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4 incredibly disappointing Back to the Future-inspired products
Mattel excites fans of the '80s films with a plan to manufacture real-life hoverboards. Then it bums them out by revealing that the boards won't actually hover
Mattel will release its a "Back to the Future"-inspired hoverboard (not pictured) by Christmastime. Sadly, the toy will not actually hover.
Mattel will release its a "Back to the Future"-inspired hoverboard (not pictured) by Christmastime. Sadly, the toy will not actually hover.
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ver since 1989's Back to the Future Part II was released, fans have dreamt of owning the film's futuristic gadgets. In the second installment in the trilogy starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd as a teenager and a scientist who travel through time in a flying DeLorean, Fox's Marty McFly travels to 2015, where cars can fly and shoes can lace themselves. One of the most fascinating advancements was the hoverboard, a floating skateboard that McFly rides in a classic chase scene. Toymaker Mattel recently announced that, nearly 25 years after the release of the film, it is manufacturing and releasing a real-life hoverboard. There's just one catch: It doesn't hover. Here, a look at Back to the Future-inspired products that are, ultimately, major letdowns:

1. Hoverboard
In the press release touting its hoverboard (a "high-cost item" that will be ready by Christmastime), Mattel cheekily acknowledges that it "does not actually 'hover' — check back in 2015 for that feature." Instead, the company promises that low-friction pads, similar to those used to move furniture, will allow the board to "glide over most surfaces" and create "multiple whooshing sounds." Here's an idea, says Sean O'Neal at The A.V. Club. Since it doesn't actual hover, "let's just call them 'boards.'"

2. Self-lacing sneakers
In September, Nike caused a stir when it announced that it would release the 2011 Nike MAG, near-exact replicas of the futuristic high tops worn by McFly in Back to the Future Part II. However, unlike in the film, the sneakers do not lace themselves. Though Nike "set nerd hearts aflutter" with the announcement, says Sam Sheffer at The Verge, "we're left disappointed." Basically, "the shoes are lacking their most obviously attractive feature," says O'Neal. But that's not really a dealbreaker, says Casey Chan at Gizmodo. "Everything else about the shoe is as beautiful as when I first fell in love with it." Nike made 1,500 pairs of the sneakers, all of which were auctioned on eBay in September.

3. The DeLorean
A DeLorean DMC-12 that was used in all three installments of the Back to the Future trilogy was auctioned in December, fetching a whopping $541,200. (By comparison, a DeLorean not used in the film is estimated to be worth roughly $30,000.) For that price, says Tim Newcomb at TIME, you'd think the car "actually ran on plutonium." Geoffrey Golden at Crave jokes, "If the buyer regrets paying that much, he can always go back in time and stop the auction from happening." Or not....

4. Flux Capacitor and Mr. Fusion Upgrade
DeLorean owners need look no further than O'Reilly Auto Parts to buy the two key components for turning their cars into time machines: The Flux Capacitor and the Mr. Fusion Upgrade. Unfortunately, says Amanda Kooser at CNET, "there is a buzzkill 'entertainment purposes only' disclaimer in bold print" on the advertisement, dashing dreams of time travel. Still, "I'm just going to ignore that and continue to live in my geeky fantasy world where Back to the Future is a documentary."

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