Baltasar Kormákur's Everest is an event movie worthy of an IMAX viewing in 3D for its rich visuals and eye-popping imagery. The real-life story that it's based on helps create tragic drama that's only heightened by the film's ensemble cast, even if it's a predictable descent into sadness.
Everest is Baltasar Kormákur‘s biggest film yet, featuring the massive mountain as not only the film’s biggest conflict, but also its biggest resource of beauty as Kormákur shoots eye-popping and theater-roaring IMAX 3D that must be experienced on the biggest and loudest screen possible.
Everest follows a group of climbers as they face a severe snow storm that threatens all of their lives.
It’s an incredible story that’s based on real-life events that make for one tragic story that’s almost a little too dark at times.
Normally, one would think that a film like Everest would focus on the courage and bravery of the men and women that have attempted to climb the mountain successfully, but Everest is really all about tragedy and sadness as the characters embark a journey of a lifetime.
Baltasar Kormákur shoots Everest brilliantly, capturing the exterior mountain shots with a loud gust of noise and enough icy snow to really place you up on the mountain and make you feel miserable and near-death — just like the actual climbers as they’re faced with some of the worst conditions on the planet.
Kormákur properly plays with depth of field to create an immersive and sometimes even frightening film that places you not just on the edge of your seat, but the edge of Mt. Everest.
Before I get into my problems with the film I’ll just come out and say that Everest is fully worth the hefty price of an IMAX 3D showing. That’s not just the best way to view the film, but the only way to truly experience it in full. It’ll have you holding your breath and clutching the arm of whoever is sitting next to you.
That doesn’t mean that the film successfully captures all of the drama though. The script is clearly set on gathering up as many tears as possible, while briefly touching on the men and women as people. It gives us a very quick summary of who everyone is and why they want to climb Everest, which doesn’t make up for the film’s lack of engagement.
You might cry while viewing the film, but those tears are from the film’s moody soundtrack and the sad true story that it’s based on and not because of the actual story in front of you — aside from Jason Clarke‘s character.
Clarke gives the best performance in the film by supplying us with an actual character. Clarke’s Rob Hall is the leading guide on the expedition. He’s also an incredibly caring and safe man, constantly worried about the well-being of those around him and not just about collecting some cash from strangers and dragging them up a mountain.
And Clarke brings the exact amount of compassion to the role that makes Rob Hall feel like an actual human being and not just a movie character, which is meant in no disrespect towards the actual people that this film is based on.
The rest of the cast is hobbled down to supporting moments that only anchor down the film’s focus on drawing out as many tears as possible from the viewers. Not one other character really serves the film in any other way than to be faithful to source material.
And that’s not a knock on the book or real-life story, but a knock towards the writers and director and how they manage to tell so little with so very much.
The film runs out of air long before some of the characters do, which leads to a sad realization that director Baltasar Kormákur had all of this talent and all of these great effects and decided to settle on something that will emote the masses, but never tell them anything.
I liked Everest enough to suggest it to those looking for the next event film that can’t be experienced at home and must be seen at a 3D IMAX theater, but I doubt I’d ever re-visit the film again, because there’s just nothing note-worthy or significant, aside from Kormákur’s growing strength as a visual filmmaker, but not so much a storytelling one.