le 11 juillet 2004
The USS Nimitz, a nuclear aircraft carrier, is on a routine assignment when the civilian systems specialist Warren Lasky (Martin Sheen) is flown to the aircraft carrier. Lasky's job is to evaluate the efficiency of the commander and crew as he should make recommendations in regards to what changes can be done to save tax dollars. Soon after Lasky's arrival Captain Matthew Yelland (Kirk Douglas) is put in a difficult position as the USS Nimitz is pulled into an outlandish electrical storm that relocates the warship in time. Captain Yelland is unsure about what truly has happened, but when they discover that they are in between the Japanese Naval Force that is about to strike at Pearl Harbor on December 6, 1941 they realize they might have a chance to undo history. Final Countdown is an interesting science fiction film that offers some room for thinking, yet it is entertaining as it displays the incredible event of time traveling. An appealing idea together with entertainment, Final Countdown offers a decent cinematic experience, which will stand its ground.
le 19 juin 2004
Since so many reviews are already posted, I'll keep this brief. It's nice to see this film get such an excellent DVD release. This movie is great and has aged quite well. The premise of the Nimitz being thrown back into time and given the opportunity to change the course of world history is an intriuging one even today. The Final Countdown boasts some ofthe best aircraft footage ever caught on film, hollywood or documentary. The scene between the Jolly Rogers F-14's and the 2 Japanese Zero fighters is a timeless classic.
The sound is excellent, the transfer is quite good, and the 2 disc set includes very special bonuses for fans of the F-14, or aviation in general. And the bonus disc interviews the Jolly Rogers squadron that flew in the film, worth it if you are an avaiation fan. If not, you might still enjoy it anyways, as they certainly have an entertaining story about one of the cast members!
Today I watched The Final Countdown (1980). What an amazing time travel adventure.
Martin Sheen plays an efficiency expert sent out to observe on a aircraft carrier. They go through some kind of electrical storm in the middle of the Pacific in 1980, and end up tracking the Japanese invasion force heading for Pearl Harbour, Dec. 6th, 1941. They observe two fighter planes en route that strafe an American yacht carrying a senator, his assistant, and her dog, Charlie. James Farentino plays the carrier's wing commander and rescues the survivors plus one of the pilots they have struck down. The captain is played by Kirk Douglas. The carrier is in a war situation and the top brass on board are unsure as to who their commander-in-chief is. It just might be Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
What ensues is an esoteric debate about how to proceed. The senator, in charge of the senate committee of defence, is also from 1941, and had disappeared just before the attack. What do they do with him? Do they engage in war? What do they tell the crew? When the Japanese prisoner grabs a gun and takes over the sick bay, it complicates everything further. I'm not going to spoil this for you. It's an incredible piece of alternate history science fiction. I absolutely loved it.
le 2 juin 2004
Blue Underground has done a great job with this DVD and has finally given the film the high-definition transfer it has deserved after all these years. The color-correction done to the film makes most scenes look great even compared to today's movies. The soundtrack is flowing, emotional, and has some very memorable tunes. The flying sequences of the F-14s and other aircraft are TOP NOTCH and blow any other movie with jet aviation OUT OF THE WATER (this includes movies with a much larger budget such as Top Gun). Speaking of budget, the only vice of this movie is in the special effects. These are present during the storm sequence. It is mentioned in the commentary that the film crew was out of money at the time and it shows. This caveat will not spoil the film for people that watch a movie for more than special effects. The flying scenes are action-packed and the intriguing time-travel plot is tense.
Due to the film's relative obscurity, it's a great movie to show to friends that have likely not seen it. It can be a hit even with people that have no special interest in time-travel nor aviation. The next time you have some friends over, show them this DVD and enjoy a great discussion about the possibilities that are presented in the movie. If anyone would like to further discuss the film, go here: [...]
le 5 mai 2004
Twenty-four years ago I saw this movie while a member of the armed forces. As a fan of the old Irwin Allen Time Tunnel series I was intrigued with how the movie portrayed the situation with the Nimitz.
What I haven't seen mentioned is the book by Martin Caidin that added details to the movie that the producers didn't think about. I think that any serious fan of the movie should read the book and then watch the new DVD. I will add one incident from the book where the Japanese pilot's reactions to the F-14s initial onslaught are recorded. He talks about this being the first time he has ever heard the engine of another aircraft inside his aircraft.
Hopefully if this movie is ever remade with modern CGI they can include something similar. I think it would be incredibly effective considering that the movie pilot of the "Zero" had an interesting mishap when the film was shot.
This is a movie that would really benefit from additional scenes, additional comments and even added dialogue. I noted that the trailers that are included with the new release have some additional dialogue that could have been used.
Overall, this is much better than the original theatrical release and infinitely better than the VHS that I bought for eighty dollars eighteen years ago from a video store.
One negative comment I will make regarding the actors is primarily aimed at Catherine Ross. As an old Star Trek fan I found her endless repeated "Charlie, Charlie, Charlie," to be reminiscent of the worst Star Trek Episode "Spock's Brain," Brain, Brain what is Brain. This is a plot where the female role could be expanded to a female pilot - we are in the 21st century now. It would have been interesting to see if a female pilot had waxed the zero or been his rescuer.
As many people have stated technically this is a very well done DVD and for that Blue Underground should get recognition. I just hope that in its next incarnation Final Countdown or a movie like it takes the incredible reality of the Nimitz, her crew and the hardware and puts a personal side on it.
On a last note, I liked the former F-14 pilots joking about what they would have really done. It added a nice element, but one thing I thought was missing. They all talked about how Navy men would have loved to have wiped out the Nimitz and how could they have accepted a recall. The question I would have asked them is would all ninety pilots have accepted the recall? Imagine if just one pilot lost a relative during Pearl Harbor. Would that pilot have accepted the recall?
le 21 avril 2004
After many years, "The Final Countdown" sees a deserved DVD release, and unexpectedly in a collector's edition with lots of extras.
TFC is a popcorn "what-if" fantasy in which the US aircraft carrier Nimitz travels back in time/space to the day before the Pearl Harbor attack. Once they realize where and when they are, the crew faces the philosophical decision of whether or not to interfere. It's a thought-provoking discussion, but this film doesn't tie itself up in ethical knots. All the better to enjoy the reasonably good special effects and military action. (There is a dogfight between and F-14 and a Japanese fighter that really doesn't qualify as a "fight").
Kirk Douglas is good as always - in fact, I can't immediately recall him in a later film. Martin Sheen is convincing as an civilian reporter on board, and James Farentino performs as the XO with a destiny. Katherine Ross...well, let's just say that Katherine Ross is in this film.
It's not Citizen Kane - there are more than its fair share of continuity errors, cliches, anachronisms, and leaps in logic. Perhaps the worst flaw is Soon-Tek Oh portraying yet another sinister psychotic Asian villain. (You would think that at least a Japanese actor would be cast as a Japanese pilot). But on balance there is nothing that can't be ignored if one is already sitting through a time travel flick.
le 21 avril 2004
Released just about a year before Speilberg's "Raiders Of The Lost Ark" upped the ante on audience expectations for big-screen adventure fantasy, Don Taylor's cultish 1980 sci-fi time travel thriller feels a bit lumbering in retrospect. Stalwart and noble Kirk Douglas is well cast as captain of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, assigned duty to modern-day Pearl Harbor. When a mysterious electro-magnetic storm sends the entire ship hurtling back to December 6, 1941, you've got a real corker of a setup. Unfortunately, once everyone figures out the Where and When We Are and the What We Can Do To Change The Course Of History, the film is about three-quarters over, and the denouement seems anti-climatic. Interestingly, the most tense, gripping moment in the film has nothing to do with big special effects but takes place on board the ship when a captured Japanese pilot, confused, angry and scared out of his wits, makes a desperate and doomed attempt to escape. The violence in this scene is unexpectedly realistic, genuinely shocking, and well played by all the actors involved. A good cast and compelling premise keeps you watching, but be warned that the film sags almost fatally in places (one too many drawn-out, jingoistic sequences of fighter planes taking off and landing on the carrier deck to the strains of an overbearingly "stirring" score). All that being said, this is a movie I know I will watch again! Go figure.
le 17 avril 2004
For so many years I have waited for this movie to reappear in its original widescreen format and with better sound than at the movie theatres, and now I own it, and am disappointed.
This refers to the single-disc edition, and I don't think that the very limited 2-disc edition is worth the price, just to watch some Navy pilots blabbering about how well they fly.
It is only too obvious that they have to do a good job, in order to lift-off and land on an aircraft carrier in motion.
No. I am more disappointed about the fact of the dated special effects. For once, I am more caring about the effects than the acting.
Nothing wrong with the acting, actually the best part of the movie, with actors such as Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen and Charles Durning.
No. It is truly the effects that are totally outdated and that could have been digitally enhanced with modern CG technology, a bit as they have already done with the Star Wars trilogy and other similar movies of that period.
Especially the so-called "time-tunnel storm", which in itself is impressive, as a concept, not as the actual effect, could have been given a special treatment from the guys at ILM, and since this is a key scene which recurs in the movie, I would have expected for this edition to be enhanced, but instead nada.
Same applies for the aircraft battle scenes, in which one can clearly see that some are plain model kits out of the box.
For Heavens sake, didn't anybody notice it?
Such a fine movie, with a very original story and such fine actors, loses out in the one thing that matters most in a film of this genre: its visual and graphic effects.
In comparison, movies like The Philadelphia Experiment or even Buckaroo Banzai, did a far better job in the effects department, and even if they're a bit dated in today's comparison, still they are a fresh reminder of how a creative mind can change even the most primitive effect into something spectacular to the eye.
Instead, Final Countdown, falls short in this instance, with very flat and primitive SFX, which should have been corrected and enhanced for the re-release of such a commemorative DVD.
Concerning the image quality in itself, and the sound, there is nothing to criticize, quite the contrary, they are even better than the original theatrical release.
Still one would have expected a little bit more and not just in the bonus department, which at least, from what I have read, has not much to offer.
Besides, in both version, there is just one commentary, as if Martin Sheen was too busy, and even if Kirk Douglas is not in the best of shapes, at least his son Michael, could have made an effort to appear in the commentary section.
But as we all know, many people consider sitting to comment a movie, an abismal shame, since it is not so well retributed. Yet this is still part of a service to the audience and since the audience is ultimately the one who decides whether a movie is worth it or not, it seems that in this case, all parties involved were too busy doing something else, such as sunbathing.
Good for them!
So then, why all this mumbo jumbo about a re-release, when no one seemed to care anyway, not even the producers?
Go figure. But at the price offered, it is far too poor to be enjoyed.
No wonder, when one sees what other titles "Blue Underground" has to offer. Jess Franco's classics no less!
And who's Jess Franco, if not a second rate director from Spain?
As if he were the Orson Welles of that venerable country.
Ever heard of Luis Bunuel or Carlos Saura?
Jess Franco is not even the Sergio Leone of Spain. Far, far from it. And he's not even a Roger Corman, master of the B-movies.
So what is he, to be so vastly acclaimed in the list of movies here, among which "The Final Countdown" is truly out of place.
C'mon, couldn't the original studio pick it up and do a better job with it?
Unfortunately I cannot remember if it was released through Universal or through some other major studio, but being a Bryna Production (Kirk Douglas' own company), I would not be astonished if it were.
Pity. Other than that and if you have the money to invest, buy it, but if you are bit short, stick to the original "Time Machine" or better still, buy Disney's "20,000 Leagues under the Sea", or again 20th Century-Fox's "Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Now there you have your full money's worth!
Stick to the true classics and you will never go wrong.
I give you my word for it.