Back to BTTF: The Secret Plot of Doc Brown

Doc cap

My last post covered the ever multiplying Martys in the Back to the Future flicks, and as long and rambling as that post was, I still have yet more to say. Much more. This time I’d like to talk about another sort of temporal anomaly in the third film.

Two DeLoreans Too Many

And coincidentally instantly after posting my last BTTF article, two separate people (shout out to Robot's PJs and Masters of None) pointed out the two DeLorean theory of Back to the Future Part III. Here’s a snippet from the Master’s blog:

When Marty went back to 1885 to save Doc, he first had to uncover a DeLorean in 1955 that was already buried by Doc in 1885. When he went back to 1885, he ripped the gas line and emptied the gas tank, thus causing the car to be useless and having to have it be pushed by the train in the final sequence. However, what neither of them realized is that when Marty travels back to 1885 from 1955, there are now TWO DeLoreans. One that Marty ripped the fuel line, and one that Doc JUST BURIED not but a few months earlier to be uncovered by Marty in 1955. To rectify the situation and travel back to 1985, all they had to do was patch the gas line of the first with some tubing and siphon the gas from the buried DeLorean to the other, simply leaving a note for the 1955 counterparts to remember to fill up when found.

But this isn’t a paradox or a film flub or a mistake. It’s just normal stupidity, and stupidity I can always believe. Marty has spent three movies proving exactly how unbright he is; Strickland was totally within his right to be rough on him. He’s a slacker, bottom line. Marty was ready to fight Griff and his gang because of a chicken sound effect; this is not a thinking man. Doc, on the other hand, is brilliant with machines, but noticeably less than brilliant at other things (namely life and love). Let’s say at his best Doc is prone to rash decisions: stealing plutonium from known terrorists for one, challenging Mad Dog Tannen to a duel over a matter of $80 for another. Rewind back to the first movie, Doc forgot to put more plutonium in the trunk (one pellet, one trip). This is not a wild assumption on their intelligences (as most of my assumptions are), this is totally believable. Not remembering the second DeLorean was dumb, yes; problematic for me in terms of plot, not as much.

My problem is Doc returning to the present with a wife and kids. What’s up with that? And let me explain this in the longest, most drawn out way possible. So, Back to the Future III ends with Marty punking out on his drag race (I mean if you’re going to own a big ass monster truck and you’re going to be hanging out with dudes named Needles, I think it’s expected of you), Doc shows up in a locomotive and says everything’s cool, Doc’s son does some sort of weird finger in finger gesture, then Doc’s train flies off, and The End. Good feelings all around. Trilogy over. Roll the credits. But something is missing for me though.

I’m on board with Doc building a steam-powered time machine out of a train, why not? It’s no more unbelievable than a car. But what were Doc and Clara up to before dropping in on Marty? There's a missing story here. Namely why did Doc & Co. visit the future before visiting Marty? Maybe, it was just for the cool visual of a hover converted train. 1985 was not their first stop and this is important because there’s a hidden plot that they don’t ever get at. They went to the future first in order to destroy Marty’s family.

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Back to Back to the Future: A Tale of Two Martys

bttf Trilogy

Most of you know of my Bill Murray fetish (sadomurrochism), but you may not know about my Back to the Future obsession.

I spend way too much time thinking about Back to the Future paradoxes and working on my BTTF fan fiction (about the misadventures of Einstein the dog and the pine tree Marty ran over). I think about Back to the Future the way sane people think about their children or politics or sports. I spend most of my time staring off into sunsets with visions of DeLoreans and Sports Almanacs dancing though my head.

But, anyway, before we get into too much, here's what you should know…

The Basics: Time Travel 101

There are basically two types of time travel: static time travel and fluid time travel. Every time travel movie or book, probably works around one of these. Static time is unchangeable, so what is supposed to happen will happen and there’s nothing the time traveler can do about it. Destiny often plays a huge roll in this type. Fluid time travel means anything can change anything, butterflies and whatnots and Nazis taking over the world. The timeline in the Back to the Future franchise is fluid; every change creates a new parallel timeline. Back to the Future II is based entirely on this premise (and hoverboards). The world and all its inhabitants got erased except for any time travelers; Hill Valley turned into biker Las Vegas and Biff transformed into Donald Trump (but a little classier). And presumably because of the flux capacitor, plutonium, things which are heavy, or science!, Marty, Doc, and Jennifer’s memories remain unaffected by these radical shifts in the fabric of reality. But it’s okay because time is so fluid—it’s positively dripping—that all this could be changed back with no ill effects. They even leave Jennifer in an alternative 1985 and don’t pick her up again until Back to the Future III. They left her sleeping on a porch for one and a half movies, through the rise and fall of two timelines and a wacky western adventure.

Temporal Anomalies: Marty A and Marty B

What I want to talk about though is the end of the first film. Marty had just returned to 1985, mere minutes away from saving Doc Brown from being gunned down by Libyan nationalists, and just in time to see himself go back in time (if I just spoiled Back to the Future for you then you should stop reading now… and never read this blog again). When you see this in the film, you think, “Oh, that’s nice, we’ve come full circle.” Except that it’s not the same Marty we saw at the beginning of the film. That’s an entirely different Marty.

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Cyberspace Madness: Boldly Sitting As No Man Has Sat Before

I have to applaud this study of William Riker sitting.

The Riker Maneuver

I watched a lot of episodes of TNG and I never noticed this, and now I can't not notice it. I think I was always more obsessed with Riker's beard, maybe, that's what he wanted though. Focus on his beard, miss what's happening below. It's such a powerful Riker move though, too. Of course, that's the way he sits, it's the only way he knows how. It's not just hopping over the chair back (they are not big on back support in the future), there's a lean in component, too, where Riker is really entering into some uncharted personal space (I was going to say, "crossing the neutral zone," but I thought that be too much [but the I did!]).

Is this how everyone sits in the future? Is this cool in the future? Or is he like Rodge from What's Happening!! (Google it, kids)? Is this a learned behavior or was he born like this? Well, it's a good thing for us that William Riker has a duplicate, Thomas Riker. Someone pull the footage and see how Thomas sits, I can't do everything, folks.

Also...

The Monster Squad (Modernized)

Not too much to say actually, just a regular Monster Squad trailer with Inception-like BOOONGS edited in. But if you like Monster Squad (which I do) and if you like BOOONGS (which I do), you may like this. BOOONGS don't make everything better, but they don't hurt either.

I actually think if they really did do an honest, modern take on this today (as in what if they were really editing the trailer now), either it would be more like Scary Movie 16, heavy on Wolfman fart jokes and the Creature shouting, "DAAAAMN!" or like a Rob Schneider movie, "Sean Crenshaw was just your average teenage boy until one day..."

We live in a golden age.

C2E2 Day 3: The Smirk Knight Returns

Not much happened Day 3 for me at C2E2, I spent a third of it standing in line for R.L. Stine. I mostly hunted down T-shirts and squeezed down aisles that were a little less squeezable on Saturday. It's basically my victory lap, and for that I smirk.

Gandalf
R.L. Stine had a pretty good team managing his autograph line. No one passed.
Goosebumps
After waiting an hour for my Goosebumps signature, I was very excited as you can see. Also, Mr. Stine had no interest in my thoughts on werewolf reproduction.
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C2E2 Day 2: Behold the Cute Face!

To counteract the terror and awkwardness of Day 1's O-Face, I unleashed my cute face. This is my boy model face, and would work great if I was either A) a young boy or B) a model.

Weeping Angels
Even Weeping Angels shrink away at the might of my cute face!
Big Daddy
Drills cannot stop this face! (You can't see it but Big Daddy's drill was really spinning)
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C2E2 2013 Day 1: C2E2 vs My O-Face

Last year, I smirked my way through the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo, and this year I tried something different.

The Thing
Big Wolfie is very excited. Tiny Thing less so.

That's right I went with my O-Face! This is the same face I use when given gifts or blocks of cheese or blocks of cheese as gifts. This is the face I use when my singing group has a big audition and I have to take caffeine pills to practice. This is supposed to be my most excitable, most Muppet-like expression.

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