Final Countdown, The

Featured In Issue 139, March/April 2009

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Blue Underground
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Don Taylor
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Dolby TrueHD 7.1, Dolby Digital+ Surround EX, DTS HD Lossless 7.1
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In The Final Countdown the USS Nimitz, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, passes through a time warp, and the crew finds themselves at Pearl Harbor on December 6, 1941. Captain Matthew Yelland (Douglas) must carefully weigh his urges to prevent the coming attack by using the Nimitz's 1980's technology. If he does, how will the future be changed because of his actions? (Suzanne Hodges)

Special features include two featurettes: Lloyd Kaufman Goes Hollywood—an interview with Associate Producer Kaufman (SD 14:01) and Starring The Jolly Rogers—interviews with the Jolly Roger Squadron (SD 31:14), two theatrical trailers, a teaser trailer, two TV spots, plus D-BOX® Motion Code.

The 2.35:1 1080p VC-1 picture is superb and finally brings to the home theatre a quality presentation that fans of this movie have been waiting for some time. The first DVD released by Pacific Family Entertainment was not of acceptable quality. This release by Blue Underground is, as with the previous DVD, sourced from much better elements and mastered in high-definition. The 2.35:1 picture exhibits excellent contrast and nicely saturated colors with rich hues. Fleshtones are accurate throughout. Sharpness is good, though at times slightly soft. Overall, this is a vibrant picture that is sure to please. (Gary Reber)

The soundtrack is available in both 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio™ and Dolby® TrueHD, according to the disc credits, but our Denon processor used for this review would only extract 5.1-channel signals for the Dolby TrueHD encoding, whose overall level is substantially less than the DTS® levels. Interestingly, there is also an option for Dolby Digital Surround EX, which provides a limited center back surround channel, again at reduced levels compared to the DTS levels. The 7.1-channel-enhanced presentation provides a slightly larger surround soundfield with the two extra side channels engaged. The side channels contain essentially the same signal as in the back surrounds, though, occasionally, there is a distinction. The full potential is not achieved in this presentation. Unfortunately, the creative community, the studios, and the equipment manufacturers have not dictated a spatial loudspeaker setup standard. Our preferred 7.1-channel setup is a perfect circle, with each full-range loudspeaker location equidistant from the sweet spot and equidistant from each other along the perimeter of the 360-degree circle. In this arrangement the added mid-left and mid-right surrounds convey added surround envelopment and dimensionality. Unfortunately, some 7.1-channel soundtracks are produced with the added channels not to the sides but behind the sweet spot listening position, which then creates positioning problems for normal 5.1-channel presentations, with the surround loudspeakers located to the back sides of the prime listening position, including for surround music reproduction. Fidelity is dated, as to be expected, and dynamic range is compressed. At times, distortion is heard. Dialogue is intelligible and at times supported spatially. The music score is harsh and distorted but enveloping. The D-BOX® Motion Code enhances the experience dramatically with aggressive motion during action scenes, which heightens the overall experience. Overall, the DTS-HD Master Audio™ soundtrack delivers a wonderful sonic experience far surpassing all previous releases of this film. (Gary Reber)