Blue Underground’s Re-Issue Of ‘The Final Countdown’ Proves This Movie Deserves A Second Chance From Audiences, Critics

Courtesy: Blue Underground/United Artists

The 1980s is one of the most unique eras in the modern era of movies.  It was this era that turned out so many timeless movies helmed by the late, great John Hughes.  It was also the era that turned out great movies, such as Back to the Future, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, and The Shining among so many others.  For all of the great movies released throughout the 1980s, that era also turned out its own share of movies that while enjoyable, did not get the recognition that maybe they deserved.  One such movie was United Artists’ 1980 action/drama The Final Countdown.  This star-studded movie was largely panned by critics and audiences alike.  The movie, has also mostly been compared to 1984’s The Philadelphia Experiment, which itself received far more acclaim and better response.  That aside, the movie really is an underappreciated presentation, and thanks to independent movie studio Blue Underground, it received new life last month in a new Blu-ray/4KUHD presentation.  The new re-issue is well-deserved and will hopefully earn the movie a new appreciation among science-fiction fans in its new release.  The story featured in the movie serves as the most important of its elements.  It will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie’s new re-issue is certain to help establish that new appreciation.  It will be discussed a little later.  The set’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make this presentation such that every science fiction should watch at least once.

Blue Underground’s recently released re-issue of The Final Countdown is a presentation that most science fiction fans will find surprisingly entertaining and engaging.  That is proven in part through its story.  The story in question is simple.  A United States Navy aircraft carrier goes back in time when a bizarre storm comes upon the ship.  It sends the aircraft carrier and its crew back to December 6, 1941, the day before Pearl Harbor was attacked by the Japanese navy.  At first the carrier’s heads do not believe they could possibly have traveled back in time, but when they come to terms with the reality, the discussion comes up as to whether the lone naval vessel and its crew should take on the Japanese navy by itself and prevent the attack from ever happening.  It is a timeless (no pun intended) plot element used in science fiction.  That aside, it still works here.  The whole thing runs just short of the two hour mark (one hour, 42 minutes to be exact).  It was also presented on a limited budget and limited scheduling (this will be discussed in the examination of the re-issue’s bonus content), but even with those constraints, everything actually turned out well.  Given, there are not a lot of explosions.  There is thankfully not any sexual content, either.  Maybe that lack of such common content is what made people dislike the movie considering there is more talking than action.  In reality though, that required the cast, led by famed actors Kirk Douglas (Spartacus, Lust for Life, Ace in the Hole), Martin Sheen (The West Wing, Apocalypse Now, Spawn), and Charles Durning (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Dog Day Afternoon, The Muppet Movie) to really put forth their best job acting.  Their interactions really serve to keep the story engaging and entertaining.  The trio’s work echoes their personalities behind the scenes, which will also be addressed in the examination of the movie’s bonus content.  All things considered, the story is simple, but that simplicity, together with the acting (and cinematography) works to make the movie deserving of more credit than it has received.

The story featured at the heart of The Final Countdown is an underrated presentation in its own right.  Sure, it isn’t the action-packed blockbuster that maybe audiences had hoped for from a summer blockbuster (the movie debuted Aug. 1, 1980 as part of that year’s summer blockbuster crop), but is still engaging and entertaining in its own right.  The bonus content that accompanies the movie in its new re-issue shows even more why the movie deserves its own share of respect.  One of the most notable of the bonus features is the movie’s feature-length audio commentary with the movie’s Director of Photography, Victor J. Kemper.  Kemper shares a variety of interesting items in his discussions, one of which being the noted limitations under which the movie’s cast and crew had to work.  He points out that during the scenes in which the Nimitz was at sea, the carrier’s skipper severely limited the cast and crew’s movement throughout the ship and that the movie was shot under a tight budget.  He stressed that the budget was so tight, that by the end of shooting, the organization was out of money.  Audiences must take these statements into account before just criticizing the movie.  Considering how little the organization had to work with, they made the best of a bad situation.

Additionally, Kemper points out that the at sea shooting schedule was limited.  He notes in his commentary that the company spent only eight days shooting at sea while it spent approximately a week-and-a-half shooting in port in Norfolk, VA.  That has to be taken into account, too.  It shows again, what those involved had to work with in order to make the movie happen.  Considering this, all involved are to be commended for what they produced.  That is the case even considering how things were behind the scenes.  Associate Producer Lloyd Kaufman talks about what went on behind the scenes in his own bonus interview.

Kaufman alleges in his 14-minute interview that few people involved in the movie (including cast and crew) really took the whole production serious.  He alleges that much of the crew was more concerned with the catering than actually focusing on proper shooting, etc.  Additionally, he alleges that star James Farentino was more concerned with his bedding on board the ship than his acting at another point, adding that if not for Douglas and his son Peter, who served as the movie’s main Producer, the movie likely would not have even been completed.  Kaufman even lodges some rather harsh comments against the movie’s director, Don Taylor.  Audiences will be left to take in those comments for themselves.  Sheen and Durning meanwhile were among the only cast members with whom Kaufman claimed to have enjoyed working.  Considering all of Kaufman’s allegations and the limitations faced in terms of just recording the movie, all involved faced a perfect storm (pardon that pun) in getting this underappreciated movie done.  To that end, it proves again that this movie is deserving of the second chance that it has received from Blue Underground.  It is just as deserving of a second chance from audiences and critics alike.  That is even clearer when audiences read through the “Pilot’s Journal” that is included with the movie’s re-issue.  It points out some conflicts that happened behind the scenes, too, between the people who flew the Zeros and military officials.  It is yet another example of all the problems that this movie apparently faced during production.  In turn, it makes for even more appreciation for what was produced.

Taking into account all that this movie’s story and bonus content offers audiences, there is still one more item to examine in regards to its recent re-issue.  That item is its packaging.  The packaging houses three discs – the movie’s soundtrack (its own bonus for the most devoted audiences), the movie’s Blu-ray presentation, and in its 4K UHD presentation.  The soundtrack sits on its own spindle inside the front of the movie’s case.  The BD and 4K UHD discs sit uniquely in the other side, one under the other.  Now that sounds like the “old” way of packaging multi-disc sets, and to a point it is.  What Blue Underground has done in the case of the BD and 4K UHD presentation however is what makes it unique.  Rather than just overlaying the discs, a plastic cover of sorts separates the discs in the overlay.  This essentially prevents the discs from marring one another when one or the other is removed and replaced.  That unique approach is to be applauded.  Given, it would have made more sense to just use an insert with one spindle on either side for the BD and 4K UHD discs.  That is the more common and equally safe packaging format, but that one minor aspect here does its own share to protect the discs.  What’s more, not every viewer has both a Blu-ray player and 4K UHD player and/or monitor.  To that end, whichever viewers have, they can simply place that disc on top and ignore the other.  That means even more so that the discs will receive less damage.  So once more, audiences see why the packaging is just as much a positive to this presentation as the presentation’s story and its companion bonus content.  When the positive of the packaging is considered along with the story and the movie’s bonus content, the whole of these items makes this re-issue a presentation that science fiction fans will agree is surprisingly engaging and entertaining.  It combines to prove, again, this movie is deserving of its second life and a second chance.

Blue Underground’s recently released re-issue of The Final Countdown is a presentation that every science fiction fan should see or see again.  That is due in part to its story.  Sure, there’s not lots of explosions and sexual content, even with it being a summer blockbuster in its initial release.  Regardless, it is a story that offers an interesting, thoughtful take on a familiar science fiction topic.  The extensive bonus content that accompanies the movie in its re-issue adds its own interest to the whole.  That is because it shows how many obstacles the movie faced in even being recorded.  It makes for even more appreciation considering how much worse it could have turned out, considering all of those obstacles.  The re-issue’s packaging rounds out its most important elements.  It shows just as much thought was put into this aspect as the bonus content and general presentation.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s re-issue.  All things considered, they make the movie a surprisingly engaging and entertaining presentation that proves this movie is deserving of its second life and of a second chance from audiences and critics alike.

More information on this and other titles from Blue Underground is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:




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Blue Underground Announces Release Date, Specs For ‘The Final Countdown’ Re-issue

Courtesy: Blue Underground/United Artists

Independent movie studio Blue Underground will re-issue United Artists’ 1980 action/drama flick The Final Countdown this spring.

The company is scheduled to release the lesser-known science fiction flick April 27 on 4K Ultra HD/BD combo pack. Starring Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now, The Departed, The West Wing), and Kirk Douglas (Spartacus, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Ace in the Hole), the movie’s story finds the crew of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz transported back in time to Dec. 6, 1941, the eve of the attack on Pearl Harbor during an electrical storm.

As a result of the unexpected trip back in time, a difficult decision must be made by the carrier’s officers and political officers in Washington, D.C. at the time. A trailer for the movie is streaming here.

Blue Underground’s forthcoming re-issue comes with a variety, such as a feature-length audio commentary, interview with the F-14 crew that starred in the movie, and soundtrack to the movie. Additionally, the first printing will feature as a bonus, a 3D lenticular slipcover. The full listing of bonus content is noted below.


  • Audio Commentary with Director of Photography Victor J. Kemper
  • Lloyd Kaufman Goes Hollywood – Interview with Associate Producer Lloyd Kaufman
  • Starring The Jolly Rogers – Interviews with The Jolly Rogers F-14 Fighter Squadron
  • Theatrical Trailers
  • TV Spots
  • Poster & Still Galleries

BONUS! THE FINAL COUNTDOWN Original Motion Picture Soundtrack CD by John Scott

BONUS! Collectible Booklet featuring The Zero Pilot Journal 

BONUS! 3D Lenticular Slipcover (First Pressing Only)

Pre-orders are open now.

More information on this and other titles from Blue Underground is available along with all of the company’s latest news at:




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Dean Martin Celebrity Roast Collection Is A Laugh Riot

Courtesy:  Time Life Entertainment/Star Vista/NBC Universal

Courtesy: Time Life Entertainment/Star Vista/NBC Universal

Groundbreaking and hilarious.  Those are the best two words that one can possibly come up with when one thinks of singer/actor Dean Martin’s celebrity roasts.  There was nothing else like this series on television when it was spun off from his equally entertaining Dean Martin’s Comedy Hour.  And even today, when one watches Comedy Central’s celebrity roasts, one can’t deny the influence of Martin’s show on today’s celebrity roasts.  Martin’s celebrity roasts were just as irreverent as anything broadcast on Comedy Central today.  Anyone that has any knowledge of classic movies and television will attest to that.  And that’s just one reason that audiences will appreciate the recent release of Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts: Collector’s Edition.  Decades have passed since these shows aired.  Despite that, the jokes are still as biting today as they were back then.  While the celebrities and jokes featured in each of this set’s shows are the most important aspect to the set, they’re only part of what audiences will appreciate about this new laugh riot collection from Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista.  Viewers will also appreciate the bonus features included in each of the set’s six discs.  And last but definitely not least, Time Life and Star Vista are more than deserving of praise for the packaging of this set.  The manner in which each of the set’s discs was placed protects each disc, and is ergonomic for any DVD rack.  When one takes into consideration everything noted here, one will see just how important it is to the history of television and movies that Star Vista and Time Life Entertainment have released this set.  It’s a set that any fan of true, pure comedy must see at least once.

The celebrities and jokes that fill each episode of Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts: Collector’s Edition are the most important aspect of the episodes culled for the set.  Audiences that are more familiar with classic television and movies will appreciate seeing big names such as Rich Little, Don Rickles, former President Ronald Reagan, Sammy Davis, Jr., and so many others.  Little’s impersonations of some of Hollywood’s biggest names are among the many highlights.  Audiences will roar with laughter as he impersonates Johnny Carson.  Carson does everything that he can to not do the mannerisms that Little lists off one at a time.  The funny thing is that he can’t help but do those same mannerisms.  It shows just how closely Little studied his subjects.  It’s just one of so many moments that will have audiences laughing so hard that they cry.  There’s actor Kirk Douglas’ joke comparing fellow actor Don Rickles to a weasel, Rev. Billy Graham’s golf joke about Bob Hope, and even Foster Brooks’ ever entertaining drunk act from one show to another.  Somehow that act never loses its shine, no matter how many times he does it.  There is plenty more material from which audiences will be able to call their favorite moments.  Everything listed here is just a small sampling of that to which audiences can look forward with this collection of hilarious roasts.

The celebrity lineups and jokes that fill each of Martin’s celebrity roasts easily make Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts: Collector’s Edition make it an easy contender for the top spot on this year’s list of the best new box sets.  One can’t make such a statement without examining the set’s bonus material.  Bonus is a word that is bandied about far too often with DVDs and Blu-rays today.  But the additional content included in this set couldn’t be more properly labeled than bonus material.  Audiences are offered interviews with those that shared the stage throughout Martin’s Celebrity Roasts and bonus shows, too.  The interviews with the likes of Carol Burnett, Rich Little, and others show just how honored the chosen celebrities were to have been chosen both for the celebrity panel, and as the subject of the roasts.  The celebrity interviews included across this set are definitely worthy of being called bonus material.  Audiences will also appreciate the bonus segments of The Dean Martin Show, as well as a comparison between Martin’s celebrity roasts and what is offered today on the likes of Comedy Central.  It’s very interesting to note Carol Burnett’s own words, stating how today’s comedy is “mean” versus Martin’s roasts being just good clean fun.  She makes a valid argument.  One can really tell that Martin’s celebrity roasts were really meant all in good fun.  There were some off color material.  But even back then, the comedians on the panels didn’t have to work blue unlike today’s comedians.  It’s a telling statement.  And when they order this set, audiences will see that and more for themselves.

The bonus material included in Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts: Collector’s Edition puts this set way over the top.  Unlike the extra material crammed into other sets by other companies, the extra material included in this set is more than deserving of the title of “Bonus.”  When set next to the celebrity lineups and their jokes, it makes this set one that any classic TV and movie fan absolutely must add to their own home library.  Those same fans will notice in adding this set to their home DVD library that the packaging is another plus.  The box itself takes up a small amount of room on one’s rack.  That’s because of how the discs inside the box were themselves packaged.  The discs are placed on either side of a group of “inserts” inside the box.  They are given their very own space on either side of each insert.  This not only saves space, but also protects the discs from scratching one another at the same time.  This means being able to share the laughs again and again for years to come.  They are laughs that will be welcome with every watch.  And they can be enjoyed when audiences order the set from Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista online at  More information on this and other releases from Time Life Entertainment and Star Vista is available online at and  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at