The Final Countdown appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Though it showed the movie’s vintage, this Dolby Vision release nonetheless became a pretty solid presentation.
Sharpness usually fared well, though not entirely, as occasional instances of slightly soft shots materialized. Nonetheless, most of the movie boasted nice accuracy and delineation.
Both jagged edges and moiré effects failed to mar the image, and I saw no signs of edge haloes. With a natural layer of grain, I suspect no problematic noise reduction, but I did see a smattering of small specks. The image also came with more obvious defects when it used some stock WWII footage, but I didn’t hold those against the transfer.
Colors opted for a nature palette that came across well. The tones usually felt vibrant and full, and the disc’s HDR gave the hues added punch and impact.
Blacks felt deep and dense, while shadows offered fairly good clarity, though a few interiors could seem a smidgen thick. HDR brought power to whites and contrast. Despite some occasional distractions, this remained a pretty appealing image overall.
Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack worked very well. Remixed from the original Dolby Surround audio, the Atmos version opened up the material in a satisfying manner.
The best elements related to the use of military aircraft, as those components zoomed around the room in a vivid, lively way. Other aspects of the track felt less memorable, but the audio still brought a good sense of place and space, with nice stereo music and various localized elements.
Audio quality showed its age but still seemed satisfactory. Lines could feel a bit thin or muffled, but dialogue remained easily intelligible and lacked edginess or other issues.
Music offered nice range and breadth, while effects boasted strong punch and dimensionality, with taut low-end. A few effects could seem slightly rough, but they still worked nicely given their age. Overall, I felt pleased with this nice remix.
As we shift to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director of photography Victor J. Kemper. Along with moderator David Gregory, he provides a running, screen-specific look at his experiences during the shoot and other aspects of his career.
For the film’s first half, Kemper gives us a somewhat spotty discussion, damaged partly due to his occasional memory lapses. These don’t seem extreme, but they mean that the listener will find it more difficult to trust his statements when we recognize a few erroneous remarks.
The track improves in the second half because Kemper tends to talk more about filmmaking in general and less about Countdown itself. He also offers some intriguing notes about working on an aircraft carrier. These allow the commentary to become a decent affair, even some parts of it create issues.
Two featurettes follow, and Lloyd Kaufman Goes Hollywood spans 14 minutes, four seconds and offers a conversation with associate producer Kaufman. The co-founder of Troma, Kaufman took on other gigs to pay the bills, and that led to his work on Countdown.
Kaufman discusses aspects of his involvement with the film and his experiences. Kaufman brings us a good collection of memories and notes.
Starring the Jolly Rogers runs 31 minutes, 18 seconds and features US Navy pilots Cmdr. Emory W. Brown (Ret.), James W. Huston, Brian Tyndall, Alan Mullen, Capt. Richard Farrell (Ret.), and William McCluskey.
The pilots discuss their experiences in the Navy as well as their participation in Countdown. Their wide-eyed view of Hollywood offers a fun perspective, and we get a good overall look at their work on the movie.
A mix of advertising materials ensues. We find three trailers and three TV spots.
The disc ends with eight Poster and Still Galleries. These cover “Posters’ (28 images), “Advertising Materials” (8), “Japanese Souvenir Program” (29), “Lobby Cards” (58), “Stills” (13), “Behind the Scenes” (75), “Video” (38) and “Miscellaneous” (18). All these add up to a nice collection of elements.
A second disc brings a Blu-ray copy of Countdown. It includes all the same extras as the 4K.
Note that this Blu-ray boasts the 2021 remaster found on the 4K, so it doesn’t simply duplicate the previous release of Countdown. As far as I can tell, Blue Underground doesn’t offer this 2021 Blu-ray on its own. If that changes, I’ll review the Blu-ray as a separate release.
A third disc provides a CD soundtrack for Countdown. It lasts 53 minutes and adds a nice bonus for fans.
Finally, the package concludes with a booklet. It presents photos, credits and the “Zero Pilot Journal”, a look at the stunt flights done for the film. The booklet finishes the set on a positive note.
Given a strong science-fiction premise, The Final Countdown comes with enough juice to make it generally compelling. However, it doesn’t live up to its promise, so it becomes a decent but erratic adventure. The 4K UHD offers pretty good picture and audio along with a nice set of bonus features. The movie seems erratic, but it gets a good rendition on 4K UHD.