Movie Review: The Final Countdown (1980)

The Final Countdown (1980)

3.5 out of 5 stars

My daughter had not previously seen this movie, which my husband and I have watched several times.  Terry thinks he may have seen it in the theatre when it was released in 1980.  I don’t think I did, though; I think I have only seen it rebroadcast or on VHS.  Thanks to our Netflix streaming, we were able to revisit this interesting take on time travel and Pearl Harbor Day (somewhat fitting since we just celebrated the 70th anniversary of the original attack on Pearl Harbor earlier this month).

While the officers and crew of the USS Nimitz (a nuclear powered supercarrier) and our token civilian observer (a very young Martin Sheen) pondered taking on the entire Japanese fleet, taking full advantage of forty years of technological advancement in aircraft, weapons, radar and communications, I sat and wondered how dated everything looked from another thirty years in the future.  Crew members had a library of hardcover books to read, were putting together puzzles or playing board games or card games, listened to the radio (instead of plugging in to their iPad or iPod or iPhone), had no Internet, no cell phones (not that they would be of any use in the middle of the Pacific Ocean), no video games, no flat screen television screens or monitors, no personal computers or laptops of any kind.

I realized this time around that the story seemed a bit thin and most of the film seemed to be an advertisement for the capabilities of our Navy, demonstrating take offs, landings, emergency landings, emergency helicopter water rescues, reconnaissance, dog fighting (although not much of a dog fight between a Japanese Zero and a F-14 Tomcat).  Since this film was made ten years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, I assume the Cold War influenced some of this.

Despite these observations, I still enjoyed watching this movie.  Perhaps it’s time this one got a makeover similar to what happened with 3:10 to Yuma.  Maybe before the 75th anniversary rolls around.