The Final Countdown
Travel Movies and Television Shows
Buy the Final Countdown DVD
Richard T. Owens
The Final Countdown can best be described as an extended
very expensive episode of the Twilight Zone. An American nuclear
aircraft carrier the USS Nimitz way back in 1980 ends up in a time
storm and gets lost back a day before December 7, 1941 the bombing
of Pearl Harbor and the start of
War II. The movie stars
Douglas as Capt. Matthew Yelland,
Martin Sheen as Warren Lasky, and James Farentino as Wing
Commander Richard T. Owens. Very classy early 80's epic that really
ushered in the Reagan era of movies. There's a very real sense of
patriotism in this picture as well as unique scientific what ifs.
The biggest question of the movie is can time be changed? Back in
1941 a modern aircraft carrier filled with modern jets could
probably destroy the Japanese fleet headed for Pearl Harbor,
Hawaii. Should they try? What would be the consequences to time
if they did attack the Japanese fleet? Luckily they have an expert
on the bombing of Pearl Harbor aboard namely Richard T. Owens, and a
very scientifically curious civilian named Warren Lasky.
I think as a child watching this movie really gave me that spark
that curiosity to ask what if? As this movie likes to make you
think. I've tried to throw in some subtle ideas and storylines in
Time-Rider that do the same thing. One scene in particular from
The Final Countdown really blows your mind. In a conversation
of what if, Martin Sheen's character Lasky ponders the trouble with
Lasky: Think of the
history of the next forty years...
Commander Richard Owens: I have a suspicion history will be a
little more difficult to beat, than you imagine Mr. Lasky.
Lasky: I'm talking about the classic paradox of time.
Imagine, for example, I go back in time and meet my own Grandfather.
Long before he got married, before he had children. And we have an
argument, and I kill him. Now if that happens, how am I ever going
to be born? And if I can never be born, how can I go back in history
and meet my very own Grandfather?
Commander Richard Owens: [angrily] I'm not half the theorist
you are, Mr. Lasky. But I still have a gut instinct that things only
happen once. And if they have happened, then there's nothing we can
do to change them. Nor should we try.
Lasky: Well, how are you going to avoid it? It's already
happening, and we're already involved!
The grandfather scenario is really a fascinating time paradox
question isn't it?
Here's another interesting exchange of dialogue from the movie.
Captain Yelland: If the United States falls under
attack our job is to defend her in the past, present and future.
Lasky: And after that?
Captain Yelland: After that, we take our orders from the Commander
in Chief of the United States Armed Forces.
Lasky: Franklin Delano Roosevelt?
In Time-Rider I ask the question if you could go back in time
could you change the past, maybe save someone who died in the
past. This is also asked in the movie The Time Machine,
but in my story Time-Rider must go back to Pearl Harbor to try
and save his brother in
issue 5. I also play around with the idea of what the world
might be like if the bombing of Pearl Harbor had never happened.
To get the whole story start at
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Time-Rider Superhero copyright 2007 Tim Frady