Final Countdown DVD Review

Ever watch a movie and can't understand why it isn't more well known? Well, such is the case with Final Countdown, an outstanding time travel film from 1980 that will most likely never get its due credit. The new Blue Underground release will certainly grab a few new fans thanks to the great presentation and cool cover art (in this limited edition reviewed here at least), but never to the extent I wish it would. Imagine your in command of a US nuclear aircraft carrier. While on a routine mission, you run into a strange storm and suddenly your back in 1941. December 6th, 1941 to be precise. When your finally aware of what exactly happened, what do you do? Do you change the course of history and knock down the approaching Japanese fleet that is heading for Pearl Harbor? Can you let one of the biggest US disasters of all time actually take place when you have all the power to stop it? What happens if you do interfere? It's this very same issue that fills most of the movie and one that makes for gripping entertainment. This is, by far, one of my favorite 80's movies. For a low budget movie, you'd hardly ever know it sans a few minor shots. The entire movie was filmed on the actual U.S.S. Nimitz, almost all of the plane footage was shot for the film, and the performances are strong enough to make the entire experience believable. This is a must-see 100 minute experience, especially on this new release. Blue Undergound has released some real cult-like movies in the past, each of them fully restored to pristine condition. This new print, taken from the original negative, is a sight to behold. The colors are strong, grain is noticable on some of the outdoor sequences, and black levels remain solid. Color bleeding is a minor problem during a few segments, but you'll never be able to tell this movie was made in 1980 thanks to this transfer. Sound has likewise been reworked in both DTS ES and 5.1 EX. Though not as strong as the picture, the sound certainly has some high points. The rear speakers get a workout, but the LFE channel is a bit dull. Voices also have a scratchy quality to them, but are still clear enough to hear every important segment. Dolby 2.0 is also avialble for nostalgia freaks. This movie has been released in 3 seperate edtions. There is a standard widescreen single disc edition, a single disc fullscreen edition (yuck), and the limited edition 2-disc set with a holographic-type cover. The 2-disc set is limited to only 100,000. Each of these releases has a feature commentary with the director of photography, trailers, and TV spots. The 2-disc set includes an exclusive second disc with a nice 15 minute interview Lloyd Kaufman (co-owner of Troma pictures) who was the associate producer. He really gives alot of info in the short clip and it's even in anamorphic widescreen. The other major feature is the 30 minute look at the Jolly Rogers squadron. These guys dive deep into the realism of the film and rip on others like Top Gun. Again, it's anamorphic widescreen. The other minor features include a slew of various photos. Press kits, lobby cards, behnd the scenes photos, and still shots are all included. The Kirk Douglas bio is fairly useless and the DVD-ROM only text feature is a nice look into the filming of the dogfights from the pilots POV. Even with all this, it's very thin for a 2-disc set, but fans of the film will obviouly pay the few extra dollars for the complete package (and super cool cover). Hopefully with this release, more people will take notice of a great film. If the sci-fi premise bothers you, know that the only real sci-fi segments are the time travel sequences. Nothing else here streches the believeability. With the exception of the full screen edtion (for obvious reasons), either of the releases are a great purchase.

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