Friday, September 18, 2015

Movie Review: “Everest”


**** out of 5
121 minutes
Rated PG-13 for intense peril and disturbing images
Universal Pictures

Article first published at The Reel Place.

There were many films this year that were downright amazing to watch on IMAX: Furious 7, Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man. This summer was a complete blast! However, a couple of studios are pushing hard for their films to be seen the way they were meant. While we may have to wait a few weeks to see if The Walk can give Robert Zemeckis his comeback from the uncanny valley, this weekend Everest brings a larger than life incredible true story to IMAX for one week of advanced screenings. A one word review: terrifying. Another: breathtaking. THIS is truly the IMAX experience of the year.

Bringing to life the devastating 1996 disaster in Nepal, we’re quickly introduced to Adventure Consultants’ Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), who is leaving his pregnant wife Jan (Keira Knightley) to mount an expedition to the top of Mount Everest, along with Mike Groom (Thomas M. Wright) and Andy Harris (Martin Henderson). Their clients are a ragtag group consisting of: Frank Fischbeck (Todd Boyce), Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), Stuart Hutchison (Demetri Goritsas), Lou Kasischke (Mark Derwin), Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori), John Taske (Tim Dantay), and Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin). All are making the climb for various reasons, but they’re all put the ultimate test of survival as a storm blows in, threatening everyone’s lives.

There’s also a couple of other crews making their way up, including one lead by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal). If you want the film to make its full impact, don’t read up on it. But even if you know what happens, it’ll still be every bit as devastating. Director Baltasar Kormákur makes an auspicious feat with Everest, giving us plenty of cringe-inducing scenarios to make the moments of pure beauty never escape an underlying menace. The cast all bring their A-game to make sure everyone is represented, and while it may seem cliché when one member manages to survive, at least it was through sheer willpower and not the use of evil plot mechanics.

Some may question why it’s being shown only in 3D IMAX, but the answer is in the final product. If this wasn’t filmed in native 3D, it’s one hell of a conversion. Considering how good it looked on IMAX, I can only imagine how much better it will look at home. However, 65 inches will never compare to any theatrical experience, whether 3D, IMAX, or even in standard 2D. Everest is a full blown experience, whiplashing from majestic to stunning to terrifying at the drop of a hat. It may not be the year’s best film, but it’s definitely a damn good one and you’d only be doing yourself an injustice to not see it on the biggest screen you can find it playing. This is about as close as I’ll ever want to get to mountain climbing, but considering the stakes, that may be for the best. As it stands, Everest is a fantastic true to life story and is do-not-miss IMAX entertainment of the highest order.

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