1 votes 3.3

Synopsis

Two groups, one led by Rob Hall and the other by Scott Fischer, encounter several challenges and threatening weather conditions as they attempt to scale Mount Everest.

Review

Disclosure: my opinions are based purely on the movie and not the real-life tragic incident.

I wanted to review a disaster movie and it was a toss-up between The Day After Tomorrow, 2012, Volcano, Deep Impact and Everest.  I landed on Everest because I had only watched the movie once back in 2015 when I was on a date, and I remembered being impressed by its beautiful visuals and how the cinematography captured Mount Everest’s lethality but ultimately, I found the movie forgettable after leaving the cinema. This was a disappointment for me considering Everest was one of the highly anticipated movies of that year and featured a star-studded cast, however, the movie never quite reached its peak.

Having now watched the movie again, the biggest pitfall is the pacing.  Most of the runtime is dedicated to the climb up the mountain instead of the impending storm that took the lives of 8 climbers in May 1996.  Usually, this would not bother me because I am a fan of slow-burning movies as long as the payoff is worth the wait, however, even with so much time spent with the climbers during the ascent to the summit, I felt there was very little character development and therefore when the blizzard hits 1 hour and 16 minutes into the movie I felt no emotional response. 

I feel that this specific story would have worked much better as a TV series. A series could allocate time to develop each character’s individual personalities instead of them becoming typical movie stereotypes.  Having said that, all the cast performed very well with the script they were given, particularly Jason Clarke playing New Zealand mountaineer Robert Hall whose final scene speaking with his wife (played by Keira Knightley) over the radio was for me, the most gripping scene of the entire movie. 

What this movie lacked in character-building was made up for by its impeccable special effects and sound design.  Ever wondered what it sounded like being on a mountain nearly 30,000 feet above sea level? Well, Everest certainly places you right into the action with the sound of ferocious winds and the snowy blizzard that sent shivers down my body. 

The locations, set designs and CGI are outstanding.  Whether it is the busy streets of Nepal, the base camps up Everest or the summit, it always feels that you are right there on the mountain.  The film succeeds with showing us how dangerous climbing Mount Everest can be, for example, the mountain being too crowded with guided tours, not having spare oxygen tanks, and needing to walk over a ladder to cross a deep crevasse to name just a few.  Overall, the movie shows how commercialised climbing Mount Everest has become which only adds more obstacles when the storm hits.

The make-up artists also deserve a special mention; Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) says it best in the movie “Human beings simply aren’t built to function at the cruising altitude of a 747. Once we get above here, above the South Col, our bodies will be literally dying. And I mean literally dying. It’s not called the Death Zone for nothing”. The make-up team succeed in making the cast look like they are literally freezing to death, and I must mention a scene in particular where Beck Weathers, played by Josh Brolin, suffers horrific frostbite across his face and hands.  If you didn’t know any better, you would think his injuries were real!

Overall, Everest is not so much a disaster movie but an adventure survival flick.  The marketing for the movie was slightly misleading however, the movie is very intense once the storm hits and it’s a movie I would recommend watching just for the story and visuals.