Everest is the tale of how Ted Moult built up his famous double-glazing company… Well, at least that’s what I was led to believe… (not really).
As of 1992, it had become a business for climbers to be guided up Mount Everest, and this film tells the tale of a big climb to be made on May 10th 1996. It’s a climb that worked for some – to a degree, but due to weather conditions, and a bizarre situation on the Hillary Step, it led to a number of casualties including some fatalities. Who lives and who dies? That’s what you’ll only find out by watching.
I hadn’t been expecting too much from this film as the trailer made it look like it had a plot akin to a ‘TV movie of the week’, and that’s precisely how it was scripted. Still, it was paced rather well for the most part with some interesting educational aspects of it, such as one character declaring it costs $65,000 to go up there, and also how they do three acclimatising attempts as a prelude to making the climb on the day, including going through the perilous icy section as depicted on the poster. After around 90 minutes, however, it felt like the film started to sag as they just focussed mainly on one character for too long.
Stand-out characters include Rob Hall (Terminator Genisys‘ Jason Clarke), the main guide for Adventure Consultants, one of many companies taking clients up the mountain – which causes another problem as the route gets overcrowded and people fall over etc; Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin – Inherent Vice) – a doctor who’s also an experienced climber; Doug Hansen (John Hawkes – y’know, him who runs the store at the start of From Dusk Till Dawn), Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler) – another guide, but more of a maverick than Rob; and Yasuko Namba (the stunning Naoko Mori – Torchwood), who just needs to climb Everest in order to complete all of the seven Summits and become the oldest woman to do so in the process.
That’s not to say the acting’s to a high standard, since no-one’s really firing on a full oxygen tank in this cast, even the usually reliable Emily Watson, here as Everest Base Camp manager Helen Wilton. And Keira Knightley is less animated than Little Frank (Frank Sidebottom’s sidekick, who’s made of cardboard) for all the difference her bland performance makes, literally phoning it in as Rob’s wife Jan, since she spends the entire movie at home, periodically talking on the phone to Base Camp.
And yes, there are too many characters. Hence, despite them all being based on real people, there were a fair few who fell into the basckground, figuratively speaking.
As the film progresses, you learn that certain characters have died along the way and, while you’ll know about some of these – since their fates play out for the camera, there are still a few which leave you thinking, “Really? When?? That wasn’t covered at all”. But then again, only certain characters have a direct comms link back to Base Camp, and are giving updates about their position, so I realised it stands to reason that you won’t get to hear the minutae about all of them.
I saw this in IMAX 3D, and I normally don’t bother with 3D if a film wasn’t shot that way, since it was all done in post-production, but I had a spare ticket for IMAX so chose their biggest screen to go with it. You’d think 3D would suit it, but it’s barely used. Even the sweeping vistas would look just as majestic in 2D – it’s more important that you’re watching this on a big cinema screen rather than at home on the TV, even though that’s where it will end up.
And why was it a 12-certificate? There’s no strong language, no violence, nothing offensive at all. Okay, so some characters suffer because they’re inadequately prepared, but I think if this film had been made in the days before the 12-cert had come about, it would’ve been awarded a PG, no problem.
One main moan about Everest is that there’s no replay value in it. Once you’ve seen it from start to finish, there’s nothing in it at all that will make you go back for a repeat viewing. Then again, it would be good to rewatch it if only to put the subtitles on, since the dialogue is often muffled, given the conditions on the mountain.
At least there’s not much in the way of “OMG! I can’t leave a man behind!!” moments, although they do occasionally fit in some cheesy dialogue, such as when horrendous weather is forecast, but like a Macho Man with something to prove, he states in a manly fashion that “the mountain makes its own weather”. Oh, purlease!
One last bit which I’ll enclose within a spoiler heading… (even though it’s not really a spoiler, but don’t read before you’ve seen the film)
Running time: 121 minutes
Studio: Universal Pictures UK
Format: 2.35:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K) and Redcode RAW (6K))
Released: September 11th 2015 (IMAX 3D exclusive), September 18th 2015 (general release)
Director: Baltasar Kormákur
Producers: Nicky Kentish Barnes, Tim Bevan, Liza Chasin, Eric Fellner, Evan Hayes, Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson
Screenplay: William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy
Music: Dario Marianelli
Rob Hall: Jason Clarke
Beck Weathers: Josh Brolin
Scott Fischer: Jake Gyllenhaal
Yasuko Namba: Naoko Mori
Doug Hansen: John Hawkes
Helen Wilton: Emily Watson
Andy ‘Harold’ Harris: Martin Henderson
Jon Krakauer: Michael Kelly
Guy Cotter: Sam Worthington
Peach Weathers: Robin Wright
Jan Arnold: Keira Knightley
Ang Dorjee: Ang Phula Sherpa
Michael Groom: Thomas M Wright
Neal Beidleman: Tom Goodman-Hill
Lene Gammelgaard: Charlotte Bøving
Lopsang: Pemba Sherpa
Charlotte Fox: Amy Shindler
Tim Madsen: Simon Harrison
Klev Schoening: Chris Reilly
John Taske: Tim Dantay
Frank Fischbeck: Todd Boyce
Lou Kasischke: Mark Derwin
Caroline Mackenzie: Elizabeth Debicki
Ian Woodall: Justin Salinger
Sandy Hill Pittman: Vanessa Kirby
Meg Weathers: Mia Goth
Bub Weathers: Stormur Jón Kormákur Baltasarsson
Anatoli Boukreev: Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson
Stuart Hutchison: Demetri Goritsas
Makalu Gau: Chike Chan
David Breashears: Micah Hauptman
Ed Viesturs: Clive Standen
Janie: Nancy Baldwin
Linda: Lucy Newman-Williams
Colonel Madan: Vijay Lama
Co-Pilot: Avin Shah
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.