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The Final Countdown (4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film
The Video (Overall)
HDR Effect
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

The USS Nimitz, a cutting-edge nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is drawn into a time warp during exercises in the Pacific and ends up in the past on December 6, 1941 near Pearl Harbor before the Japanese attack. The captain (Kirk Douglas) and his crew, which includes a consultant (Martin Sheen) and maverick commander (James Farentino) have to decide if they should use their powerful ship to intercede in history or allow the attack to happen.

The Final Countdown 4K Ultra HD (Blue Underground)This 1980 mid budget cult sci-fi hit The Final Countdown was directed by Don Taylor. The story follows the advanced nuclear-powered Navy aircraft carrier the U.S.S. Nimitz that finds itself traveling through a strange time warp while carrying out training maneuvers in the Pacific and ends up near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 6, 1941 with the huge Japanese fleet on its way to strike. Captain Matthew Yelland (Douglas), a Department of Defense specialist, Warren Lasky (Martin Sheen), maverick Air Wing commander Richard Owens (James Farentino), and ambitious US senator Samuel Chapman (Charles Durning) must decide whether they should use the might of their modern carrier in 1941 to prevent the Japanese attack, warn the Roosevelt administration, and interfere with history, or allow the attack to happen and preserve history, possibly preserve themselves at the same time.

While this film’s screenplay never really breaks out of the numerous theories and speculation about threats to history and paralyzed stance of the Nimitz on what to do, there is still a sense of kinetic energy thanks to the multiple shots of The Jolly Rogers F-14 Fighter Squadron and their high-flying antics and given the film was shot on the actual Nimitz with the full support of the U.S. Navy, there is a lot of authenticity in this film. Veteran Kirk Douglas as well as Martin Sheen help give it a boost as well as Charles Durning and the lovely Katharine Ross.

The Video

This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release of The Final Countdown is a brand-new restoration scanned in 4K 16-bit resolution from the original 35mm camera negative. It arrives on disc in an HEVC 2160p encodement framed at 2.40:1 and has Dolby Vision HDR. Apart from the frames that are obvious visual effects dupes or archival footage of the F-14s in flight and so forth, this transfer looks clean, crisp, and has a thin layer of organic looking grain. The colors have good ‘pop’. There isn’t necessarily anything that is very bright or gimmicky looking, but there’s just a little extra ‘oomph’ in the colors or highlights. Have a look at the scene with the Gatsby boat in the South Pacific, the azure skies and warm sunny appearance.

The Audio

Blue Underground provides The Final Countdown with a few audio options, the default being a fantastic new Dolby Atmos mix that really opens up the soundfield for this movie right from the beginning as the F-14 fighter jet engines explode through the soundfield. Don’t be stressed if you can’t do Atmos, because the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is almost as good, with very subtle differences. Since the height channels are judicious on the Atmos, the 5.1 mix sounds quite similar if just a little bit less spacious, but don’t count out the tighter, warmer sounding lossless stereo mix either if you want something just a little closer to authentic as this was Dolby Stereo in theaters.

The Supplements

Blue Underground packs this release with extras including the motion picture soundtrack on CD, collectible booklet, an audio commentary by the DoP who not only offers up some technical information but has quite a few tidbits on the production and the Navy.

  • Bonus: The Final Countdown Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by Jim Scott
  • Bonus: Collectible Booklet featuring The Zero Pilot Journal
  • Audio commentary with director of photography Victor J. Kemper
  • Lloyd Kaufman Goes Hollywood – Interview with associate producer Lloyd Kaufman (1080p; 00:14:04)
  • Starring The Jolly Rogers – Interviews with The Jolly Rogers F-14 Fighter Squadron (1080p; 00:31:18)
  • Theatrical Trailers
    • Teaser (1:50)
    • Trailer #1 (2:49)
    • Trailer #2 (3:13)
  • TV Spots
    • TV Spot #1 (0:30)
    • TV Spot #2 (0:30)
    • TV Spot #3 (0:30)
  • Poster & Still Galleries
    • Posters
    • Advertising Materials
    • Japanese Souvenir Program
    • Lobby Cards
    • Stills
    • Behind-the-Scenes
    • Video
    • Miscellaneous

The Final Assessment

Blue Underground comes through with another fantastic 4K release. This is how catalogue releases should look (and sound) on 4K Ultra HD. Highly recommended.


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The Final Countdown is out on 3-Disc Limited Edition 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + CD May 25, 2021 from Blue Underground


  • Rating Certificate: PG
  • Studios & Distributors: Bryna Productions | Film Finance Corporation | Polyc International BV | Sandy Howard/Richard St. Johns Productions | United Artists | Blue Underground
  • Director: Don Taylor
  • Written By: Thomas Hunter (story & screenplay) | Peter Powell (story & screenplay) | David Ambrose (story & screenplay) | Gerry Davis (screenplay)
  • Run Time: 102 Mins.
  • Street Date: 25 May 2021
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Video Format: HEVC 2160p (4K UHD)
  • Primary Audio: English Dolby Atmos
  • Secondary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 | English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo | French DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH | French | Spanish
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