How Did Critics React to Back to the Future's 2015?

We dig into the archives for a glimpse at what critics thought of our Future.

by | October 20, 2015 | Comments


Oct. 21, 2015 is nigh upon us, and many of the innovations imagined  in Back to the Future Part II — from tablet computers to video conferencing — have come to pass. Sure, not every prediction came true; Jaws 19 has yet to be released, teenagers aren’t pulling their pants pockets inside out, and the Cubs still haven’t won the World Series (though they’re in the National League Championship Series at the moment). We couldn’t help but wonder: what did film critics of 1989 think of the futuristic Hill Valley? We dug deep into the archives to find out.



“The different visions of alternate times and realities are imaginatively staged with intricate sets and slick visual techniques. The best of them is a Hill Valley dominated by Biff, who has used his ill-gotten information about the outcome of sporting events to amass a fortune. He’s become a nightmarish (more nightmarish?) version of Donald Trump, converting the town into a neon-lit casino town ruled by greed and power.” — Gary Thompson, Philadelphia Daily News, Nov. 22, 1989



“I also liked the portrait of what 2015 might be like; among other predictable things, Jaws 19 is playing at the local movie theater.” — David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor, Dec. 4, 1989



The future brings a Black & Decker hydrator oven that in seconds turns a three-inch disk into a hubcap-size pizza, and A.T.& T. provides video phone calls complete with vital statistics about the person who’s calling.” — Janet Maslin, New York Times, Nov. 22, 1989



“A theme-park-like future awaits. Conceived by an army of set designers, special effects wizards and costumers, the suburban paradise of 1985 California has become a popsicle-colored landscape filled with mellow moppets and refugees from the post-apocalypse of The Road Warrior. Don’t worry, you can still pick up your USA Today on any street corner.” — Rita Kempley, Washington Post, Nov. 22, 1989


“From the standpoint of the preview audience, the neatest thing about Back to the Future Part II are those super-bad future-shoes worn by Michael J. Fox when he drops in on his hometown in the year 2015. The crowd gasped in admiration at the way these high-tops fastened themselves in a WHOOSH around Fox`s ankles.” — Candice Russell, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Nov. 22, 1989



“[This] version of the future promises power shoelaces, dust-repellent paper, ’80s nostalgia, and no lawyers.” — Ira Robbins, Entertainment Weekly, May 25, 1990



“When Marty hops aboard a skateboard ‘hovercraft’ for a zany futuristic reprise of the famous chase scene from the first film, it works as both self-spoofery and imaginative invention.” — Chris Hicks, The Deseret News, Nov. 24, 1989



“The picture begins brightly enough, with a visit to a typical suburb of 2015 where things seem just as mindless and superficial as they did in 30 years earlier, although now the Cubs have won the World Series.” — Dave Kehr, Chicago Tribune, Nov. 22, 1989



“Among the collection of futuristic fad-gadgets (airborne skateboards, clothes that blow-dry themselves), look for a hydratable mini-pizza from a well-known chain, a new improved (and M.J. Fox-sponsored) soft drink and an equally famous running shoe that tightens itself (‘I want a pair of those shoes,’ said a moviegoer at a sneak screening).” — Desson Thomson, Washington Post, Nov. 24, 1989



“At the same time there’s also quite a strong undercurrent of bleakness. The shopping mall Consumerville of 2015 — all video screens, holograms and a middle-aged Marty being fired by his Japanese boss — is hardly enviable for all its hi-tech trimmings.” — Tom Tunney, Empire Magazine, August 1990

And here’s a look back at what lengths we had to go to in order to catch a movie in 1989:


Back to the Future, Part II tells a complicated tale, sections of which will be virtually incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t watched (or doesn’t remember) Part I. If you’re in that unfortunate category and you have any intention of seeing the new movie, go immediately to your favorite video store and rent the original. If you don’t have a VCR, I hope you saw the broadcast of Back to the Future on NBC last Friday. (If you missed that broadcast and don’t have access to a VCR, your best bet is to find a time machine, set the dial for 1985, and see the first film there.)” — Jay Boyar, Orlando Sentinel, Nov. 22, 1989

  • Arsene Kuri

    I like the last one 😀

    • DanOne

      Yeah that’s so funny. It’s like dude just stream it.

      • Arsene Kuri

        Yeah 😀

  • William Gates


  • Sam Mills

    Great article! Even though not all the predictions came true, the film is still relevant. The “Back to the Future” films exists in a different universe than our own. Even within the film, there are alternate realities. It stands to reason that we exist in a reality where the inventor of the flying car was never born.

  • Skaught

    I find it funny that people think this movie was trying to predict the future. Everything in it is either a joke about the ’80s, a joke about the ideas we had of the future in the ’80s, or a joke about the original film. Even the filmmakers said they intentionally tried to steer clear of making actual predictions because the movie wouldn’t stand the test of time.

    So yes, there is a wave of ’80s nostalgia going on, for example, but that’s not why they put that stuff in the film. They put it in there to mock people, that the things we found so innovative then would be long gone in 30 years.

    • Stop reading comments now. I agree with this one and I’m never wrong. You saved me 30 minutes and argued my point better than I was going to anyway. So, thanks two times. This post only took me 4 minutes.

  • Alex

    hello, im from the future… 2025

Tag Cloud

TCM Marvel Television VICE crime thriller news Universal Arrowverse Netflix teaser Certified Fresh 007 docudrama WGN New York Comic Con Interview theme song stoner Sundance E3 Sci-Fi SundanceTV cops james bond Calendar video concert Marvel Studios asian-american 2017 japanese Pride Month anime BBC TCA Polls and Games Musical elevated horror romance Musicals based on movie cinemax parents psychological thriller DirecTV true crime classics Shudder toronto satire Captain marvel RT History FXX Disney streaming service CBS All Access The Academy GoT politics werewolf what to watch IFC boxing YouTube Red First Look Disney Plus TNT Disney+ Disney Plus Thanksgiving Food Network doctor who Netflix Christmas movies quibi FX on Hulu documentaries Ovation stop motion series archives cats Watching Series Apple TV+ TV renewals Warner Bros. Opinion green book witnail Nat Geo Cosplay Nickelodeon PBS Extras hollywood zero dark thirty Holidays Shondaland WarnerMedia rotten movies we love Chernobyl Sony Pictures deadpool BAFTA romantic comedy latino Sneak Peek NBC Spike Holiday Grammys twilight australia Classic Film cults Trivia cancelled television YouTube Awards Tour die hard dc VOD Martial Arts Mary Tyler Moore Action Pixar spy thriller kids Horror Spring TV crime drama FX Crackle venice Travel Channel justice league CBS Election Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Amazon Prime Video adaptation Rocketman boxoffice ghosts Oscars Fox News FOX technology Television Academy strong female leads period drama Disney composers Sundance Now batman comic books disaster 24 frames nfl halloween Columbia Pictures Kids & Family directors mockumentary jamie lee curtis singing competition Mystery fast and furious binge 21st Century Fox X-Men Ghostbusters foreign sequels revenge book streaming stand-up comedy Western italian 2020 franchise DC streaming service Academy Awards Lionsgate talk show The Arrangement TV cancelled TV series Apple Lucasfilm National Geographic Disney Channel Christmas Hulu zombie Logo sitcom Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Turner comedies Women's History Month BBC One indiana jones Countdown Mary Poppins Returns Television Critics Association children's TV black spanish Turner Classic Movies rotten dragons Mindy Kaling Endgame worst Pop zombies DGA Cartoon Network AMC Bravo PlayStation Apple TV Plus child's play Rock finale 2015 science fiction Anna Paquin Elton John 72 Emmy Awards breaking bad Biopics space Peacock Song of Ice and Fire Stephen King NYCC historical drama PaleyFest BBC America SXSW 45 natural history SDCC aliens Nominations animated Black Mirror ESPN TLC indie richard e. Grant french Summer Fall TV Esquire Music MCU BET Awards laika universal monsters Superheroe spanish language Lifetime Trailer Quiz comiccon USA reboot harry potter GLAAD Black History Month TCA Winter 2020 ITV game show Super Bowl OWN blockbuster Paramount Network Family films Crunchyroll Syfy canceled Lifetime Christmas movies rt archives Vudu television tv talk free movies VH1 Tubi HBO Go golden globes 71st Emmy Awards travel Reality slashers dogs Pop TV ratings Epix Amazon Prime Winners political drama The Purge joker A24 First Reviews Comedy Central Heroines President The Witch History Baby Yoda name the review dark movies San Diego Comic-Con Premiere Dates Writers Guild of America DC Comics unscripted 2018 HBO CW Seed Avengers 20th Century Fox Photos ABC Family adventure halloween tv remakes award winner MTV video on demand a nightmare on elm street chucky sports Drama all-time Mudbound Adult Swim Tomatazos supernatural TIFF LGBTQ E! Cannes Teen robots Brie Larson Awards best MSNBC TBS game of thrones 99% American Society of Cinematographers crime Showtime CMT Amazon Studios spain TCA 2017 blaxploitation Rom-Com anthology mission: impossible thriller The Walking Dead Film Festival worst movies Pet Sematary Marvel comic police drama canceled TV shows obituary 2016 Spectrum Originals medical drama Hallmark Christmas movies diversity OneApp football dramedy The CW Star Wars BET Britbox Creative Arts Emmys Comedy Country christmas movies Mary poppins Comic Book Comics on TV ABC cars LGBT Alien comics ID Best and Worst Red Carpet Reality Competition criterion sequel HBO Max Toys festival spider-man Emmys Trophy Talk Paramount miniseries superhero movie IFC Films CNN biography Dark Horse Comics DC Universe psycho Valentine's Day Ellie Kemper renewed TV shows Hear Us Out Fantasy 2019 cancelled fresh casting versus transformers nature south america Marathons Infographic nbcuniversal Star Trek RT21 dceu sag awards Acorn TV Funimation YA reviews Emmy Nominations Animation emmy awards Sundance TV Pirates A&E USA Network cartoon hist toy story screenings Winter TV critics war vampires scary movies Walt Disney Pictures YouTube Premium Box Office Character Guide Year in Review crossover hispanic Rocky Freeform discovery facebook mutant Tumblr Tarantino Film APB screen actors guild Binge Guide independent GIFs Masterpiece El Rey serial killer cancelled TV shows documentary See It Skip It TCA Awards Superheroes festivals Starz TV Land spinoff Hallmark Set visit Amazon Schedule 4/20 Video Games Fox Searchlight Podcast social media Discovery Channel scorecard TruTV cooking