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Movie plotholes/ The only thing that doesn't add up

posted by Dangeresque on - last edited - Viewed by 7.7K users

This is the greatest trilogy ever made (i dont consider the godfather a trilogy cause 3 sucked). everything in this movie was well thought out, all the events and the going back and forth were perfect (especially if you watch them around 15 times each and pick up all the small details :p )

the only thing that think didnt add up in this movie was the fact that Marty's parents doent remember him. i mean sure its 30 years later (speaking of the 1st movie) but even if for only a week he was still a huge influence in both their lives right? when he started getting older wouldnt they start saying, hey wait a minute, this guy looks really familiar.

Worse yet wouldn't george suspect loraine of cheating on her with marty? i mean calvin marty in the late 60s?

just a stupid point. it might make no sence but its something that popped to my head and figure i'd share it. of course dont mean no offence to the trilogy

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  • That would mean that the time-continuum makes a lot of assumptions about various future events along the way. Throughout time a lot of seemingly minor events can coalesce together to create a major turn of events. In Jurassic Park, Ian Malcolm says "A butterfly can flap its wings in Peking and in Central Park you get rain instead of sunshine." When you change one thing, it has the capacity to change something else, which can change something else... there are a lot of assumptions to make about "the most likely outcome of events" and as the time-continuum itself is neither sentient nor capable of computing probability algorithms, I don't understand how it could be able to intelligently assume which choices over time would be the more likely to occur.

    It sounds like you're saying that the time-continuum is capable of playing a highly elaborate guessing game. If this were true how does it assume that flying cars are practical to research and develop? How does it know which car companies would build which cars? If this were possible, would it then also be that if Doc had successfully finished the time-machine in 1955, if he travelled forward from then that the continuum's assumptions of the future he would see would be more like The Jetsons? What would the continuum assume the future would be like if someone travelled forward to 9999 A.D. using only probabilities known at 1985? How can the continuum possibly assume anything at all with so little information? The only reasonable answer at the very least pushes BTTF's interpretation of the future into the realm of intelligent design theory, which is another way of saying that Doc went forward to 2015 to witness God's Will for the universe before it actually happens. I never thought of the BTTF movies as touching on matters of spirituality, so it doesn't really fit.

    Plus, how does the continuum itself decide what the "present" is? When Doc goes to 2015, since he is the first to visit it, his present at that time becomes 2015 and going back to 1985 then changes the past as he then knows it. It would be the same as if Doc had been cryogenically frozen for 30 years, reanimated and then time-travelled back to 1985. Doc travelling forward in time from 1985 to 2015 for the first time forces the continuum to lay out events, such that when Doc reaches 2015 they no longer will happen but already have happened.

    To say that Doc can visit a future that doesn't really exist yet, or merely a "projected destiny" as you put it, is to say that the time-continuum only becomes set as quickly as it takes for the fourth-dimension to march forward in time; that at the time of BTTF, whatever exists before 1985 is set and events that come afterward are only "projected" or "assumed" by the continuum even when someone goes into the future and gains significant amounts of experiences there; and that the continuum itself is capable of making intelligent choices however extraordinarily large or infinitesimally small, and is able to do so many millenia far into the future of what is considered the present, with incredibly little data to base such projections on.

  • @Lee Powell said: Marty0 has not yet lived beyond 1985, and that projected destiny will not become reality until he actually lives through those experiences. Up until that moment arrives, any number of unprecedented events may occur that have the potential to alter destiny dramatically.

    In short, Doc1 does not "know" what will happen to Marty0 and his son in 2015, he has only seen an extrapolated projection that he is convinced will become reality unless he takes drastic steps to intercept crucial events that precipitate it. If the future were in fact preordained, Doc1 would have seen a preview of his own successfully bungled attempt to thwart the dire fate of Marty's son, and the lurid newspaper reports would have always shown the arrest of Griff's gang. Doc1 would then know that it was his own preordained destiny to retrieve Marty0 from 1985 and faithfully reenact the future events he has already witnessed.


    I never said BTTF should follow the mechanics of predestination. What I'm saying is that the future isn't written yet unless someone already knows what it is. When someone time-travels into the future for the first time, they essentially are removed from the fourth dimension until the continuum catches up to where their destination is. When they arrive, that future then can be considered their present. Then, if they return to the previous time they came from, variations in the timeline that occur as a result of their actions overwrite the events that were recorded on the timeline previously.

    Einstein at the beginning of BTTF1 skipped forward in time and when he reappeared no second Einstein was there. Also, when Doc went to 2015 at the end of BTTF1, I believe he also appeared in a 2015 where no other Doc was there because the time-continuum recorded events that occurred in his absence. Those recorded events remained until events in that 2015's past were altered. So when Marty, Doc and Jennifer went to 2015, it was the 2015 that had no other Doc. If Marty and Doc had gone together to 2015 first, the future would have been laid out without either of them just as it was laid out for one minute with no Einstein at the beginning of BTTF1.

    I understand that the message Doc gives at the end of BTTF3 is "the future is whatever you make it" and "your future hasn't been written yet, no one's has," but just because Doc says these things to Marty to encourage him, it doesn't mean that the time-continuum has to agree.

    And I know you really really want the Marty at the end of BTTF3 to be the one original Marty0, but it just doesn't make sense for him to be. By the nature of being able to witness his own future first-hand, it means he can't be the first ever Marty since he never makes that choice. He essentially is learning from a mistake someone else already made... and that someone else is himself, only a previous version that has already made the choice.

  • Doc0 - builds the time machine on his own and gets shot in 1985.
    Doc1 - this version sent Marty to 1985 from 1955 in BTTF1 and survives getting shot. All future versions also survive getting shot. Dies in 1885 after getting shot.
    Doc2 - 1955 Doc in BTTF2. Interacts with Marty1 in 1955 after Marty0 leaves. Meets Marty in 1885 and saves Clara1 from dying.

    As far as I see it, it's Doc1 in BTTF3 with whom Marty interacts in 1885 - Marty returns to the point in time when Doc1 HASN'T been killed yet, sent back by Doc2. That's why Doc1 is a bit angry that Marty's there and is shocked by the revelation of his future death - he doesn't remember doing all those things Doc2 did (finding Doc1's grave, sending Marty to 1885) because he actually never did them.

  • @Chyron8472 said:
    [QUOTE=Lee Powell]If we take this message seriously, it means that what Doc1 saw in his first visit to 2015 is not the preordained fate of Marty0. It is only a projection of his destiny extrapolated from the moment Doc1 left 1985.


    That would mean that the time-continuum makes a lot of assumptions about various future events along the way...

    It sounds like you're saying that the time-continuum is capable of playing a highly elaborate guessing game...

    The only reasonable answer at the very least pushes BTTF's interpretation of the future into the realm of intelligent design theory, which is another way of saying that Doc went forward to 2015 to witness God's Will for the universe before it actually happens.[/QUOTE]
    BTTF's concept of destiny does indeed touch on spiritual issues, but I think the mechanism of its projected destiny can find a prosaic explanation within the two-dimensional timescape theory I'm using to model it.

    An important point I may not have made clear is that it is not Doc's invention of the time machine that brings the second axis of time into existence. For it to be consistent with BTTF, the two-dimenional timescape would have been present all along. Moreover, the timeline of the universe would have been steadily evolving since long before Doc and Marty began tweaking it in unprecedented ways.

    There's even a plausible physical cause for the timeline of the universe to gradually evolve across a second time axis. On a subatomic level, electron-positron pairs have often been observed following paths that collide and annihilate both particles. In 1940, physicists John Wheeler and Richard Feynman proposed a theory that these subatomic collisions could in fact be reinterpreted as a single electron that at a certain point transformed itself into a positron, and preceded to move backward in time! This time reversal interpretation is nowadays accepted as completely equivalent to modern theories of subatomic interaction. A more detailed description can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retrocausality#Antimatter

    Since positrons are extremely rare compared to electrons, the degree their reverse trajectories could potentially alter the past would be quite limited. Nevertheless, their cumulative effect could result in a gradual evolution of the subatomic history of the universe. If these microscopic alterations were recorded across an axis perpendicular to the timeline of the universe, it would generate that second dimension of time. We could regard the DeLorean as producing the same type of effects, but on an enormously magnified macroscopic scale that produces much more dramatic alterations in the evolution of the timeline.

    Given a two-dimensional timescape, the events of the past of the current timeline are not the only source of information available for projecting destiny into the future from a point in the present. The evolution of the entire timeline is contained in the past of the second time dimension, and it would serve as the starting point for that projection. There would be no "guessing" or "intelligent design" involved, it would simply be a mechanical process of rippling the differences between the current timeline and the previous into the future.

    This model is the foundation of my claim that the aged version of Marty in the projected destiny of 2015 was not Marty0, but was instead the last of his predecessors who failed to avoid the fateful traffic accident (which I described as a procession of "negative-numbered" Marty's). It was simply the latest version of the timeline that had evolved up to that point in Marty's destiny. By being the first of his kind to avoid the accident, Marty0 committed an unprecedented act that caused a dramatic change in his destiny, consigning his previous default destiny into the past history of the evolution of the timeline itself.

  • @Chyron8472 said: I never said BTTF should follow the mechanics of predestination. What I'm saying is that the future isn't written yet unless someone already knows what it is. When someone time-travels into the future for the first time, they essentially are removed from the fourth dimension until the continuum catches up to where their destination is. When they arrive, that future then can be considered their present. Then, if they return to the previous time they came from, variations in the timeline that occur as a result of their actions overwrite the events that were recorded on the timeline previously.

    Einstein at the beginning of BTTF1 skipped forward in time and when he reappeared no second Einstein was there. Also, when Doc went to 2015 at the end of BTTF1, I believe he also appeared in a 2015 where no other Doc was there because the time-continuum recorded events that occurred in his absence. Those recorded events remained until events in that 2015's past were altered.


    While I wouldn't call this theory implausible or inconsistent, I think it describes a different world than the one the screenwriters depicted and commented on in the BTTF trilogy DVD.

    The reason there aren't two Einstein's is because we're not viewing a projection of the future, we're seeing the reality of the present in real-time along with the protagonist, Marty0. In addition, Einstein's trip was completely unprecedented and would not have been part of any projected destiny up until the point when it actually occurred in Doc0's timeline.

    As for there being no Doc in 2015 because he was absent up until he appeared in the DeLorean, this is an apparent paradox that the screenwriters discussed in the DVD FAQ. They resolved it with their explanation of travel to the future as witnessing only a projected destiny, rather than actual preordained events.

    @Chyron8472 said: By the nature of being able to witness his own future first-hand, it means [Marty0] can't be the first ever Marty since he never makes that choice. He essentially is learning from a mistake someone else already made... and that someone else is himself, only a previous version that has already made the choice.
    As you can see from my previous post, I'd agree completely with this statement. However, I think my explanation of "negative-numbered" Marty's is consistent and adheres to the intent of the screenwriters more faithfully than your claim that Marty0 was fated to fail and be replaced by a subsequent Marty at some point in the trilogy.

  • I still say it's a big guessing game for the space-time continuum to predict in advance where everyone and everything in the universe will be and exactly what choices they will make no matter how small and before certain beings or generations of their ancestors even exist yet, which leaves extrapolations on their predispositions toward certain choices left entirely to genetic probabilities and blind luck.

    I'm not trying to fit the BTTF universe into a box that the screenwriters say they may have originally intended. To be honest, I don't think the screenwriters probably put nearly as much thought into the actual science of it as we are.

    What I'm trying to do is to fit the BTTF movies into a concept that makes logical sense on its own merit, and to say that the continuum can intelligently extrapolate past events into years, decades and even millenia worth of predictions before they occur just sounds too far fetched. By that reckoning, whole civilizations of individual people and the new and unforeseen inventions they may create can be extrapolated by the continuum before any of it ever exists or is even thought of. Life itself by its very nature is highly unpredictable, so I don't see how such complex sets of variables could be extrapolated so precisely.

    Further, to be able to predict and anticipate events before they happen suggests intelligence, and I wouldn't think it logical for what can be considered as simply a law of the nature of the universe to be intelligent. No more could you say that a thunderstorm's movements are intelligent. For there to be an intelligent being that created such things, yes. But not attaching intelligence to the laws of time and space themselves.

  • @Chyron8472 said: I never said BTTF should follow the mechanics of predestination. What I'm saying is that the future isn't written yet unless someone already knows what it is. When someone time-travels into the future for the first time, they essentially are removed from the fourth dimension until the continuum catches up to where their destination is. When they arrive, that future then can be considered their present. Then, if they return to the previous time they came from, variations in the timeline that occur as a result of their actions overwrite the events that were recorded on the timeline previously.

    Einstein at the beginning of BTTF1 skipped forward in time and when he reappeared no second Einstein was there. Also, when Doc went to 2015 at the end of BTTF1, I believe he also appeared in a 2015 where no other Doc was there because the time-continuum recorded events that occurred in his absence. Those recorded events remained until events in that 2015's past were altered. So when Marty, Doc and Jennifer went to 2015, it was the 2015 that had no other Doc. If Marty and Doc had gone together to 2015 first, the future would have been laid out without either of them just as it was laid out for one minute with no Einstein at the beginning of BTTF1.

    I understand that the message Doc gives at the end of BTTF3 is "the future is whatever you make it" and "your future hasn't been written yet, no one's has," but just because Doc says these things to Marty to encourage him, it doesn't mean that the time-continuum has to agree.

    And I know you really really want the Marty at the end of BTTF3 to be the one original Marty0, but it just doesn't make sense for him to be. By the nature of being able to witness his own future first-hand, it means he can't be the first ever Marty since he never makes that choice. He essentially is learning from a mistake someone else already made... and that someone else is himself, only a previous version that has already made the choice.

    Just to babble about it...

    marty 0 is the one that had an accident with needle(flea) and never became a rockstar hurting his hand...
    Doc 2 gets after the first movie just in time before he has the accident with jennifer. And also to save his kids, but he should be in a hurry because of martys accident.
    Doc 2 goes to the end of the third movie an says "the future is what you make of it" because the ending of the 3 part sucks!!! jajajjajaa and they had to do it like a disney movie, where everybodys happy... but also because marty didnt race needles

  • I still don't like this "projected destiny" idea.

    In any statistical analysis wherein a sample is used to predict the future decisions of a population, there is a certain level of error to consider as a result of outlying factors. In this case, the further the continuum "projects" into the future, the more the errors taken from the sample will increase and compound on themselves until at some point the projected data is worthless. Basically, if I were able to sample the entire population of the world compounded since the invention of carbonated soft drinks, it would still be useless for me to try to predict the profit margin of specific products that may or may not be developed by the Cola-Cola company in 400 years. It's just too far away in time. So much more difficult would it be for the continuum itself to "project" exactly each and every action taken by each and every life in the universe and how they react with and respond to one another for every second of every day even for a time as close as the next 30 years.

    This also essentially means that a time-traveller from the present would be able go forward into the far future and live an entire life worth of experiences that never really happen because they were based on inaccurately projected data.

    It also would mean that in BTTF2, either the continuum itself is capable of creative inspiration, or that it is God's Will that Pepsi create a product called "Pepsi Perfect" by 2015.


    edit: Now, considering that that sentence, if we were to say that God exists; that He is in control; that "projected destiny" is just another way of defining God's Will for our lives; and the continuum's continuous altering of said projected destiny as the present marches forward in time is a manifestation of how the effects our own free will to define our own destinies have on God's eternal plan... well, then that would completely solve the whole intelligence problem I mentioned and your explanation would then be acceptable.

    Unfortunately, I foresee many people being offended by such a hypothesis, some of which who would say that the concepts of science and God contradict each other, and others who would say that the existence of God is nowhere addressed in BTTF and therefore has no place in such an explanation.

  • @Chyron8472 said: I still say it's a big guessing game for the space-time continuum to predict in advance where everyone and everything in the universe will be and exactly what choices they will make no matter how small and before certain beings or generations of their ancestors even exist yet, which leaves extrapolations on their predispositions toward certain choices left entirely to genetic probabilities and blind luck.


    I'd agree with you on this point if BTTF's concept of projected destiny were simply a linear extrapolation of the present timeline indefinitely into the future. If that were the case, it would inevitably become more and more speculative the farther it extended from known events.

    However, I think it becomes far more conceivable when you consider the implications of a two-dimensional timescape where the entire timeline of the universe is continually evolving. There are then two dimensions of past events to draw upon - past events of the current timeline projected into both past and future events of the preceding timeline. If the preceding timeline is used as a template for the projected destiny of the current timeline, the only mechanism required is not an intelligent one, but simply an updating process comparable to the BTTF "Ripple Effect". The projection would still become increasingly speculative the farther it extended from the present of the current timeline, but instead of being guesswork, it would be based on what actually occurred in preceding timelines.

    What I think would actually occur in a two-dimensional timescape is somewhat more complex. If you pick any temporal starting point, conventional time would immediately begin to elapse in that timeline. As random electrons transformed into positrons and moved backward into the past of that timeline, it would cause the elapsed past of that timeline to evolve into increasingly altered versions sweeping into the second time dimension. But timeline evolution doesn't occur instantaneously, it progresses gradually as we've seen with the BTTF ripple effect. Thus, something like a "diagonal" wavefront of temporal progression would occur across the two-dimensional timescape. Preceding timelines would have developed farther into the future than the current timeline, but the closest of those timelines would only be slighty ahead of the present. This would provide an increasingly speculative foundation for projecting the destiny of the current timeline as you extended it farther into the future.

  • @thesporkman said: No, he wouldn't know, because Doc and Marty (and Old Biff) haven't gone back to 1955 a second time yet.

    but marty told past doc that future doc was in the wild west, so in the new timeline doc should know he will get trapped in 1885, and that he will go to 1955 with marty because marty would of told him

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