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"Carrier"
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"Carrier" More at IMDbPro »

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21 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Un-Biased look at what happens on the Nimtz when it goes to war.

10/10
Author: cmmcclurg from United States
30 April 2008

Very well made documentary about what happens aboard the USS Nimtz when it goes to war in 2005 to support Colition Forces in Iraq. It shows how the soldiers come together, despite different political views on the war, to accomplish their mission in the Persian Gulf. It gives a good look at the toll such a long deployment takes on the sailors/marines personal lives, moral and job performance. This documentary covers everything from homosexuals in the military to religion to combat and everyday life aboard the ship. Shows sailors/marines on liberty and what they are allowed to do and not to do. Also interesting is that is seems to focus more on the enlisted then the officers especially the pilots. Its nice to see a documentary on military life that just doesn't dwell on officers or pilots but focuses more on the enlisted men.

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15 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Surprising Good!

10/10
Author: Robert W. Anderson (bayareabob@mac.com) from United States
2 May 2008

PBS really surprised me with this one. I didn't think they could put out a program with so little anti-military sentiment. Another reviewer pointed out how pleasant it was to see something that didn't just focus on the Officers, and or pilots. And I'd have to agree. As a former medic (66-68) I enjoyed seeing the current military from an enlisted point of view. Being a cynic when it comes to the media's motives when it comes to hanging around the military I can't help but wonder if they weren't hoping for my negative responses and actions if they stayed around long enough. Soldiers (sailors or marines) complain a lot, it way of life in the military, and there was some complaining, but it was really interesting to see how well these kids do their jobs day after day. And some of those jobs are not that exciting. But you get to see that the military tries to do something that society as a whole should do, remind people that all jobs are important and without anyone of them the ship wouldn't work. The military understands that it's important for people to know they're doing something worth while. One thing that left me a little concerned was the mixing of genders about ship. During the first Persian Gulf War a cruiser had to be taken off line due to, to many pregnant sailors to remain combat effect. A lot of time was spent talking about male and females "hooking up" aboard ship. It's a shame that from a country of 300+million people we can't get enough volunteers to fill all the billets aboard ship. The volunteers we get a fantastic, and a credit to this country. But problems do come up with men in women thrown together for long periods of time. Stuff happens! Lastly this a very interesting series. And thank you to the men and women of the the Nimitz, and all units in all branches of the military for doing your part for our great country. It's our home.

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18 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Active duty Navy and LOVED IT!

10/10
Author: jenzenk from United States
3 May 2008

As a current active duty Chief Petty Officer and having done my time on a carrier, the honesty was refreshing. Not a recruiting tool, not propaganda, just honest life.

It portrays the real Navy, good and bad, positive and negative. Some people love it, some people hate it... what an eye opener to the civilians who enjoyed this! Yes some of us don't like our job, some of us love it, just like the rest of the world. But when we do our job right, bad people get dead! I loved it!

Sit down with this documentary and pay attention to the real people who just happen to wear a uniform for your country. We do what we do because we love our country. You will see the places we do it, and the conditions we live under. If I can ask one thing from everyone who has never been there, whether you agree with what we do or not, thank a person in uniform if you have the opportunity, it means more to us than a paycheck!

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19 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Great television for everyone

10/10
Author: GayActivist from Makakilo, Hawaii
30 April 2008

The honesty that the crew gives is what makes this documentary great TV.

This show has something for everyone! It gives you a great look inside life of Navy Aircraft Carrier. They hold no punches.

If the military thought they were going to get a recruiting tool BOY were they wrong.

After seeing just the 6 first "hours" I can understand why it took 3 years to edit.

The directors and editors deserve a big hand of getting this men and women's stories out there for everyone to see and understand.

As an ex-military brat and having an uncle in the Navy I have heard a lot of similar stories before but they all still sound fresh today.

The best part about the documentary is that they allow servicemen and women to tell their own story without any voice over!

This is a masterpiece and deserves an Emmy or two.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Objective Filming Makes For Excellent Documentary

9/10
Author: melsed_009 from United States
13 September 2010

I thought that by watching this i would gain some insight into the lives of young men and women in the Navy and I was not disappointed. It was a wonderfully candid look into the lives of these people aboard what truly is a city at sea. This documentary was a perfect example of what a sincere desire to tell as accurate a story possible can achieve. There were no subjects off limits and no agenda imposed onto the story. Just the people dealing with the situation they found themselves in at the moment. I am a unabashed liberal in my daily life and I found this just as compelling as an ex-Navy republican friend did. Whats more, the series got him to talk about HIS experience in Iraq; something I've been trying to get him to do for years. There were some serious discussions that came from our watching this, some new understandings and of course, some new disagreements. If you have a chance to watch this please do.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Clear Perspective

7/10
Author: jerryroll9094 from United States
11 March 2009

Worth the watch. I'm currently an Air Traffic Controller in the USN, but also still a newbie trying to sum up my mixed feelings for my career choice. Since I haven't been on a deployment yet, I thought I'd take a look at this documentary due to the mostly positive reviews it's received. Can't say that it has influenced my decision to re-enlist or not and go on deployment, but it did give me a decent perspective and understanding of "Carrier" life. I recommend watching it, Navy sailor or not, and enjoy the unbelievable spectacle that is defined as "ship life." I've read quite a few negative comments about this documentary involving retired sailors from the 60's,70's,80's etc. And I just have to say that I'm disappointed in their, well, complaints. It seems that sailors today aren't aloud to complain about hard ships while being underway. Life is much better in the Navy than it was in the past, but that shouldn't discredit the devotion and stress it can have on sailors today. Give it a rest retirees, we know you had it rough, but don't hate us for having it slightly better.

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5 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

American Society in Miniature

9/10
Author: Donal Fagan from Baltimore MD, USA
12 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I'm a sucker for documentaries. Even though PBS comes in with lots of ghosting and static, I watched the first five episodes, then bought the DVD to watch the rest. My father was a carrier pilot, but beyond that personal connection, it is interesting to see the different military mindsets up and down the ranks. To some extent, our American class structure replicates itself on board the Nimitz. Non-commissioned support grades are highly integrated while command is still largely, though not entirely, white and male. Command staff are generally gung-ho patriotic; Lower ranks are often just as intense but some express, "It's just a job" or, "We're here for the oil" opinions, too. If Carrier is any indication, the Navy offers full employment, hard work, intense supervision and the sort of camaraderie you don't always find on dry land. That so many of these folk admitted they needed all that is a sad commentary on parenting, schooling and society.

The documentary is definitely character-driven, with some personal revelations drawing gasps from my wife, who identified all too well with the working class element on board. One episode featured a good ol' OK boy that just couldn't (or wouldn't) get past his racist upbringing. Another sad moment was the fallout from an inebriated sexual encounter, while on liberty, between two shipmates that barely even knew each other.

Update: I think I can see why some have complained about the personal stories. Whereas the first five or six hours struck a good balance between the requirements of the mission and the personal stories of the crew, the last three or four hours focused almost entirely on personal situations. To some extent this is understandable since the primary mission was completed, but as much as I connected with their stories, all that personal griping did become a bit tedious.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Perhaps the best documentary I have ever seen

10/10
Author: Rob Jackson from United States
2 April 2011

The best documentary on life aboard a US Navy ship that I have ever seen. One thing that really sets this series apart is that there is no narration. The officers, sailors, and marines tell the story - not someone else. It must have taken a herculean effort to make a cohesive story from the individual interviews and footage, but the result of the effort shows. This series also focuses on the everyday issues in sailors lives, not just the flying and fun. Exceptional. See this is you want to know what it is really like on a ship at sea. Not the Hollywood version, but real life.

I am a Navy veteran and a former aviator. This documentary shows squadron life in the way it really is. It also covers modern warship life, from the top to bottom. In fact, I have asked my son to watch it as he contemplates joining the Navy himself. I am reluctant to give anything 10 stars, but have this series deserves it. Watch it!

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Good view of Carrier Life from the bottom to the top

8/10
Author: wlb from Sacramento CA
24 May 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was pleasantly surprised at the range of people who were interviewed for this series. From the guy taking out the garbage and a low ranked enlisted female scrubbing the stoves (all the while being near harassed by a Petty Officer to "do it right" (being in her place you'd want to say "get off my "rear" and let me do my job" - from the Captain to the pilots - Navy and Marine - really gave an honest view of what life is aboard a huge - 5,000 crew - Nimitz-class carrier.

Without giving too many spoilers I recommend this series - I ended up buying the DVD - of honest life aboard a carrier.

Some of the things that stood out - was the sacrifices some make with their families being gone for 6 months - or more. There was a mother of 3 children - an air traffic controller - in the Navy for 16 years - waiting to meet her children in Hawaii near the close of the deployment - a pilot whose wife had a miscarriage while he was at sea feeling helpless - A tough Marine Gunnery Sgt in near tears because he couldn't be with his pregnant wife - I believe the military wives (and husbands now?) deserve as much credit as their deployed military spouses. I always felt that but this brought it up close and personal.

Another segment that really stood out for me was the practice touch and goes - with a ship in seas so rough an old hand said he hadn't seen as bad for 20 years - with the Captain deciding that these conditions would warrant some practice.

Imagine being in a plane approaching at 150 mph or so - trying to catch one of 3 cables on a deck that rode up and down vertically 20 feet - a very dangerous time. Some Navy archival videos will show you just how dangerous.

By the way, the Special Features alone are worth the price of the DVD - one segment deals with flight deck operations - "one of the most dangerous places on earth". Some of Navy archive videos will show you why.

The more I have watched this DVD set, the more I have been amazed at the sheer scope and quality of this production. I am trying to just imagine the job on the cutting room floor - what to keep and what to edit to get down to 10 hours of viewing.

Out of a crew of 5,000 they profiled close up about 12-15 - with the different things going on in their lives, their jobs...

Working on the flight deck in 140 degree temperatures - being aware that a moment's inattention can mean death....

You start the 10 hour series leaving San Diego and by the time you have returned to San Diego you will have gotten as close to reality of a 6 month carrier deployment that you will get without actually enlisting...

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

End of the American Dream in a Miniature

8/10
Author: aedesjanus from United States
20 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Chermayeff's 10 part series documents the Nimitz deployment from May to November 2005. The USS Nimitz is the paradigmatic symbol of US superpower status, costing more than 4.5 Billion Dollars to build (there are 10 such carriers in the class).

3,200 men and women live on the ship during a six month deployment. The ship's crew is predominantly in their 20's. The majority of them have left failed, disturbed, and alienated conditions to join the Navy for a better life. The recruitment dovetails squarely with the failure of US civil society. The Navy's regimented and autonomy-disabling culture is paired with an ideology of perfect performance and spotless adherence to codes of conduct. The sheer aesthetic and sensual mastery necessary to produce split-second cooperation between the hundreds of specialists needed to keep this technological genius functioning is surreal. Even the slightest error anywhere in the system could mean failure, disgrace, injury or death.

And yet one cannot avoid the fact that this intensity and immediacy is anchored by the failures that brought them there. (The class of officers and airmen work as hard, but their path is often so different that I will exclude them here). The voiding of their expectation to decide what values their efforts are applied to is a necessary pre-requisite for their perfect functioning. The military industrial complex has collected untold wealth from the machines that the crew operate. The purpose of the machines is to be determined by that complex together with whatever political irrationality is currently being reproduced by and through it. The wealth is created by depriving each of these individuals of adequate public goods, creating the basis for their voluntary functionalization. Whatever they actually are permitted to earn is garnished as part of this circle implicating them.

In the sum, the crew find themselves, replete with their human needs for recognition, belonging, and desire for sacrifice, on "Old Salt". Once there, they grow up socialized into a grand identification with their own substantive evacuation. They become great Americans, displaying truly virtuous characteristics, yet having been never allowed to decide what outcome these sacrifices and efforts are applied to. The pain and ambivalence of facing the failures of the civil society around them are superbly blocked by immediacy and physicality.

Carrier embodies a society that has downloaded (privatized) economic and societal failure onto its underclass. The ideology of self-loathing and violence that marks the backgrounds of the crew are sublated and put at the disposal of the very forces that have wounded them. They are all disparate members of an empire whose purpose is its own reproduction. Their sensual perfection marks the moment where they actually become one with themselves in that alienation. The Hegelian moment is unavoidable. By not-being they are reproducing the empire, which is more than they could ever be alone. It is however missing the crucial dialectical pole of having the freedom in consciousness and context to decide when the relinquishment of that subjective moment is just. Chermayeff's film captures this subtly but effectively. The film's aesthetics don't turn away from the tremendous power and majesty of the end product, while taking the time to explore the lives of simple crew members. It's this juxtaposition which exposes the Nimitz as the symbolic centerpiece of American societal oligarchy.

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