Sunday, September 27, 2015

My review of the movie Everest.

Click here for movie trailer

I saw Everest last night at the local IMAX. Here is my take on the movie: We went with the 3D option and there were a few parts where that effect was used in fun ways, but all in all I think your money is better spent on the 2D version. 
First of all, the movie implied a greater number of climbers than actually existed on Everest during the 1996 season. 50 climbers attempted Everest that season, a number then considered dangerous and unsustainable. Krakauer's book should have scared climbers away, but instead ignited the imagination of adventure seekers world wide. 800 individuals attempted Everest in 2013, the year I climbed it.
The movie showed drinking and dancing going on at the camps. While that may have been the case then, I saw none of that when I was there. Today's Everest climber is a serious athlete who has trained hard for months and wouldn't think of giving away any physical advantage.
There were scenes where tired climbers struggled into camp 2 (21,000) and strapped on an oxygen mask. We didn't see bottled O's until camp 3 (23,600).
That said, the entire depiction of the route was spot on. No doubt much of the footage was genuine, but scenes up high would have to have been built out in a studio and/or incorporated computer generated imagery. I was stunned by the accuracy of the Tenzing and Hilary steps. Even the slope of accent at each leg of the route was genuine. Big kudos for that. If you see this movie you will quite accurately see what an Everest climber sees on the south side route.
The storyline is well known to readers of Into Thin Air. But the script seems to also consider the sometimes contradictory account of climber Anatoli Boukreev as told in his own book The Climb. I appreciated this aspect as it allowed for Boukreev's heroics ,which are well documented outside of Krakauer's book, and Krakauer's failings, which were omitted in his own account.
The acting is solid. Josh Brolin should take home some awards for his portrayal of Beck Weathers, the brash Texan who was three times left for dead. Jason Clark did justice to Rob Hall, Kiera Knightly was fantastic as ever, Emily Watson did a excellent job of handling some of the heaviest drama as Helen Wilton, and Elizabeth Debicki played a marvelous Dr. Caroline MacKenzie .
The musical score worked well with the varying levels of intensity, the script was true to the kind of dialogue you would hear in any climbing camp, and the parts where conjecture had to fill for lack of any survivors' account seemed fairly speculated.
Two thumbs up!