Wednesday, 13 January 2016

1.21 Gigawatts - Why back to the future is the greatest time travel movie (of all time)

Think back to the last time travel movie you saw. Chances are if you're like me, you were very disappointed.  But not all time travel movies have been total failures - Back to the future was an excellent film, it had all of the necessary elements to make a good movie, by anyone’s standards, and it truly captured the idea behind time travel. Now, I'm not talking about the third movie in the series - by Back to the future I mean the original film. The third movie was kind of a flop - but we'll talk about that another time.

I fell in love with back to the future the first time I watched it at ten years old. Since then I've seen it probably fifty times and can recite most of it to you as I watch it. But why have I seen it so many times? Because this movie covers nearly every element needed to make a good movie.
Think about it; in a good movie you want some action, some romance, suspense and a good story. Back to the future has all of that. I don't think any movie watcher would be left out while watching this, because it covers literally everything needed to make a good movie.

The story in Back to the future is among the best I've ever seen. The main character, Marty McFly, accidentally travels back in time, in the process running out of fuel for the time machine, a modified Delorean that needs 1.21 gigawatts of power to travel through time. While communicating with the inventor of the machine (before it was ever invented), he mistakenly causes his mother to fall in love with him. This interferes with his parents falling in love, and Marty’s future self begins to disappear. He is then forced to bring his parents together and make them fall in love, so that he will be born as a result. Doc Brown, the inventor of the time machine, figures out how to power the machine with lightning and sends Marty back to the future (hence the name) just in the nick of time. Marty also has to try to save Docs life, as in 1985 he is shot by terrorists and Marty has to slip Doc a note in 1955 that will one day prevent his death.

But the story isn't the only thing that makes Back to the Future such an incredible film - it's the attention to the time travel. The producers understood that time travel is a complicated thing (even way back then) and put in every effort to show it.

From the very beginning when we learn about the time machine, we know that it requires a tremendous amount of power, and a very exact rate of acceleration, to be able to travel through time. The Delorean, powered by a Flux-Capacitor, requires 1.21 gigawatts of power and needs to be moving at exactly 88 miles per hour to pull off this amazing feat.

Another detail that the producers noticed is that a time machine allows travel though time, not space. They made sure the whole story took place in Marty’s home town, where the Delorean originally left from. In fact, the Delorean returned to the EXACT location it left from, though 20 years earlier. For those who have seen the movie, you will recall this to be the Twin Pines Mall, or a farm as it was in the 1950's. Marty did not jump in space, only time, which many producers forget when making time travel films.

Again, when Marty’s mother fell in love with him rather than his father, Marty’s future self began to disappear, because without his parents getting married he never would have been born. The producers noticed that the past affects the present, something that is occasionally (not often, but it has happened) forgotten.

From what I've heard, most people would agree with my view of the movie - but if you don't, make sure to let me know in the comments or on Twitter! Thanks for reading!