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

posted by Dangeresque on - last edited - Viewed by 7.1K 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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  • @FaMzNeSS said: Actually, I remember why I thought this would ring true in Back to the Future Logic. It's the same logic that when Doc, Marty and Jennifer travel to the future, Marty and Jennifer still exist in an uninterrupted timeline.

    Basically, there was no surefire way they would have returned back to 1985 to continue on with their "normal" lives, however... they still existed in the future. In theory, since they departed from 1985 and hadn't returned yet their future selves wouldn't exist because they hadn't yet returned to 1985 to restore the timeline.


    I don't understand what you're saying here.

    Also, I know that the BTTF DVD FAQ posits that time traveling into the future takes you to a future based precisely on events only leading up to the point that you left. I really don't like this idea because it suggests that every variable choice made by everything and everyone everywhere in the universe during the intervening years can be easily calculated based on past events without any statistical error. I also don't like for an FAQ on a DVD to be considered as irrefutable fact and the basis for all things explainable in BTTF science. As I recall the FAQ itself even says something to the effect that the answers it gives are only some possible explanations posited and not to be considered as absolute truth.

    Anyway, regarding the future-of-the-exact-point-that-you-left idea. I posted my thoughts on this earlier in the thread:

    @FaMzNeSS said: 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.

    @FaMzNeSS 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.



    So basically, my thoughts are that when Doc goes to the future by himself, he finds a future in which Marty and Jen are there but Doc's other self is not. When he goes back in time, he is altering the past by taking Marty and Jen, so the Marty and Jen seen from the point that Doc shows up at the BTTF1's end/BTTF2's start are not the original versions of themselves.

  • I really don't think the time continuum makes assumptions. It's more like the time continuum plays out the events that would have happened after the time traveler left, and where the time traveler ends up, that would be their end result.

    @Chyron8472 said: 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.

    While I understand what you're saying, that also is flawed. Think about it like this.

    When Marty travels back to 1885 from 1955, he does so because of the Tombstone and seeing as how Doc was murdered. Now, when Marty went back in time, he altered the past and the Tombstone was then Blank, and then the tombstone disappeared. This, in itself, caused a paradox in which Marty should have no longer been in 1885 because the tombstone was no longer present, Doc wasn't murdered, and he had no real reason to return to 1885.

    It seems as though, at certain points, BTTF time travelers live outside of the 4th dimension's logic and reasoning. And, if you think of time like a river, then there are some events that won't necessarily alter future events to the point where a paradox would occur.

    I think, when Marty and Jennifer went to 2015, the time continuum did change, however with their pre-determined chain of events, the time continuum "knew" (for better lack of a term) that they would eventually return to 1985 and the future timeline wouldn't be interrupted. Hence why they could be in two places at the same time. Now, if 1985 Marty were to die in a horrible accident while visiting the future, a paradox would occur and the future would be erased.

    So, it appears that one can travel to the future, a future where they still exist, so long as they do not do anything to endanger themselves to the point where they may alter the future, or risk not returning to the "present" at all.

  • @Chyron8472 said: So basically, my thoughts are that when Doc goes to the future by himself, he finds a future in which Marty and Jen are there but Doc's other self is not.

    So, then why are 2015 Marty and Jennifer there when 1985 Marty and Jennifer go to the future? If future selves can exist when past/present selves visit the future, shouldn't a 2015 Doc be around, too (assuming he would still be alive, and even if he isn't, then in a grave somewhere), on his first future visit? Or am I just misunderstanding you? Because if 2015 Doc isn't there, then when 1985 Doc goes back to 2015 with Marty and Jennifer shouldn't there be two 1985 Docs there? And wouldn't Doc essentially be taking Marty and Jennifer into a "recording" of what he saw when he visited the first time? :confused:

    It seems to me that the only way to account for both past/present selves and future selves to exist in the future simultaneously is the time ripple effect. If 1985 Marty, Doc and Jennifer were to stay in the future for more than the day they were there, their future selves would eventually disappear, but not immediately disappear.

    I lean more towards the 2015 visited by 1985 M/D/J being the actual future, rather than some projection, which I think is what you're saying, right? But that doesn't mean it still can't be changed, just as 1985 is changed by visiting 1955 (since 1985 is 1955's future).

    I'm sure I have something wrong in here. You seem to have a much better grasp on the logic of all this than I do, so please correct me. 2015 is by far the most confounding part of the trilogy, mainly because Gale and Zemeckis seem to have thrown several different theories about future time travel together which don't exactly jibe with each other. Figuring it all out is challenging, but fun. :)

    @Chyron8472 said: So, it appears that one can travel to the future, a future where they still exist, so long as they do not do anything to endanger themselves to the point where they may alter the future, or risk not returning to the "present" at all.

    Exactly. Which is why Old Biff disappears immediately upon returning to the future, but 2015 Marty and Jennifer don't disappear immediately just because 1985 Marty and Jennifer are there.

  • @Mark
    I wasn't saying that the 2015 future is a projection, I was saying that certain other people, including the BTTF DVD FAQ, seem to say that it is and I disagree (which is why I would rather BTTF science stood on it's own feet rather than being answered by an FAQ that itself says not to be considered as fact.)
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    @FaM
    Now that you say so, it would perhaps make sense to say that the future Marty/Jennifer are there because the ripple effect of them leaving hasn't caught up yet.


    Also, I always thought the tombstone disappearing was a major paradox. The only way around it would have been if Marty and 1955 Doc had gone to the library without having seem the tombstone, and Marty had seen himself in the clock photo which would tell him he's supposed to go to 1885 anyway... but then he would have gone back without the tombstone photo and caused other paradoxes since their primary motivation to leave 1885 as quickly as they did was because of it.

  • @Chyron8472 said: @Mark
    I wasn't saying that the 2015 future is a projection, I was saying that certain other people, including the BTTF DVD FAQ, seem to say that it is and I disagree (which is why I would rather BTTF science stood on it's own feet rather than being answered by an FAQ that itself says not to be considered as fact.)

    I didn't say I thought you said 2015 was a projection. I agree with you that the 2015 visited is the "actual" 2015. I got confused because you said there would be no 2015 Doc in 2015 when 1985 Doc visits for the first time. But when Marty and Jennifer visit, 2015 Marty and Jennifer are there. Those two statements are mutually exclusive. Either 2015 Doc has to be there when 1985 Doc visits the first time, or 2015 M & J shouldn't be there when 1985 M & J visit. Otherwise, the 2015 that Doc takes M & J to is essentially a "projection".

  • Well, I hadn't previously considered (nor was it previously discussed) prior to you saying so, that if 1985 Marty had been in 2015 for too long that the ripple effect would catch up and remove his future self. It does make a certain amount of sense.


    Previous discussion on the thread had us talking about the mechanics of how the BTTF time-continuum works (eg. a 5th dimension of time in which alternate timelines can be shown, which sometimes intersects with itself so different versions of a person exist at the same time) and someone was saying that 2015 was only a projection of future events based on events leading up to 1985. I disagreed with that, figuring they were only saying that to ensure that the Marty at the end of BTTF3 was always the original version of Marty. I said that it made more sense to say that 1985 Doc created a new 5th dimensional timeline by travelling back in time and bringing 1985 Marty to 2015, and that the original version of Marty was the older 2015 one, while the 1985 Marty seen in BTTF2+3 is another version of himself.

    I think some people take Doc saying "the future hasn't been written yet, noone's has" to a point of saying that 1985 Marty could affect his own destiny by going to the future and learning from mistakes made by a version of himself that doesn't really exist, just so they can say that Marty could change his own destiny without creating another version of himself (in the 5th time dimension) even after seeing first-hand the effects of what it would have been.

    ...Which is to say it sounds like some people try to combine the science of BTTF with the philosophy of BTTF to a point that makes no sense to me.

  • @Chyron8472 said:
    @FaM
    Now that you say so, it would perhaps make sense to say that the future Marty/Jennifer are there because the ripple effect of them leaving hasn't caught up yet.


    Also, I always thought the tombstone disappearing was a major paradox. The only way around it would have been if Marty and 1955 Doc had gone to the library without having seem the tombstone, and Marty had seen himself in the clock photo which would tell him he's supposed to go to 1885 anyway... but then he would have gone back without the tombstone photo and caused other paradoxes since their primary motivation to leave 1885 as quickly as they did was because of it.

    Yeah, I tend to think that sometimes Marty and Doc exist "outside of time" during certain instances, sort of like how you said the ripple hasn't caught up yet. It seems as though if they do something that directly places their existence in jeopardy, such as Marty interrupting his parents meeting, or Biff drastically altering past events, then they aren't affected by the Space-time continuum.

    I think of it like the Buttefly Effect. Back to the future doesn't have the "Buttefly Effect" logic, whereas when the future changes you get flooded with the memories that you didn't directly experience. In the morning of October 26th, 1985, Marty walks from his bedroom and is in shock at how much things have changed. He'll probably have to adjust to a brand new History that he never personally experienced before. But if he were to travel back in time and shoot George, then he would create a paradox and cease to exist.

  • @Chyron8472 said: Well, I hadn't previously considered (nor was it previously discussed) prior to you saying so, that if 1985 Marty had been in 2015 for too long that the ripple effect would catch up and remove his future self. It does make a certain amount of sense.


    Previous discussion on the thread had us talking about the mechanics of how the BTTF time-continuum works (eg. a 5th dimension of time in which alternate timelines can be shown, which sometimes intersects with itself so different versions of a person exist at the same time) and someone was saying that 2015 was only a projection of future events based on events leading up to 1985. I disagreed with that, figuring they were only saying that to ensure that the Marty at the end of BTTF3 was always the original version of Marty. I said that it made more sense to say that 1985 Doc changed the future by bringing 1985 Marty to 2015, and that the original version of Marty was the 2015 one, while the 1985 Marty seen in BTTF2+3 is another version of himself, created from a 5th dimensional branch that started when Doc went to pick him up at the start of BTTF2.

    I think some people take Doc saying "the future hasn't been written yet, noone's has" to a point of saying that 1985 Marty could affect his own destiny by going to the future and learning from mistakes made by a version of himself that doesn't really exist, just so they can say that Marty could change his own destiny without creating another version of himself (in the 5th time dimension) even after seeing first-hand the effects of what it would have been.

    ...Which is to say it sounds like some people try to combine the science of BTTF with the philosophy of BTTF to a point that makes no sense to me.

    If you'll allow that 2015 Doc exists in the future during 1985 Doc's first visit there (because of the ripple effect) then I think we're in complete agreement. :)

  • It seems to me in BttF the only fatal paradox is existential one, like changing your destiny or preventing yourself to be born. Uh... Well... Time travelers in BttF don't seem to be affected very much by the Ripple effect in many terms: for example, Marty doesn't remember his new family, in BttF1, because he's still another Marty (and he never DOES learn anything about his new family through the whole trilogy). Doc in 1885 doesn't remember sending Marty back to 1885, because he's not THAT Doc, and you could think that with Doc Brown from 1955 who sent Marty back in 1855 living for so long would make the ripple effect catch up with things.

    On the other hand, Marty gets erased when he prevented himself from being born, Biff gets erased when he changed his destiny, and I guess that if Marty would've got rid of his 'chicken' berserk button in 2015, the future Marty would collapse right in place and some stuff around could change.

    It seems to me there doesn't exist 'no reason to go somewhere' paradox in BttF, because time travellers are not affected by that.

  • @Farlander said: Doc in 1885 doesn't remember sending Marty back to 1885, because he's not THAT Doc, and you could think that with Doc Brown from 1955 who sent Marty back in 1855 living for so long would make the ripple effect catch up with things.

    It's funny you mention this, as the BTTF III novelisation (from memory) has Doc apologising for dressing Marty in his cartoony cowboy outfit, but only after Marty helps him 'remember'.

    I just went searching Google for this line, and discovered that I was having a very similar discussion about this topic on the BTTF forum... seven years ago. Heavy.

    http://www.bttf.com/forums/topic.php?tp=18283-what+idiot+dressed+you+like+that

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