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Movie Review: ‘Everest’ – All About That Base (Camp)


Picture Credit: Universal Pictures

Many people dream of climbing mountains, but few people ever experience the rush. It’s about more than finding a trail and following it to the top. Professional climbers, and those that guide them, must school themselves in a number of safety precautions for years before making the attempt. Add to this the excellent physical shape one needs to handle the rigors of higher altitudes, cold climates, and rugged terrain while carrying several pounds of gear and most people would rather see it done than take the risk. For those undeterred by the dangers and the demands of the task, a new world looms on the horizon.

The final portion of this journey is chronicled in Universal Pictures’ latest offering, Everest, released on September 18th, 2015. The film is based on the events of the tragic Mount Everest disaster that occurred on May 10th and 11th, 1996. Everest stars Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Emily Watson, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, and Sam Worthington.

Rob Hall (Clarke), owner and lead guide for Adventure Consultants, leads his expedition to a base camp in Nepal in preparation for ascent to the top of Mount Everest. One month earlier, Rob bids farewell to his pregnant wife Jen, promising he’ll be home before the birth. Jen faxes him at base camp to inform him that they’re having a girl. He wants to name her Sarah, but Jen isn’t sold on the name. Among Rob’s clients are veteran climber Beck Weathers (Brolin), Doug Hansen (Hawkes) a mailman wanting to prove that a normal guy can do amazing things, and Yasuko Namba. Yasuko has come to Everest to complete her goal of becoming the oldest woman to conquer the world’s Seven Summits. We also meet Scott Fisher (Gyllenhaal), leader of a second expedition run by Mountain Madness. Emily Watson is Helen Wilton, the base camp manager who monitoring touch with both groups by radio.

May 7th shows the first real dangers that the climbers face on their trek up the mountain. The group makes it to the second base camp, but not before a ladder nearly collapses due to the number of climbers. Rob tries to convince Scott to turn back and make the climb later, but is soundly refused. Both groups reach the fourth base camp two days later, but the air grows thinner as they climb, forcing everyone to use supplemental oxygen. On May 10th, the climbers are closer than ever, departing from the south to reach the summit before early afternoon. Other expeditions are shown making their way toward the summit from the north side and now it’s a race to see who will get there first.

Our climbers are hindered when they reach a bottleneck at the Hillary Step and the equipment that Rob requested is not there. The guides install the needed line needed to ascend at the cost of an hour of travel time. Three climbers decide the wait isn’t worth it and turn back. Beck, meanwhile, begins having issues with his vision. He admits to Rob that he had an eye operation the previous year. Rob gives him half an hour to recuperate but will force him to turn back if he isn’t better by then. Eventually, our climbers make it to the summit, with Yasuko planting the Japanese flag and reaching her goal. Soon, however, both expeditions are fighting for their lives against a terrible storm and their own bodies failing them at altitudes no human being was meant to reach.

The shots in this movie were, in a word, incredible. I’ve never felt the urge to climb a mountain, but Everest, while remaining true to the dangers of such a feat, still made it seem possible. Doug Hansen, a simple mailman, had the most realistic goal of the group. Yasuko’s quest also resonated with me as she wanted to do something others considered her too old to do. These goals make the oncoming tragedy more poignant.

Rob Hall genuinely cares about his clients, going against his better judgment to help them all reach their goals. Even as the situation worsens, Rob doesn’t stop fighting for his people. His final words to his wife struck a chord and the mood in the theater was definitely morose as it all got worse.

The Good: Great cinematography. Excellent performances.
The Bad: Two hour run time isn’t the longest film ever, but it can drag a little in places.
The Verdict: A good way to kill to kill a couple of hours. Go see it.

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3 Comments on “Movie Review: ‘Everest’ – All About That Base (Camp)”

  1. Slatethesilverscreen September 23, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    Sounds great. Ill definitely give it a watch!

  2. greengirl75 September 23, 2015 at 11:15 pm #

    I just saw the movie, as someone who loves hiking mountains, it’s an incredible watch. It’s definitely is a whirl-wind of emotions but would recommend it to anyone who appreciates the beauty of nature!

  3. Michael Cardwell September 24, 2015 at 8:14 am #

    How would you compare this to other survivalist movies?

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