4K Ultra HD Review: The Final Countdown (1980)

May 23, 2021

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

‘Round about ol’ nineteen hundred and eighty, systems analyst Warren Lasky (a staggeringly young Martin Sheen) finds himself aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz, led by Captain Yelland (a staggeringly not as old as he was towards the end, but still old Kirk Douglas) down Pearl Harbor way. Lasky’s job? Tell them what a gang of fuck-ups they are and how they can improve on that via efficiency or some shit… it isn’t important until it is anyway…
Anyhow, the Nimitz soon finds itself in the middle of one hell of a bizarre storm, which they assume to be the result of some sort of Soviet attack or other… which unless they got their mitts on Destro’s Weather Dominator is a bit of a stretch, but regardless the Nimitz sails straight into a laser light display straight out of a Who concert.
Cue: Star Trek theatrics, lazer antics, and searing pain…
After all of that glorious nonsense, our heroes find themselves smack-dab in 1941… still in Pearl Harbor… in December…
Will the crew of the Nimitz let history play itself out as intended, or will they attempt to change shit up with their amaze-o future tech and surely fuck up history for all eternity?
Honestly, that last bit is what makes The Final Countdown so damn interesting! It’s hard not to ask yourself just what you would do in a situation like the one presented here; would you change the course of history and possibly save countless lives, or would you let things play out as they had? Either scenario leads to some serious philosophizing, and that makes for some compelling viewing indeed cats n’ creeps!
Of course, that action on screen is only as good as the ones actin’ it out, and with this cast you are in some safe hands with this one! You get legends like Sheen and Douglas, along with some great supporting turns from Ron O’Neal (Superfly his mother fuckin’ own bad self!), Charles Durning, Missing in Action 2: The Beginning‘s Soon-Tek Oh, Katharine Ross, and Dead & Buried‘s James Farentino.
As for special effects, well they are of the late ’70s, laser tunnel variety (also popular to a lesser extent in Alien, and to a preposterously greater extent in the sex scene from John Badham’s 1979 adaptation of Dracula) so your mileage will vary there (for the record, I love that shit… ), but you will be more amazed from the large array of military hardware on display, and by the fancy flying of  The Jolly Rogers flight team.
Speaking of those Jolly boys, they get their own featurette in the bonus material present on this 4K Ultra HD release from Blue Underground (along with MVD Entertainment), but that’s certainly not the only extra present!
Also included are a technical (and rather dry) commentary with The Final Countdown‘s director of photography, Victor J. Kemper as well as a chat with Troma’s own Lloyd Kaufman (who served as the film’s associate producer and unit production manager, plus has a cameo in the film), in which he holds absolutely nothing back to often hilarious effect.
Rounding things out we get a trio of theatrical trailers, three TV spots, and a collection of poster and still galleries.
Also included are a CD containing the film’s soundtrack (courtesy of composer John Scott), a Blu-ray copy of the film, a collector’s booklet, and a reversible sleeve!
Bottom line; The Final Countdown is a fun time-travel romp with a good sense of “what if?” wonder about it all, and this edition has the visual panache to make it all appear timeless… except for the few parts where it’s kinda dated… you know what I mean damn it…

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