Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas (4K UHD)
Shout Factory // Unrated // $39.99 // February 5, 2019
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted April 1, 2019
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Aircraft Carriers: Guardians of the Sea 4K Review

Aircraft Carrier: Guardians of the Seas is an IMAX documentary which takes an inside look at the world of high-tech aircraft carriers. The film was shot in native 4K resolution and offers up some interesting imagery of the ships which house these air-crafts. For anyone with an interest in the technology and mechanics this is worth admission. You can experience learning more about the important history of aircraft carriers alongside seeing stunning imagery of these ships.

The film takes audiences on a narrated tour of some of the sea's high-tech carriers and introduces us to the world of the navy crew who works tirelessly to help protect the ocean. Utilizing a top-of-the-line RIMPAC training program (which is glimpsed at during the film), the film ebbs and flows between exploring the history of naval crafts to exploring the mission of these crews. The various types and styles of aircraft's are highlighted throughout the feature: from Nimitz and Ford Class carriers to Virginia Class submarines and F-35 fighter jets.

The documentary includes detailed information about the technological development of aircraft carriers to delving further into the first-hand exploration of the crew's on-hand training sessions while being out-at-sea. As the ships crews prepare for the aircraft's to take flight the crew must work tirelessly to make sure these flights and landings are successful and safe.

The film was produced and optimized for giant IMAX screens. Unfortunately, unlike previous Shout Factory IMAX documentary releases, this one drops the 3D Blu-ray disc entirely and is just the 4K + Blu-ray as a combo pack release. That is the one main draw-back to this particular release. However, fans of these ongoing IMAX documentary releases should be pleased Aircraft Carrier: Guardians of the Seas has been given a high-quality presentation. Documentary fans with an interest in naval history should take a look.

The 4K UltraHD Blu-ray:


Aircraft Carrier: Guardians of the Seas arrives on 4K UltraHD from Shout Factory. This is a top-notch looking 4K release with excellent colors and overall detail. The film has crisp definition which allows audiences to see the details of these ships and their mechanical engineering.

This is a native 4K release (not an upscaled source) and it has a number of visually impressive sequences which stun with the heightened visual presentation.

The 4K HDR video is presented in 2160p 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and has much deeper blacks, brighter whites, and greater color reproduction. The only drawback to this presentation is extremely minor banding which seems inherent to the source material. There is also some archival video and photographs which do not benefit as much from the resolution increase.


The audio is presented with Dolby Atmos surround sound. This is a dynamically rich sound design for a documentary. While one can't expect the sound design to match that of a high-budget Hollywood spectacle, the Atmos audio does do a good job of opening-up the sound-stage for more immersion for the experience.

English SDH subtitles are provided for the deaf and hard of hearing.


The release includes a handful of extras. On disc supplements include:

Audience testimonials (HD, 5 min.) features afterthoughts of various attendees who saw an IMAX screening of the film in theaters.

F-35 vs. Bugatti vs. Human Cannonball (HD, 1 min.) is a brief video exploring the question of "who would win a race" between three components at different speeds.

Usain Bolt vs. Giraffe vs. Nuclear Carrier (HD, 1 min.) is another brief video exploring the question of "who would win the race" between the three components traveling at different speeds.

F-35 Navy Selects Reel (HD, 3 min.) showcases some of the F-35.

Lastly, the release includes the Aircraft Carrier trailer and TV spots as well as trailers promoting other Shout Factory released IMAX documentaries.

Final Thoughts:

Aircraft Carrier: Guardians of the Seas is a interesting documentary feature exploring the world of high-tech ships carrying and housing the various aircrafts flown out-at-sea.

The film does focus more intently on the technology than on the human aspect of the men and women who make up these teams (which is the one area of the documentary I felt could have been expanded upon) but the film is an interesting glimpse into this technology nonetheless.

While the documentary is worth-watching and the technical merits of this 4K release are strong, replay value feels almost non-existent. This release is worth a rental to see once but is probably not worth a purchase.

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