At the Movies 2015: Everest

USA 2015
Written by William Nicholson & Simon Beaufoy
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur
Watched on 08.10.2015

Given the fact that a) I don’t do a lot of sports and thus aren’t that fit and/or good in shape, b) suffer from mild vertigo, and c) are far too much of a chicken to ever attempt something like that (hell, I would have already turned back at that first huge suspension bridge they had to cross – and that was just to get to the base camp!), watching “Everest” in IMAX (ok, FIMAX aka fake IMAX, which is what I call those new, smaller IMAX-screens that started to pop up in the last couple of years) was probably the closest that I’ll ever get to experiencing what it’s like to crest the highest mountain of the Earth. In my book, that alone was very well worth the price of admission.

Visually stunning, occasionally exhilarating, and with a couple of thrilling moments and quite a few emotional scenes, “Everest” was quite an experience. Even when watched “only” in FIMAX (see above), the landscapes were absolutely breathtaking. Together with the great sound design (that almost had me feel the chill of standing in a snow storm and freezing my ass off), Baltasar Kormákur and his crew managed to give me an impression of what it’s like to climb up Mount Everest, and to face the harsh conditions prevalent there. Also, “Everest” featured some of the best use of 3D in the cinema last year, giving depth to the picture, and making it more lifelike. All of that made “Everest” one of the visually most stunning movies that I saw in the cinema last year. However, the impressive visuals aren’t the only thing that “Everest” has to offer. I also quite liked the characters, and appreciated that the movie took its time to introduce them to us before the shit inevitably hit the fan. Thus, when things went south, I actually cared about what happened, and to whom. I was also quite impressed by the huge and top-class ensemble cast assembled here, who all did a great job. The movie featured many great scenes, and turned out to be quite an emotional roller-coaster ride, with uplifting moments taking turns with tense and/or sad ones. And since I didn’t really know anything about the real-life tragedy depicted here (hell, I didn’t even know that it was based on a true story before I sat down in the movie theatre), I didn’t know who’s going to live or die, which obviously added significantly to its suspense. My only complaint is that here and there, “Everest” feels a little run-of-the-mill and overdramatized. For example, after a certain telephone call where they talk about names, I immediately knew where this was going; that really was quite clichéd. Also, when it comes to getting us to know them, some characters fare better than others. Other than that, though, I really enjoyed it.


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