Part II Minute 38 – Narrative Paradox

Part 2 Minute-00038

Jennifer passes out and Biff returns the DeLorean in a cold sweat.

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3 thoughts on “Part II Minute 38 – Narrative Paradox

  1. In the first movie, Marty had a full week to correct his mistake of preventing his existence before he was erased. Back to the Future would have been a very short movie if Marty got hit by the car, and disappeared a minute after George ran away.

    Two theories for why this is: Theory One: When Doc and Marty take an action to change the course of their timeline, (they can’t simply decide to intend to take a course of action to change the future, they have to physically DO something) they usually have to wait a moment or two for their evidence that timeline change has been secured to manifest, be it a change to photo, newspaper, or matchbook. It could be that living people are more resistant to that change that non-living objects. A picture will change register a change rather quickly, a person will take much longer. Dave and Linda both disappeared from their photo incrementally.

    Theory Two: Maybe it’s the universe’s self-defense mechanism to save itself from a paradox. The moment Marty saved his father from getting hit by the car, he erased his own existence, and was both living and dead. The source of the paradox has a grace period before the timeline must be decided one way or the other.

    Biff gave his younger self the key to unlimited riches, but also put himself at risk of dying at an earlier date. He was no longer wearing a sweat suit and working with his hands in 1985. He was living the fast life, up to his gold necklaces in steak, booze, and hookers. So when Biff returned, he may have set up a similar paradox as Marty: his own actions caused his life to end at an earlier point. This paradox allowed Biff to stay in his own timeline long enough to fatally wound himself with his cane, which excluded the possibility of Biff changing the timeline back, and let the Hell Valley timeline take over.

    The question from an earlier minute about whether old Marty would remember his earlier trip to 2015 is a good one. Because if he did, his call with Needles would have gone very differently. “All my financial problems? Needles, I’m a rich man! All my bets on the Cubs winning the world series just put me on easy street for life! I was just about to call The Jits to quit! See ya around, Needles! Bye!”

  2. I would defend Bob Gale in that he was working on the shaky foundation of the first movie’s time travel rules. The first Back to the Future — this is going to sound weird — isn’t so much a time travel movie as an action/love story/adventure movie. The only sci-fi rule it needed was that if Marty’s parents didn’t fall in love, Marty would disappear. Part II is ALL ABOUT time travel and branching timelines and paradoxes. The simple time travel setup in Part I now has to support reversals and doubles and back-and-forth action. It’s just not built for it.

    In the first movie, time travel felt like a vehicle for the conflicts of the film (Marty’s parents need to get back together). In Part II, time travel IS the conflict (we need to get rid of the Biff-horrific timeline).

  3. One thing that I thought was kind of funny was that in one of the deleted scenes, they show the family reacting to finding Jennifer passed out in the doorway, and Marty remarks something about how “Jesus, is she tranq’d again?” or something like that.

    (Oh, man, it was in the paradox draft again! What the heck is with these deleted scenes originating from paradox draft?)

    UGH, Old-Jennifer’s hair is triangular and stupid.

    Another thing that bothers me is the whole “I’M YOUNG!” “I’M OLD!” and then they pass out. I mean, couldn’t they have shouted something else?

    Either Biff’s cane has been through a lot of abuse (if he was bashing everybody on the head), or Biff was still super-strong, even in his 70s.

    The only idea that I’ve got about the fact that Biff shouldn’t have been able to return the DeLorean is because the future ripples instead of snaps, if that makes any sense. Remember how Marty accidentally got hit by his grandpa’s car, and he was nursed to health instead and it interfered with his parents meeting? He was given time to correct the mistake instead of immediately getting erased from existence. The same thing presumably goes for Biff. He was given the chance to go back in time to fix his mistake (giving his younger self the almanac), but because he didn’t, the ripple effect hit him in 2015 and killed him off, and Hilldale ended up being that same slum in 2015 as it did in the revised-timeline, post-Part-1.

    Even the comic addresses this idea — Doc goes to talk to his 1985A self just before he meets up with Marty in the cemetery, and he finds out that there’s a paradox in progress, and if he doesn’t fix the paradox, things could be completely destroyed. There’s another bit about that encounter that I won’t spoil because holy shit, I was floored when I saw it, but it was really important.

    As weird as this is going to sound, I didn’t realize that this was foreshadowing the DeLorean getting destroyed? I always figured it was just Doc stating his intention to destroy it, and then oh, hey, oops, it gets destroyed at the end of the trilogy. I think if I were the one trying to foreshadow its destruction, I would’ve had Einstein hesitant to get in the car because he can sort of doggy-sense that something’s going to happen to it. Either that, or Doc gets a funny feeling about it. Then again, I’m not known for foreshadowing intentionally. ^^;

    Omggggg, Scott Tofte mentioning a Doc/Marty romance, hahahhahahaha! Scott Tofte, you’re so adorable.

    AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAA, “you never touch me like you used to” *dies*

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