The Final Countdown
A high-flying, time travel adventure that gets an "A" for originality, The Final Countdown arrives on DVD in fine form with this feature-packed Blue Underground release. The feature attraction is presented letterboxed at 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the care that Blue Underground has put into restoring the print will certainly score points with fans. The image is virtually pristine, with solid, well-balanced colors that are bright and vivid, and even skin tones throughout. Audio is presented in closed-captioned English Dolby Digital Surround EX and 2.0 Surround, with an additional DTS-ES track offering a second option for home theater enthusiasts. All three soundtracks are great, with the Dolby Digital Surround EX and the DTS-ES in particular truly shining in the airborne dogfight sequences. Optional English, Spanish, and French subtitles are also accessible. Blue Underground is certainly an organization dedicated to presenting the definitive version of any film that it chooses to release, and this version of The Final Countdown is no exception to that rule. A commentary track with cinematographer Victor J. Kemper offers some good anecdotes concerning the shoot, and while there isn't an abundance of downtime, it ultimately leaves the viewer wanting something more. Though it's interesting to hear how the film crew adjusted their schedules to cooperate with Naval exercises (the anecdote regarding a still-photographer who was "kidnapped" for a "man overboard" exercise is amusing), it ends up being somewhat dry since Kemper doesn't have anyone to bounce memories off of. Fortunately, an interview with associate producer/Troma president Lloyd Kaufman picks up any slack by offering a recollection that is amusing, insightful, and candid. It's obvious that the experience was a crash course in filmmaking for Kaufman, and it's great to hear his memories -- both fond and otherwise -- of the production. Interviews with "The Jolly Rogers" F-14 fighter squadron offer a view of Hollywood from a Naval perspective, and certainly give one an appreciation for the tight choreography and camaraderie needed to run a successful flight deck. Poster and still galleries offer a wealth of high-quality images related from the film, and a biography for star Kirk Douglas gives a detailed analysis of his life and career from his earliest days to his later days in front of the camera. One only wishes all DVD bios could be so insightful. A "Zero Pilot Journal" rounds things out nicely by offering an article on the shoot from a pilot's perspective.