The Final Countdown (1980)

Movie review coming on 3/18/2024

Film and Plot Synopsis

In the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean, the U.S.S. Nimitz proudly sails as America’s most formidable nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. However, its fate takes an extraordinary turn when an unexpected electrical storm materializes, engulfing the ship and defying all rationality. Astonishingly, the Nimitz finds itself thrust back in time to December 6, 1941, a mere few hours before the devastating Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor.

With the enemy fleet hurtling towards the vulnerable shores of Hawaii, the courageous Captain of the Nimitz, a seasoned Defense Department expert, a daring Air Wing Commander, and a desperate Senator within the Roosevelt administration now face an agonizing decision. They stand at a crossroads where the unthinkable becomes a stark reality. Shall they passively allow the Japanese to execute their murderous invasion, or will they seize the opportunity to launch a colossal counter-strike that holds the power to eternally reshape the course of history?

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Final Countdown, The (3-Disc Limited Edition/4K UHD + Blu-ray + CD)

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‘The Final Countdown’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
What would happen if a modern-day aircraft were sent back in time to the day before the attack on Pearl Harbor? Would it be used to prevent the attack and change history, or would it remain passive and allow events to unfold naturally? These are the questions posed in the 1980 film The Final Countdown.

In the movie, Martin Sheen portrays Warren Lasky, a systems analyst working for Tideman Industries, a defense contractor involved in designing the USS Nimitz, a cutting-edge nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in 1980. Lasky finds himself on board the Nimitz alongside Captain Yelland, played by Kirk Douglas, and Commander Owen, played by James Farentino. Yelland is the ship’s captain, while Owen serves as the commander of the air group and is also an expert on World War II.

Lasky’s role as a systems analyst makes him somewhat of an antagonist to the rest of the crew, as he is there to observe and identify areas for improvement. As the crew prepares to land their planes due to worsening weather, a sudden electrical storm emerges, engulfing the ship in a vortex. When the storm subsides, the crew realizes they have lost radio contact with Pearl Harbor. They launch a reconnaissance plane and discover that the Nimitz has been transported back in time to December 6th, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

With their advanced weaponry and capabilities, the crew of the Nimitz possesses the power to engage the entire Japanese fleet and potentially prevent the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, they grapple with the ethical dilemma of altering history and the potential consequences that could arise from doing so. The crew begins picking up old radio broadcasts from the 1940s and realizes the gravity of the situation.

As debates ensue among the senior staff, Lasky introduces the concept of the time travel paradox: if they were to change history, it could have unforeseen and potentially catastrophic effects on the future. The crew finds themselves divided, with some advocating for intervention while others argue for maintaining the timeline and allowing history to unfold naturally.

The movie leaves the ultimate decision unresolved, leaving viewers to wonder what the crew of the Nimitz will choose. Should they alter history and risk altering the world as they know it, or should they stand down and allow the attack on Pearl Harbor to proceed, thus leading the United States into World War II?

To discover the crew’s decision and the outcome, one would have to watch the movie or continue listening to the rest of the podcast, as there is much more to explore in 1980’s The Final Countdown.

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Our Rating

United Artists released The Final Countdown on August 1, 1980. Don Taylor directed the film starring Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, and Katharine Ross.

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