Ralph Potts reviews this documentary film that provides viewers with an u- close look at one of the greatest engineering feats in the history of warfare. The modern Nimitz-class carrier is a masterpiece of technology, and the flagship of the U.S. Naval fleet.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Shout! Factory - 2018
MPAA Rating: NR
Feature running time: 43 minutes
Genre: Documentary

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH
Directed by: Stephen Low
Region Code: A

Release Date: February 5, 2019
"A 21st Century Engineering Marvel"

“The mission to protect and defend the world's oceans has become more complex and challenging in recent years, and naval aviation has become increasingly vital to success. One of the greatest engineering feats in the history of warfare, the modern Nimitz-class carrier is a masterpiece of technology, and the flagship of the fleet. With RIMPAC — the world's largest and most comprehensive maritime training exercise — providing a stunning visual context for the story, find yourself aboard the USS Ronald Reagan alongside the 5,000 highly skilled sea and air personnel conducting flight operations in the midst of the simulated war exercises taking place there.” – Shout! Factory

My Take:

Produced by K2 Communications and Giant Screen Films, and written and directed by Stephen Low (The Trolley, Rocky Mountain Express), Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas proved to be quite interesting and eye opening. Franky, I have never seen Air Craft Carriers to be anything more than transport vessels for war planes and their associated personnel. While that’s true, this film details just how sophisticated and essential they are to our naval operations.

The film presents a look at not only them but, some of our military aircraft, naval warships and the RIM Pacific exercises carried out by participants from Naval Fleets from around the globe. There’s lots of excellent footage, both past and present, to go along with it as we learn about the various tools the Navy employs and, the importance of being battle ready, which stands as a deterrent to conflict.

I really enjoyed Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas finding it to be an enlightening, albeit brief, documentary film that reminds us of the dedication, training and importance of our military personnel and the tools they employ to guarantee the blanket of freedom we all live beneath.

Replay Value:
Parental Guide:

This film is suited for general audiences.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Dolby Atmos Rating: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Level of immersion: 
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Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Shout! Factory featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video, lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtracks.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas (filmed on authentic 15 perf. 70 MM negative, and originally exhibited in IMAX theaters) was rendered from a 4K DI. This is a terrific Ultra HD presentation that looks superb on my large screen. First and foremost, the thing that immediately stands out is the lifelike reproduction of the textures captured by the camera's lens. Whether it be the finest minutia visible in the textural make-up of the interior/exterior of the naval vessels, aircraft, or uniforms worn by staff, or the majestic vistas of the Pacific, the imagery is breathtaking.

The benefits of high dynamic range are as stark as earth toned colors have an added dimension that enlivens shots where they would normally have blended in, being seen as a less provocative background element that would generally go unnoticed. The star of the show from an HDR perspective are the sequences shot at night, just after the start of RIMPAC, when the various weaponry is deployed. Everything from the launch of guided missiles, the white-hot exhaust from a jet engine or the fiery explosions from bombs striking their target feature brilliant specular details. Whites are emboldened, detailed and bright, especially when viewed in a darkened environment. Contrast abounds, lending an authenticity that underscores the subject matter, bringing it to a visually compelling level.

Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas includes 4K SDR, 4K HDR-10 and HDR-10+. My system isn’t set up for HDR-10+ so I am unable to comment on that. Hands down this is among the best-looking Ultra HD presentations that have graced my system. Kudos to Shout Factory, on a great Ultra HD presentation, that truly demonstrates the strengths of the format.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety, which considering the source material, was a pleasant surprise. Its use of audio objects placed above is comprised of a mix of atmospherics, panning fills and occasional discrete effects. This is done to good effect when implemented and creates an enriching level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. Examples can be found during many of the training sequences featuring hovering or, ascending/descending aircraft or the CGI deconstruction of the interior components of the Aircraft Carrier.

Nearfield sound placement is excellent, providing an involving listening experience that emboldens the "being there" effect. The music is subtly mixed over the platform so as to add natural depth to its orchestrated elements and vocals, without drawing attention away from the thematic details of what is transpiring onscreen. I found this to be an enjoyable audio presentation that absolutely complimented the source material.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
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  • Compression: 


Audio: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
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  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA


Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas comes to Blu-ray Disc from Shout! Factory featuring 1080p AVC encoded video, lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio soundtracks.

This is a reference quality high definition presentation that boasts vivid colors, superlative depth, and an abundance of high-level detail. The color palette is alluring as the resplendent earth toned hues leap from the 1.78:1 framed video. Contrast balance is spot on as the various shades of gray are gradationally revealing and whites appear bright with crisp highlights that preserve detail. Blacks are delineated, deep, and rich, which works hand in hand with the definitive shadow detail to provide low level images with excellent perspective and depth of field. Resolution is impeccable as the vastness and scope of the recorded elements offers lucid, three-dimensional acuity that is extraordinary. The beautifully captured images of the Pacific are captivating as the richness of color, transparently rendered detail, and near infinite sense of depth and dimension are assuredly conveyed in high definition.

The Dolby True HD 7.1 (Atmos core) and DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound have excellent dynamic range and detail. Dialog is clearly rendered in most respects although, I would have preferred that the running narration be given more prominence within the front soundstage. This isn’t an aggressive surround mix but when applied the surround channels generate plenty of atmosphere and where appropriate, discrete sound placement. Front and rear channel imaging is spot on as details and spatial cues mate perfectly with the images onscreen. Low frequency effects provide palpable richness to the music and live sounds. I found this to be an entertaining and complimentary audio presentation.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas Blu-ray
    · Audience Testimonials
    · F-35 vs. Bugatti vs. Human Cannonball
    · Usain Bolt vs. Giraffe vs. Nuclear Carrier
    · F-35 Navy Selects Reel
    · Aircraft Carrier Trailer & TV Spot
  • Digital Copy
Final Thoughts:

Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas is an enlightening, albeit brief, documentary film that reminds us of the dedication, training and importance of our military personnel and the tools they employ to guarantee the blanket of freedom we all live beneath. It comes to home video in the Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo pack from Shout! Factory featuring sparking Ultra HD video quality, rewarding lossless surround sound, including a Dolby Atmos mix, and a middling supplemental offering. Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas is an easy recommendation for genre fans and high definition video enthusiasts that appreciated a well-crafted and worthwhile film experience.
Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from  Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems