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The Final Countdown

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Posted 25th April 2009 at 08:44 PM by Sam@Cult Labs

Some time travel business now...

The Final Countdown

A modern aircraft carrier, captained by Kirk Douglas, is caught up in a supernatural storm that throws the ship back in time to a point just before the 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Habour. The situation presents the crew with one the great dilemmas in Sci-Fi cinema, do they make a pre-emptive attack against the Japanese carrier that is moving towards the habour, thus saving hundreds of American lives and perhaps preventing the USA's entry into WW2 or do they let events run it's course, taking no risks with the fabric of time...

Time travel was a big thing in the 80s, with The Philadelphia Experiment and Back To The Future making a big impression on film fans, but The Final Countdown is just as good, mixing Sci-Fi with a modern war story to great effect. The aircraft sequences combine well executed aerial camera work with stock footage and they work well enough despite being a tad dated 25 years down the line. This was the best movie makers could do until Top Gun came along followed by CGI, so they still stand up. Overall, this is an old-fashioned war film with a fantastical twist.

The Philadelphia Experiment

Based on a famous urban legend, The Philadelphia Experiment is a great piece of Sci-Fi cult cinema. It's 1943, the peak of the Second World War and when a secret naval experiment to make a battleship invisible to radar goes wrong, only two men survive. The flawed exercise sends the two unfortunate men forward in time to 1984 where they find themselves in the Nevada Desert. Although this is B Movie fodder all the way, with an occasional dodgy dialogue moment, the fish out of water elements of the movie are entertaining.

The two 1940s guys have to contend with flashing arcade machines and noisy rock 'n' roll and the culture shock motifs are what makes the film special.

Soon the two men are on the run from the Navy, the Police and time itself as they frantically try and find the portal back to the past so they can close it forever before anymore damage can be done. Although the special effects have dated and the acting goes off the boil now and then, The Philadelphia Experiment still holds up as a good piece of 80s time travel fun.
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