One of the event movies that I missed in the theaters late last year. Oh, I pondered seeing it in IMAX 3D…but ended up choosing “The Walk” for that format, right around the same time. Maybe I skipped it because watching Philippe Petit cross a tight rope between the Twin Towers gave me heart palpitations. I reason “Everest” might have killed me! Besides, I’ve got a giant, flat-panel, 3D television in my family room, with a room-shaking 5 speakers in the ceiling. That should do, right? And it worked pretty well. Chiefly, I was impressed that the movie sucked me in as much as it did.
Based on the disastrous 1996 Mount Everest expedition that killed eight people, “Everest” is effectively directed by Baltasar Kormakur. The feel of ascending the world’s tallest mountain is strong (I won’t say realistic…how the HELL would I know!). The all-star cast approach reminds one (of a certain age) of that Irwin Allen approach from the 1970’s. The movie stars stay pretty grounded here though…no flamboyance or show-boating detected. In fact, it’s a solid, workmanlike effort from all, with a decent screenplay, from William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy. Plot description? Giant mountain. Disparate group of people attempt to climb it. Big storm approaches.
The cast includes Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington, and Jake Gyllenhaal. Wow. They don’t all go up the mountain, but they are all based on real folks. Michael Kelly portrays author Jon Krakauer, who later wrote the best-selling chronicle of the tragedy, Into Thin Air, but the film is not officially based on his book. I didn’t employ the 3D conversion on my theater system at home. Instead, I simply watched “Everest” flat, and got involved with the story and admired the visuals. The movie is impressive for its earnestness and its scale. Give it a try.