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The Final Countdown

July 21st, 2019 · Posted by Skuds in Life/Technology · No Comments · Life, Technology

This evening, for no particular reason, I watched the film The Final Countdown on Amazon. I had seen it before, probably more than once, but fancied an unchallenging film to pass the time. Its a bit like the Philadelphia Experiment, with a modern warship going back in time. In this case its the aircrat carrier USS Nimitz.

The film is set in the current day (1979/1980) and the ship goes back to December 1941, the day before the Pearl Harbour attack. Watching it now is a very strange experience because the whole point is supposed to be the contrast between the modern ship and the old WWII navy. The idea being that one modern ship, with its modern planes, helicoters, missiles and radars, could probably take on an entire Japanese fleet from 1941, which is quite possibly the case. Filming was all done on the Nimitz with full co-operation from the USN nd it was a bit of a showcase for their newest toys.

The thing is, the film is now old enough that those newest toys are as much old technology to us now as the Japanese Zeroes were to a 1980 audience. OK, some the planes were still used until 10 or 20 years ago, and the E-2 still is, but they would have had all their systems upgraded considerably. The whole thing is supposed to be ‘look how modern everything is’ but you watch it and wonder why they don’t have any computers at all.

For all that, it is entertaining enough, just a bit of a shock to realise how much time has passed and that the time between the film and now is about the same as between the film and 1941. Similarly, today everybody is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the moon landings but that even happened only 51 years after the end of WWI which all just makes me feel old .


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