Everest was an enormous experience, with vast wide-panning shots and immersive depth -it’s like a nature show with a story attached. It’s hard for me to review movies that are true stories, because there is only so much artistic leeway the writers and directors can take before the story becomes – not true. This is something I think a lot of people have a hard time understanding, they want the fairy-tale endings or unbelievable twists but with true stories that rarely happens.
I liked Everest, I thought it was a well put together adventure/survival film, it focuses on the true story of thrill seeking mountain climbers in 1996 looking to scale Everest, unlike a small group of climbers this time there were many taking advantage of the commercial adventure business where people from all over the world pay huge sums of money to be taken (lead) up the mountain by experienced climbers. Though most of the climbers were very experienced on other peaks, Everest is a different beast.
We get sufficient backstory on most of the main characters, there were several “competing” climber groups, one led by Jake Gyllenhaal’s character, one lead by Jason Clarke’s character (Rob Hall), and a bunch of other groups we don’t see too much of. Rob’s group was the main focus of the story so we learned more about them than some of the other characters in the movie. In my opinion, they did a good job making us connect with the subjects of the movie, by providing backstory we felt like we knew them and when some of them passed on it was obviously harder than if we hadn’t cared at all about them.
I had to wonder if the movie was being truthful or if it was taking some artistic license but something that struck me as odd is that at several points in the movie the characters do not wear face masks or eye protections, and some even took off their gloves while climbing on the mountain. Everest reaches negative temps often so this seems foolish to me, I want to know if this is something the climbers did (and do routinely) in real life or if this was just something done so we could better keep track of who was who in the film.
The best thing Everest did was highlight just how helpless you are out in the wilderness and 25,000 feet in the air. There is no help, if you get stranded you’re pretty much on your own, helicopters can’t fly to the peak (air is too thin) and there are chasms and cliffs that make any form of ground transport impossible. It’s truly amazing that people risk so much, just to do something very few have. We see several of the movie’s main characters willing to risk death to achieve their dream.
The people I saw Everest with gave the movie a mixed bag, some thought it was boring, some liked it (myself included) and others liked it but were disappointed with some of the outcomes (why I mentioned the true story bit at the beginning). There were no non-3D showings on Friday night so we went at noon on Saturday, I definitely don’t think 3D would be necessary but I’d highly recommend seeing this movie in IMAX if you have the choice.
8/10 Good (but not uplifting) Film
I found Everest to be somewhat of a disappointment. I get that its a true story, so it’s hard to exaggerate many aspects to make it more entertaining. However, like Bishop said, there were many parts of the movie where common sense didn’t prevail. When you’re on a mountain as high as a commercial airplane flies you would think to cover your face and eyes at all times. There were parts of it where they weren’t even wearing gloves on the mountain. That sure as hell is one way to quickly die of frost bite! Same with the tinted goggles. I can’t even go outside when there’s a little bit of sun without sunglasses cause I feel like my retinas are gonna burn out. With all white snow reflecting sunlight like a mirror in your face I don’t know how the hell you could go five minutes there without going blind. Now to mention how much water is in your eyes to keep them from drying out.
Another part of the movie that I found shaky to believe is the part where Doug Hansen (played by John Hawkes) gets to the top of Mount Everest with the help of Rob Hall (played by Jason Clarke). Both men died on their way down from the mountain and I doubt anyone found the camera that they took pictures with when they got to the top. Do we know for sure that they made it to the top? Do we even know at exactly which part of the mountain they died on? I suppose they could considering that other people have climbed the mountain since 1996 when these events took place and they found their bodies. But again it’s a true story but it’s also still a movie that they have to connect some pieces together to make things fit.
I also found the dramatic ‘this might be the last time you hear from me darling’ scenes to be too time consuming. I felt like most of the movie were parts where the climbers were calling their families from the mountain saying ‘I love you honey and take care of the kids while I’m in heaven’. I mean it was like they were trying to recreate the magic that was in Titanic where Rose and Jack are floating on the door saying ‘don’t let go, don’t let go!’ only for Jack (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) to drown leaving Rose (played by Kate Winslet) to survive. I felt like that was most of the movie.
5/10 Boring Overly Dramatic Film