The Final Countdown - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Final Countdown Reviews

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½ September 2, 2016
Great and original depiction of a time travel story that includes a well-formed story and great use of the actors.
August 31, 2016
The special effects were cheesy, even in 1980, but this is a very good movie, with an irresistible plot.
February 10, 2016
Not horrid and not fantastic, a time travel dilemma with star power. It's at least fun.
October 3, 2015
good sci-fi head scratcher
½ September 22, 2015
As a documentary on the USS Nimitz, The Final Countdown is wonderful. As entertainment, however, it has the feeling of a telepic that strayed onto the big screen.
September 11, 2015
They totally missed it with this movie. They took no poetic license and turned a movie with great potential into blah.
June 10, 2015
The film has an amazing first act and continues in its second act to set up one of the most compelling dilemmas in film history: if you were placed in a position to change the past at what point are you obliged to save innocent lives while risking your future? What are the potential consequences of interfering with your own past? In setting up this dilemma the film also offers a brief look into life on board a Naval aircraft carrier. Then the film ends. There is no third act. As the plot runs on and on without anyone actually trying to argue about the best course of action or the larger concerns you realize that the film is stuck in autopilot. I don't know why they never dealt with any of the issues they spent so long establishing. I suspect it had something to do with the obvious navy support they had during production. Such support always comes with restrictions and I imagine the Navy didn't want to portray officers arguing (which would explain why Sheen's character is an outsider, even though he never does anything with this) or captains carrying out gunboat diplomacy. In any event, it was a highly disappointing end to a movie that deserved so much more.
½ May 21, 2015
Have to agree with one of the top critics. As a recruiting video for the US Navy, this film is tremendous. Like Top Gun without the rock & roll. Unfortunately the aerial footage does little to save this terribly conceived movie. Apart from a few passable moments, the script is terrible. The characters are completely one-dimensional. Above all, the plot is completely pointless. Nothing of any significance ends up happening and the characters are completely unchanged by the experience. I sat through this film in the anticipation of a payoff despite its many shortcomings, but it never came. The plot should have undergone at least half a dozen more revisions before making it to the small screen, much less the big one. Not even good enough to be a guilty pleasure. To those who like it, nothing wrong with that, but try as I might, I can't bring myself to agree with you.
½ April 10, 2015
A great 'what would you do if' movie that's a underrated later Kirk Douglas flick.
April 3, 2015
Of all the time travel movies I've seen this one makes you think the most. If you could go back in time would you tamper with historical events? What events would you change and how? And what are the best and worst case scenarios resulting from your actions? It's a good movie for thinkers and vivid imaginations. But while thinking it would be more productive to use your own logic and not the movies logic.
Super Reviewer
½ February 24, 2015
A movie that bears a similar resemblance to the legend of the USS Eldridge and the Philadelphia Experiment flick of 1984, in some aspects. That movie saw an experiment on board the US warship to try and make it invisible to radar. Of course it goes wrong and two crew members are sent into the future of 1984. In this time travel adventure the USS Nimitz is on training operations in the Pacific when a mysterious storm comes out of nowhere and sends the ship back to 1941.

The casting is impressive with this old sci-fi, Martin Sheen is a civilian observer, a systems analyst who is on board for reasons unknown frankly. Charles Durning plays a fictitious senator back in 1941 and the epic Kirk Douglas is the USS Nimitz Commander. All three of these actors add much needed impetus to the project as lets be honest...this is total B-movie fluff. Although I still can't for the life of me work out why Sheen's character is required, and here lies one of the plot issues.

In this movie the USS Nimitz was designed by an aged Mr. Tideman who we don't see. Now this chap has made sure that Sheen's character gets on board the Nimitz for its training run. The reason being because what happens on board the ship and in the past (when the ship gets there) will effect the future. You assume Sheen's character will obviously somehow effect someone or something that will cause a time ripple, but he doesn't as far as I could see. Sheen doesn't really do anything throughout the whole movie accept stand around and offer the odd bit of advice. The only thing I can think of is the fact that the Nimitz was delayed by two days waiting for Sheen's character to arrive and board (according to Douglas' character the Commander), by order of the mysterious Mr. Tideman. So maybe that delay was required so all the following events would be set in motion at the right time.

Naturally time travel paradoxes may arise in a story like this and I'm pretty sure the main twist in the tale here doesn't work. Basically it turns out one of the officers on board the Nimitz is a younger Mr. Tideman who gets stranded back in 1941. Tideman helped design the Nimitz because he served on board her as an officer up until the point he gets stuck back in time. So it was the older Tideman back in 1980 who wanted Sheen's character to travel on the Nimitz for her training ops...although I don't get why as I already said Sheen does nothing.

So here is my issue. Young Tideman goes back in time and gets stranded (in 1941), he then must pretty much relive his life through to the present of 1980. Thing is in the present of 1980 with Tideman now an old man, at some point many years earlier, another younger version of Tideman must be born so he can join the Navy, join the Nimitz and eventually go on the training ops mission back in time. So this would surely mean there would be two versions of Tideman living in the same time, is that possible? I'm sure the older version would know not to try and meet his younger self so maybe it would be OK?

There is much that isn't really explained in the movie, whether that's because its left up to your own imagination or not I don't know. The mysterious storm is never explained, the fact it seems to be aware at one point because it tracks or homes in on the Nimitz when they try to outmaneuver it. The whole event is simply written off as a mystery or freak of nature. Also I noticed that when the Nimitz goes through the time portal, even jets that aren't on board her go through too. At the end there is an entire strike force of jets up in the air and nowhere near the Nimitz when the storm time portal thing catches the ship and they go back through to 1980. So even if these jets aren't on the ship and not even close to either the ship or the portal...they still go through? Is that because the ship goes through and they just materialise along with it? maybe they are foreign objects in time and time knows they don't belong there?

Admittedly most of the run time is taken up by military prowess and military hardware porn, put it this way if you like big guns, jets, aircraft carriers, warships, old planes, helicopters, flybys etc...you're gonna have a field day. Its basically a US Navy recruitment campaign combined with a training video showing you all the cool fun stuff, life on a carrier and errr...all the cool fun stuff. You could also say it was a long homage and love letter to one of the USA's best supercarriers, one of the biggest warships around. A day in the life of the Navy at sea and how it runs. I can't deny it all looked very impressive though, very slick, very cool, it gives 'Top Gun' a good run for its money...and this was 1979! imagine what they're like today.

Anyway back to the movie, it was fun, an enjoyable little Twilight Zone-esque escapade which I find agreeable on most days. I knew there would be problems along the way with this, you can kinda tell, but it doesn't detract from the fun too much. Very well put together, nice effects for the time, cool aerial camera work on various military toys and it keeps you thinking.
½ August 1, 2014
This film's ending is the equivalent of blueballs.
July 27, 2014
Very interesting concept: an aircraft carrier accidentally travels back in time 40 years in time to prevent the attack on Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, nothing is really done with it. There is just enough air action to avoid a complete talking heads movie, but not enough to take it to a higher level of enjoyment. The decisions made by the crew in light of time paradoxes ultimately prove the movie's downfall.
July 8, 2014
a good movie for the style of the eighties
½ June 23, 2014
Good premise which makes you think about what is the right thing to do
June 12, 2014
Utter crap but some great shots of ships and planes
June 2, 2014
A pretty good film. The dogfight between the F-14 Tomcats and Japanese Zeroes done in the days before CGI is worth it alone! Pretty solid cast and in general well done.
May 24, 2014
As an example of how a United States Naval vessel would behave if it and its crew were thrown back in time forty years, it's a fascinating exercise. As an actual story with a plot, there isn't a whole lot really going on here.
May 16, 2014
waste of time. the movie that sucks you in with the possibility of erasing one of the biggest tragedies in U.S. history and then falls on it's face by doing nothing.
May 10, 2014
it seemed like it was going in the right direction fir a good movie then suddenly ends abruptly without a battle with the Japanese at all and without that there's no point of wasting your time on this movie.
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