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The Final Countdown

My immediate reaction upon watching The Final Countdown again recently was that it'd be a great film written by a smart writer but directed by Michael Bay. Say what you like about him – he can do big military hardware well. But upon further reflection, here's what you don't realise about The Final Countdown until you think about it later – there are very few scenes of battle or violence. The only call for big special effects shots are the time travel sequences, which they managed with slightly cheesy disco laser effects at the time.

Defense contractor analyst Lasky (Sheen) is just a nuisance on board the mighty USS Nimitz and nobody from skipper Yelland (Douglas) to flight commander Owens (Farentino) really wants him there.

But when a strange storm appears around the ship that results in an incredible light and sound show, the Nimitz comes out of the storm to find little to no communication and some strange goings on in the Pacific around them.

After tuning in broadcasts on very low bands and amassing several other clues, the obvious is unavoidable – the Nimitz has gone back in time. What's more, it's the day of the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor that dragged American into World War II.

Yelland follows his gut, preparing to defend America no matter what the time or place. Owens, an expert on the attack, is writing a book about it, and Lasky can see the incredible possibilities to change history.

A congressman (Durning) and his beautiful assistant (Ross) on a luxury yacht nearby become pawns in the game history threatens to play the with world when the Nimitz crew rescue them after Japanese fighters strafe them in the water, and everyone becomes slowly aware that every move will change the entire world they know.

There are some amazing shots for the time, like the F14 Tomcats buzzing Japanese Zeroes, and the script has a strong ring of authenticity when it comes to the operations of a modern warship. There's a detached quality to the story that makes it all the more (ironically) realistic and even though there's no real need to get Michael Bay involved, it'd be a great film to remake if done properly.

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