If you had to make a list of things you want to do in your lifetime, what would they be? Most people would have simple things like backpack across Europe or maybe cross the planet in a sailboat. For some though that list would include extreme things, and at the top, of course it would be to climb Mount Everest. No one had done it until 1953 when Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay first conquered the mountain. Now over 4000 people have scaled the world’s tallest mountain, many of which are lead by guided climbs.
In 1996 these guided climbs were really starting to take off. Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) led one of those climbs, and took pride in the fact that he had never lost anyone on an expedition. This year though, the mountain is getting crowed, as three other guided tours are also taking place around the same time. Hall teams up with one of the other groups lead by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), so that they have the extra manpower if any trouble arises. The climb starts off as normal as it can, with everyone excited to reach the summit. There are a few speed bumps along the way, but they eventually make it to the top. The problems begin on the decent, as a monster storm hits, causing confusion and tough choices for the climbers involved, and it will take both knowledge and luck to survive.
“Everest” is based on the expedition that author Jon Krakauer was part of and retold in his book “Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster”. Knowing that story should only excite you at what “Everest” could be, in that sense it doesn’t let you down. Movie Magic has come a long way since this story was told in a TV movie in 1997. Now the mountain comes alive on the big screen as you are put in the middle of it all with a 3-D viewing of the movie. William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy write the screenplay with no credit going to the novel, and Baltaser Knrmakur handles the direction. The filmmakers bring the rush as you spend a lot of the film climbing to the peak. When the storm hits, you are glued to the action on the screen as you wonder who will survive. The cast is good, as John Hawkes, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, and Sam Worthington help Jason Clarke attempt to survive the climb. The film keeps your interests, with very few stumbling points. Some of the places it does struggle are with such a large cast some of the character bits seem to get lost, like Fischer’s story which seems more like an afterthought more than anything. I could now go on and tell you how “Everest” reaches the peak of entertainment, or how it straddles the edge of action and drama, but why would I want to do that. Instead I will say “Everest” is a fun ride that deserves to be seen on the biggest screen possible, it is well worth the climb.