I somehow managed to stumble upon the movie “The Final Countdown” last night, and I’m so happy that I did.
The plot of this film, which stars Kirk Douglas and Martin Sheen, is incredibly simple. American aircraft carrier U.S.S. Nimitz is transported back to December 6, 1941. This movie came out nearly 40 years ago, so I have no trouble spoiling the film.
The ship’s leaders debate whether or not they should blow the entire Japanese fleet out of the water and save Pearl Harbor. This brings us to a classic example of the Butterfly Effect. Changing one thing in the past could derail everything in the future. This is the trouble the crew must wrestle with.
SPOILER: they ultimately don’t strike the Japanese and Pearl Harbor goes down just like it did in real life. There is one awesome scene where a pair of F-14s down a couple Japanese Zeroes.
I love this concept. I have spent hours debating what different military units from different times could do against each other. There is no doubt in my mind that an aircraft carrier from the 1980s fully stocked and armed would obliterate the Japanese fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor.
Japanese Zeroes vs. fighter jets? Are you kidding me. It’d be a bloodbath. One of those fighter jets would be capable of taking down multiple Japanese ships. Besides, you would only need to really take out the Japanese carriers. The destroyers aren’t going to take over Pearl Harbor.
Here’s the real questions: would you order the the aircraft carrier to strike the Japanese? I think lots of people would jump immediately to order the strike.
However, I think the movie makes the right call. Striking the Japanese and stopping the attack leads to an uncertain future. Not striking the Japanese gets us to where we are today, and that’s pretty solid.
I also don’t know how I only just found out about this movie 37 years after it was released. This scenarios are awesome. So, what would you do? Sound off on if you’d order the strike or not change history.