Plot: An aircraft carrier is a true marvel of engineering, a full mobile base of operations with immense firepower and the potential to change the course of battle just by being present. To hear about these behemoths is impressive, but to see them is to understand the sheer size and scope of such a creation. But of course, the chance to be up close and personal is not a common instance for most people, let alone a chance to tour it in depth and see all of the craftsmanship first hand. That is just what Guardian of the Seas offers however, an inside look at how the USS Ronald Reagan functions and the myriad of Naval activities that take place there. There’s also a look back at some historical footage to shed more light on the topic, but for the most part, this is a look at how the forces on board and the incredible carrier itself.
Entertainment Value: This IMAX documentary only runs just over forty minutes, but it delivers all the visual spectacle you could want from the unique locale of an aircraft carrier and then some. I’ve seen other similar IMAX movies about jets of course, but Guardians of the Seas gives us the up close rush of the planes in action, with intense takeoff and landing sequences, as well as some stunning aerial photography that allows an epic perspective on the USS Ronald Reagan. So while other IMAX films have included jets, they’re given extra scope here and captured in new ways, not to mention they’re just part of the formula in this one. One criticism I’ve read is that the historical footage isn’t on par with the new sequences, but that is to be expected after all and I think the older footage is a welcome, necessary element here. I also appreciated getting a small look into what life on an aircraft carrier is like, so I think Guardian of the Seas provides a varied, always interesting look into the subject matter. For fans of IMAX, military topics, or documentaries in general, this one is recommended.
The Disc: Shout Factory’s release includes both 4k UHD and Blu-ray versions of the movie, which is of course great news, as the IMAX style visuals benefit greatly from the 4k experience. This movie looks good, but isn’t one of Shout’s best looking 4k titles, as there are some digital issues and inconsistent detail levels at times. These aren’t massive concerns, but given that the visuals are the main draw for a film of this kind, they do prove to be an issue. I think detail in general is fine, but some scenes are razor sharp and others appear much softer, so there is not consistent visual depth, though again, on the whole, the presentation is passable. The colors pop however, which ensures the visuals grab your attention throughout. The extras includes audience testimonials, some speed comparisons, tv spots, and the film’s trailer.