Wednesday, January 02, 2013

The philosophy behind 80's teen movies - Back to the Future

Back to the future - 1986

Michael J. Fox (Marty McFly), Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Emmett Brown)


Seventeen-year-old Marty McFly lives with his bleak, unambitious family in Hill Valley, California. His father, George McFly, is bullied by his supervisor, Biff Tannen, while his unhappy mother, Lorraine Baines McFly, is an alcoholic. One night at dinner, Lorraine recounts how she and George first fell in love when her father hit George with his car.

Later that night, Marty meets his friend, scientist Dr. Emmett "Doc" Brown, in the parking lot of a deserted shopping mall where Doc reveals a time machine made from a modified 1981 DeLorean DMC-12; the vehicle's time displacement is powered by plutonium, which supplies the 1.21 gigawatts of power to a device he calls the "flux capacitor." Doc explains that the car travels to a programmed date upon reaching 88 miles per hour, using the date November 5, 1955, as an example destination. Before Doc can make his first trip, the Libyan terrorists from whom he stole the plutonium shoot him. Marty attempts to escape in the DeLorean and inadvertently activates the time machine. He is transported back to November 5, 1955, and finds himself without the plutonium needed for the return trip.

While exploring Hill Valley, Marty meets his teenaged father, who is being bullied by Biff. As George is about to be hit by Lorraine's father's car, Marty pushes him out of the way and is knocked out by the impact. Consequently, a teenaged Lorraine becomes infatuated with Marty instead of George.

Marty is disturbed by her flirtations and leaves to find the younger Doc of 1955. Marty convinces Doc that he is from the future, and asks for help returning to 1985. Doc explains that the only available power source capable of generating 1.21 gigawatts of energy is a bolt of lightning. Discovering the "Save the Clock Tower" flyer that Marty received in 1985, indicating that lightning will strike the courthouse clock tower the following Saturday at 10:04 pm, Doc makes plans to harness the lightning strike to power the DeLorean's flux capacitor. When they observe a fading photograph of Marty with his siblings, they realize Marty has prevented his parents from meeting, jeopardizing his family's existence.

Marty attempts to set George up with Lorraine. To make his parents fall in love, Marty plans to have George "rescue" Lorraine from Marty's inappropriate advances on the night of the school dance. A drunk Biff unexpectedly shows up, pulls Marty from the car, and attempts to force himself on Lorraine. George arrives to rescue her from Marty, but instead finds Biff, who humiliates George and pushes Lorraine to the ground. Standing up to him for the first time, George knocks Biff out. A smitten Lorraine follows George to the dance floor, where they kiss for the first time, ensuring Marty's existence.

Marty arrives at the clock tower where Doc is making final preparations for the lightning strike, and tries to warn Doc of his impending 1985 murder in a letter, but Doc tears it up, fearing it will lead to altering the future. A falling tree branch disconnects Doc's wiring setup, but Doc repairs the connections in time to send Marty and the DeLorean back to 1985. Although Marty arrives too late to prevent him from being shot, Doc is still alive and admits to reading the letter anyway and wearing a bulletproof vest.

Arriving home, Marty notices that George and Lorraine now have a closer relationship than ever, while Biff has become an auto detailer/washer who is on good terms with the McFly family.

A scene to Remember:

After ensuring the kiss of parents and their very existence, Marty decides to give the audience the 50s a "taste of the future," playing the song "Johnny B Goode". Follow the link below:

Socio / psycho / philosophical analysis:

The main theme of the film is a journey through time.  It is currently unknown whether the laws of physics would allow time travel into the past.  This subject, however, is largely covered in works of fiction, such as in the film "Back to the Future."

"The grandfather paradox" is one of many paradoxes stated by many scientists and philosophers that make most of the both to deny the possibility of time travel. The paradox is a hypothetical situation in which a time traveler goes back in time and attempts to kill his grandfather at a time before his grandfather met his grandmother. If he did so, then his mother or father never would have been born, and neither would the time traveler himself, in which case the time traveler never would have gone back in time to kill his grandfather.  

In the movie, Marty doesn't kill his father but almost erases his own existence by influencing on the way his parents met, his image even began to be erased from the family photo when his parents' early relationship was put to test.  Marty would be "vaporised", he would never exist, even having existed (that was commonplace on George Orwell's novel 1984, where enemies of the party were "vaporised" all the time. They did not die, they never existed, the Ministry of Truth took care of that).

Any doubt that might still exist about the possibility of time travel is categorically denied by the doctor of metaphysics Oscar Wilde, who stated:  “No man is rich enough to buy back his past.” 

Aside from time travel, it is important to mention inspiration the screenplay writer took from Greek tragedy "Oedipus the King", by Sophocles, where mother and son, knowing no such relationship, eventually marry. Unlike Oedipus, however, Marty knows that Lorraine is his mother and avoids the tragedy (in his case "vaporisation": Marty, who is Marty?). 

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