This week I started to skim the bottom of my list of science fiction films I hadn’t seen yet. I ended up watching a tiny sub-genre that I will choose to refer to as naval time travel… that is to say, time travel that somehow involves the navy or a naval vessel.

Wednesday Double Feature - Naval Time Travel - The Final CountdownThe first film on my list, The Final Countdown by Don Taylor starring Kirk Douglas, Martin Sheen, James Farentino, Katharine Ross and Charles Durning, tells how the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz is caught in a time vortex in the middle of a training exercise. They find themselves in 1941 just a day before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

This leads them trying to figure out what to do next. Do they save the day by preventing the attack, (for that matter use their superior technology to win World War II all by themselves.) Or do they do nothing and preserve history as they know it. This is made all the more difficult when they mistakenly rescue a senator and his secretary who according to history had disappeared.

This film was… okay. It looks really cool since it had the full cooperation of the US Navy and is filmed on the actual Nimitz. For the most part, I liked it best when it was a military procedural, with professionals reacting to really weird stuff professionally. The science fiction itself was kind of weak. It really couldn’t seem to decide whether history could be changed or not.

Wednesday Double Feature - Naval Time Travel - THe Philadelphia Experiment The next film on my list was The Philadelphia Experiment. I have to confess that I was going to get the 1982 film by that name. I found out when I started playing it, I had picked up turned out to be a 2012  remake made for television on SyFy.

It tells the story of a shady corporation with military connections. developing a cloaking field. In one of their experiments, they somehow bring a military destroyer, USS Eldridge, which according to urban legend was part of a similar experiment, into the present.

The Eldridge starts to teleport all over the world with the effect of its presence causing mass destruction. It’s last surviving crewman is trying to track it down and stop it. While being chased by the agents of the corporation who are trying to cover the whole thing up.

Regrettably, this movie was about what you’d expect from a film that showed on SyFy. It was heavy-handed with a by the numbers hubristic corporation along with lots of other stale cliches.