perform" at Coachella in 2012, followed by Michael Jackson at the Billboard Music Awards earlier this year. Just this month, scientists at Bristol University announced they've discovered how to make 3D holograms "touchable."

What they got wrong: Fax machines

In the film, fax machines are pervasive. In reality, they're nearly obsolete. "The number-one thing they got wrong was the dominance of fax machines in 2015," Glen Hiemstra, founder Futurist.com, told Newsweek. "That’s characteristic of a common forecasting pitfall, which is to overestimate the importance of something that is dominant in the current time. Fax machines were relatively new in the late ’80s."

What they got right — sort of: Food

In the film, the McFly clan prepares an on-demand dinner that comes out of a ceiling "garden center." In reality, dehydrated food is readily available, if not readily consumed.

What they got right — sort of: Hoverboards

In the film, McFly, a noted skateboard enthusiast, sees an ad for a levitating "skyway flyer" from Wilson Hover Conversion Systems. Price tag: $39,999.95. In reality, hoverboards do exist and are being developed by ‎Hendo Hover, a California company that has raised more $500,000 on Kickstarter to build the world's first. (The boards use something called Arx Pax Magnetic Field Architecture technology.) In November, the company unveiled its prototype and let skateboarder Tony Hawk take it for a ride.

For those disappointed that "Back to the Future Part II" wasn't as prophetic as it could've been, it wasn't meant to be. Newsweek notes that Zemeckis himself said as much in the director’s commentary of the film’s DVD edition, saying the goal was to make a funny and entertaining film, not “to make a scientifically sound prediction that we were probably going to get wrong.”

And — as Newsweek also points out — the "Back to the Future" sequel takes place primarily on Oct. 21, 2015. In other words, there's still time.