Skip to main content

Movie Review: Everest (2015)

Runtime: 121 minutes
 Rated: PG-13
Director: Baltasar Kormákur 
Writers: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy
Starring: Jason Clarke, Ang Phula Sherpa, Thomas M. Wright  
In Everest, a bunch of wealthy, ambitious people set out to climb the world's infamously tallest mountain. Said mountain is record-setting cold, subject to violent storms with ferocious winds, and has a reputation for killing many who attempt to climb it. And even when birds choose to fly around instead of over it, this doesn't stop some humans from attempting to climb it. And what do we get from their efforts? A movie about it.

The film is based on the true story of a climbing expedition from 1996 wherein 8 people died. And although no single account is credited as having been the source behind the movie, the inspiration came from William Nicholson's and Simon Beaufoy's screenplay and press materials for the movie mention both Jon Krakauer's renowned bestseller Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster and Beck Weathers' Left for Dead: My Journey Home From Everest as another source. 

With its own set of personal dynamics - and somewhat of a complex maintenance of personalities - the cast (Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, Josh Brolin, and Sam Worthington) represent a team of friends who get their kicks climbing high mountains, and now, those same friends want to reach the top of Everest. And true to form for the same director who brought us the 2012 movie Contraband, we get good character development.

Yes, the characters are as distinctly fashioned as the real-life versions they represent. Each of them have their own obvious quirks that are presented to us in short order, along with the phrase: “Human beings aren’t built to survive at the cruising altitude of a Boeing 747.”

Now from there, you’d assume the built-in character conflicts and inhospitable environment are ready to work together to just fly right off the shelves and entertain us, but you’d be wrong. At least in a made-for-TV drama, we care about the characters, but it becomes an actual mystery as to why all of this excitement is as unappealing and lifeless as it is.

And not only do the characters themselves never win us over, the plot never speaks to us since we can’t forget about the fact that what we are watching is mostly a dramatically manipulative re-creation. Scenes of frostbite, oxygen deprivation, and egos flaring are all too real, so much so that they make us feel cold and physically ill while watching.

But none of this can hide the fact that when we are watching a documentary, at least what we're seeing is honest about its intentions to inform us, as opposed to yanking our chain like this movie does in efforts to shock us into caring.

There’s probably no more dramatic of a setting for an Earth-bound survival movie than Everest (since you'd have to go to Mars to find higher mountains). But honestly, did we need a movie to tell us we will probably die climbing Everest?!


Popular posts from this blog

When Jesus Turns Down the Glory: 10 Worst Ever Christian Songs

It’s a sad testimony when even the creator of a thing realizes that the product isn’t what it was intended to be. Well, actually it’s a good thing. It just doesn’t happen often enough. The Christian music industry is, shall we say, not up to par with where its admirers (and even creators and ardent well-wishers) would hope it would be. And when even the average believer realizes that their music is not market-cornering stuff, all should know that there is a problem.

Now not all Christian music sucks (you might even find a few rock songs from artists like Petra on Joe Holman’s ipod that he still sometimes listens to and enjoys), but what makes the stuff that does suck suck is that what sucks sucks for a number of different reasons. We begin the countdown going from best of the worst to absolute worst...

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part I of II)

It’s a subject that is rarely tackled in any form outside of random questions on a message board, but here we will devote a sensible examination of it. Who – what – is the most powerful being anywhere in every realm of sci-fi or fantasy ever dreamt up by a finite human being? I’ve been contemplating this subject since I was 8 years old. At 39, it hasn’t left my mind. That means several things; (1) I’m a fucking geek. (2) I’ve invested enough of my life pondering this for it to qualify as an obsession.

As with all “Most” anything lists, we are faced with several problems, one of them being limited source material. A couple of these only made one or two brief appearances somewhere and that is all we have to go by. But sometimes, those situations let our imaginations go into overdrive and give us even more creative fun. The mystery tends to add to the experience of contemplation.

The Top 5 Most Powerful Beings in Sci-fi (Part II of II)

#1) The Douwds – From Star Trek The Next Generation

Claim to fame: This Douwd went from pacifist to mass murderer of 50 billion in a single moment of anger. He appears to hold the record for most murders in all of sci-fi.
Abilities: Just about unlimited.
Nature: True immortals.

Our winner, debatably edging out number #2, is a mysterious race of beings called the Douwds. We only get to meet one of their kind in a single episode (#51, season 3 - see the condensed version here) called “The Survivors.” It was one of the very best of any season. What little we know of this illusive race “of disguises and false surroundings” only adds to our fascination with them.

When the Enterprise gets an urgent distress call from a federation colony on Delta Rana IV about an attacking alien warship, they head over as fast as they can, but they are days away. By the time they arrive, it is too late. All are dead and the planet has been literally leveled…with the sole exception of one house and the small pa…