By Linley McCord
The movie drought is over: theaters are beginning to refill their screens with fall blockbusters, starting with “Everest.” The movie is a gripping story that follows a group of climbers trying to summit the most daunting mountain on earth. It’s based on the 1996 Everest expedition disaster, and you can find a firsthand account of the event in the memoir “Into Thin Air” by journalist Jon Krakauer.
Visually beautiful, “Everest” follows a team from all over the world as they come to tackle the mountain. Led by Rob Hall (Jason Clarke—he was in “The Great Gatsby” and “Zero Dark Thirty”), a group of experienced climbers voyages to Nepal and bond together as a team to attempt the hike of a lifetime. They meet up with Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) and his team at base camp to start the strenuous training on Everest.
With a May 10 summit date, the teams decide to partner up to alleviate all the responsibilities of getting a team up the mountain by themselves. Scott Fischer is the stereotypical mountaineer—a bearded and man-bunned hippie—and Rob Hall is the caring New Zealander with an expecting and doting wife at home (played by Keira Knightly). On the way down, a devastating snowstorm crashes on the mountain, dangerously scattering the teams.
The most astounding parts of the movie were the shots of the mountain and storm. While you realize the storm is digitally made, it still takes your breath away and makes your stomach clench. Then the shots of Everest itself are incredibly beautiful and you understand why people crave the feeling of being on top of the world.
It delves into the mountaineering culture and you’ll feel part of the team for the most part, but there some moments that will make you yell, “No! That’s a bad idea!” and whatever questionable decision is made anyway. You’ll care for the team as a whole, but there isn’t a significant amount of character development except for Rob Hall, which is probably a good thing considering that some of the team doesn’t make it back to base.
It’s a heart-pounding experience, and the 3D aspect actually enhances the film for a nice change. If you’re willing to pay the extra cash, it’s worth it.
Rated PG13 for intense peril and earns 7.5/10 stars.