Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas

IMAX movies at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center are always a blast. It’s the first dome IMAX theatre in the U.S. (since the early ‘70s), and you can make a day out of going to Balboa Park before or after a film.

The new picture showing there is Aircraft Carrier: Guardian of the Seas. For those of you like me, that were disappointed in the last Guardians of the Galaxy, perhaps a similar titled movie that…instead of dealing with spaceships fighting in the sky…has battleships fighting in the seas.

The movie gives us an interesting history of some of the naval battles of the past. There’s the Battle of Jutland in 1916. It was the last major battle in world history fought mostly with battleships. Going back further, to the early 1800s…we learn about Napoleon fighting out at sea.

Yet the filmmakers wisely don’t spend too much time there. Why would you, when you have these incredible masterpieces of technology that can float in the ocean. As we learned in the movie, with the nuclear power they have, they can go for 20 years without refueling (although you’d probably run out of grub).

There’s some dazzling war footage involving submarines and jets, but it’s the aircraft carrier footage that’s impressive. Especially when we learn about the catapults that get the jets going from 0 to 160 in three seconds before launching them into the air. And after we see numerous jets taking off, we learn about a more impressive feat; perhaps the most difficult thing in aviation — landing on an aircraft carrier. Easily the most impressive footage is how they quickly, in one long shot, go from the deck of the carrier into the machines underneath and explain how the steam and compression gets everything working.

I brought a friend that’s a World War II buff and loves military movies. He was thrilled to see the U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, since he went on a seven day cruise on that carrier. He also talked about being involved in those walks on the deck, where everyone looks for things that could possibly get sucked into the jet engines. Things as small as a screw could cause a plane to go down.

You get to witness the world’s largest international maritime training exercise, and you get to meet many of the 5,000 personnel onboard doing various jobs.

Top all that off with a Hans Zimmer score, and there’s really no reason to miss this.

I’m giving it 3 stars.

It’s playing at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center now.