The Movie: 8/10
I have to say it, this movie made me think, made me empathize, and made me COLD. I have never had much empathy for the doers of extreme activities that end up injuring or killing those doers. I always came to the conclusion that “hey, you decided to jump out of that plane for no good reason, just for the thrill of it, and now you are a stain on the ground…so what was the point?” It’s true, that sounds harsh for sure and I now I realize it’s not entirely fair. I mean, if my standard for an activity is that is has some kind of meaning or purpose or greater good for someone, why the hell do I draw pictures or write these reviews? The thing has always been that these extreme activities, like climbing Mount Everest serve no purpose whatsoever, just stroking the ego, giving that person something they can brag about for the rest of their lives and when they lose their lives doing it, with all due respect, my shoulder would pop up and I got that look on my face, you know the one.
This movie actually put a new light on all that for me. I still see it as an ego thing, I mean, the individual climbing that mountain, or any mountain, for any reason other than pure survival and necessity is truly doing it so they can get up every morning for all their days and pat themselves on the back while those around them can’t say they’ve done that one thing. The difference now in how I look at it is that maybe that’s not such a choice for these people, not without the desire tugging at them chronically like a pain inside they can’t get rid of without “the climb”. Sure, there are those characters who make it seem like nothing more than a sport, a hobby, or that one challenge they can conquer, but most of the people we meet are written in a way that almost defines them as people by their untamed desire to climb this mountain. The empathy started growing right a way when we met our leading characters. The lead of one of the teams, a man who owns a company taking groups up the mountain. He’s reasonable, calm, and we know his motivation is money, but even that doesn’t take away from his attention to detail, his devotion to the people on his team, and it’s obvious that he and his wife have that chronic drive to climb. Other characters include a working man who can barely afford the climb but wants to show young people you can achieve anything. Another is a woman who simply quietly convinces me that once a person has these desires in them, they cannot stop and still have peace in their lives. She had climbed all the tallest mountains in the world and it now makes sense to me that she would NEED to conquer this one.
We have another team leader who simply seems to be part of this big pile of rock. It seems he’s nothing more or less than tied to the Earth and nature almost and the drive to help people achieve this very difficult challenge. Don’t forget, these are based on real people who have living relatives who gave the cast and crew information about their family members who did this particular climb back in 1996. It’s based on a true event, which always comes with a bit of a thread of Hollywood interpretation, so you need to cut it in half or thirds to get to some truth. It just seems obvious that they took the time and effort to portray the heart of these people, not any of my preconceived notions of obsession or ego maniac or jock attitude that would never have given me the chance to almost understand them.
I will never be that person, the one who has a goal and then will do anything to get there. I don’t have things that nag at me in life. I don’t have a black cloud of depression over my head, as one character describes, that is lifted by any particular activity. I can’t fully get in their heads. What I can do now, because this movie is high quality in how they portray the individuals in the story, is to respect that when someone makes a choice like climbing the highest mountain on this planet, jumping out of a plane (which I would do in a second by the way), or drive a car faster than a human should move, and things go wrong, not to think it’s a waste or that it was pointless. They have their reasons and if the consequences of their choices are bleak, well, that’s that.
I haven’t talked much about stuff like the performances, the special effects or stunts or music, but that’s because it’s all good, all good. It’s that kind of movie that because it’s made with such care and detail that all i was thinking about was the people, and real people, real life, the way we choose to live and the things we don’t choose about our lives. That says a lot about this movie as a whole. It’s so good my mind was free to just go on the journey with the characters, feel the cold of the bitter winds, dig deep into their struggles, and everything else melted away.
- Learning To Climb: The Actors Journey (5 Minutes) – A look at the intense training the actors went through before the shoot.
- A Mountain Of Work: Recreating Everest (5 Minutes) – A look at the green screen version of the mountain that was seamlessly used in the film.
- Race To The Summit: The Making Of Everest (11 Minutes) – A short making of piece that covers a lot of ground on and off the mountain. Topics covered include choosing locations, the actors craft and a look at the directors vision.
- Aspiring To Authenticity: The Real Story (7 minutes) – Easily the best extra on the disc as real life loved ones recount the experience of the tragedy.
- Feature Commentary With Director – Director Balthasar Kormakur takes us on a very interesting journey through this commentary track, it’s full of real life stories and a lot of back detail on the real life events.
- DVD & UV Digital Copy
Cover Art: 6/10
The cover on this review is not the cover on the box, or not our box at least. The one we have has just the mountain, which is way better. I would have the mountain picture as a poster in my house, but not this cover.
Audio & Video: 10/10
Everest is a film with a lot of light and shadows and Universal’s 1080P AVC encoded disc is simply a marvel. So much detail is crammed into this movie from frostbite on faces to the cracks in the great mount Everest itself. I saw no signs of blocking or banding at all even on our 103 inch projection screen. Everest is an amazing looking film and an amazing looking Blu-Ray transfer from Universal.
Dolby Atmos is the flavor of codec used here so if you have the right equipment you will really feel like you are climbing the big mountain. For those of you with 5.1 setups I can say you are in for an equal treat as this is a mind-blowing track that really takes you to the mountain. Dialog is centered and never muffled even when an avalanche is taking place, surround sound comes from all angles. This is a very impressive technical movie in all aspects that has to be seen and HEARD to be believed.
Overall Score 8/10