EVEREST

I am completely devastated I could not attend the screening of EVEREST – IN 3D IMAX!!! I have been sick with flu for one month and gave my tickets to Kernel Blake to hit this one up while I sat at home moping and sweating and destroying forests of trees in tissue use. Not to worry, I got another invite to a screening tonight, STILL BLOODY SICK!!!! Words cannot describe my dismay, this is one of my most anticipated action movies of the year, I am obsessed with all things snow and cold and plan on walking to base camp in 2018 after the Camino in 2017. I digress, Kernel Blake shares some love for the movie below, from everything I keep reading this needs to be seen on the biggest screen you can find – cough IMAX, and it needs to be seen in 3D. It is out this Thursday 17th September in Australia from the folks at Universal Pictures, it is rated M and runs for 121mins. Enjoy Blake’s review……..all the best…….JK.

 

everest movie poster image
EVEREST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | MOVIE POSTER IMAGE

 

BY BLAKE CURRALL

At around forty minutes into the runtime of Baltasar Kormákur’s new film, EVEREST, adventure journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly, CHRONICLE), sitting in a tent at the eponymous mountains base camp, asks his fellow climbers a simple question, ‘Why? Why do you do it?’. For the next eighty minutes or so, you in the audience begin to ask yourself the very same question, why the hell would anyone want to walk around at the cruising altitude of a 747 jumbo?

Based on true events of an ill-fated mission to the peak of the world’s highest point in 1996, EVEREST begins with New Zealand’s tour guide to the world’s crazy people, Rob Hall (Jason Clarke, TERMINATOR: GENYSIS), about to embark on another season of taking the well-heeled and lacking-in-marbles on a guided trek to the top of the world. This year is different for Rob and his pioneering company, with journalist Krakauer along for the ride to document the trek and give Hall’s commercial trekking company, Adventure Consultants, a much needed publicity, and hopefully, financial boost.

 

FEATURETTE ON CLIMBING EVEREST FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES:

 

Among the star studded cast, the fellow climbers embarking on the grueling expedition include Texan wildcard Beck (Josh Brolin, Thanos himself), lowly mailman Doug (John Hawkes, LINCOLN), competing guide and cowboy Scott (Jake Gyllenhall, DONNIE DARKO, SOUTHPAW) as well as Hall’s backup guy, err Guy played by Sam Worthington. Keira Knightley and Emily Watson round out the cast while offering, surprisingly, convincing Kiwi accents.

Before we reach the awe-inspiring peak, the film takes its time getting there, introducing us to each climber and giving us their own individual backstories, ranging from reaching the peak to inspire local schoolkids, being the first female to reach the summit of all seven of the world’s highest peaks, as is the case with Japanese climber, Yasuko (Naoko Mori, TORCHWOOD) or just doing it “because it’s there!”. While we get to know the rest of the team, we are treated to some truly incredible shots of the mysterious Himalayan landscape, ranging from the claustrophobic hustle bustle of downtown Kathmandu, to the sparse majestic peaks and valleys that lead the way to Everest’s base camp.

 

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EVEREST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | EVEREST MOVIE IMAGE

 

This slow approach to proceedings works very well in creating a slow burn of tension, with the feeling that while everyone is pumped for the big climb and Hall proclaiming that the trek will end on his ‘luckiest’ day, there’s always the feeling that the mountain won’t play so nice. With tensions building at the base camp with more and more tour companies taking Hall’s lead and starting their own treks, in turn causing more and more pollution and traffic in the area, our intrepid climbers begin their altitude training and begin to face the reality of tackling one of the world’s final frontiers.

The altitude training required to tackle such an immense task is not lost on our team with the risk of hypoxia, hypothermia and hypo-death not just a possibility, but a clear reality as they pass strewn bodies left to be preserved in the Himalayan ice flow. With a log jam of trekkers, mostly untrained and only there due to their deep wallets, Hall and American cowboy guide Fischer (Gyllenhall) decide it would be the best idea to join their trek teams and try to reach the summit together to hit their summit window and be able to get everyone back to base camp safely.

 

Everest movie image
EVEREST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | EVEREST MOVIE IMAGE

 

The trek begins in earnest, but the first sign of trouble hits when old, worn out ropes cause yet another delay in reaching the summit, forcing some to turn back, while others fall by the wayside due to poor health and the effects of high altitude and diminishing oxygen levels. For those that do make the summit, they are treated to one helluva view and the knowledge that they are one of only a handful of people to be the highest on Earth. Apart from Snoop Dogg (badum tish). With a deadline to turn back and get to basecamp in time safely looming, Hall begins to lead his team back down the mountain and comes across Doug, on his third attempt to make the summit, who he tries to turn around, but through dogged determination convinces Hall to help him to the summit, which he does against his better judgement.

This is where that worrying feeling of impending dread forms into a harsh and terrifying reality when a freak storm blasts up from the valley floor and rises towards the summit, straight for the two teams of trekkers heading back down to what they thought was safety. Already exhausted and running low on ‘O’ (oxygen, funnily enough), the teams cop a battering from the hurricane force winds, snow blasts and bitter cold. What follows is a gripping, nail bitingly tense battle for all to arrive in one piece back to the safety of base camp.

Again from this point, you must ask yourself why? What drives someone to want to risk life and limb for this accomplishment? The intense will of the human spirit to reach the unreachable and do the impossible. As this amazing story of loss and survival was able to be told, some survived, some did not and the chilling reminder of this reality hits home during the final credits when photos of the individuals from the climb are shown.

 

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EVEREST | SALTY POPCORN MOVIE REVIEW | EVEREST MOVIE IMAGE JAKE GYLLENHAAL

 

EVEREST is a superb film, a slow burn which builds tension throughout its opening two acts before battering you with its intense final third, leaving the audience as breathless as those climbers on the summit low on ‘O’. Shot beautifully on location in Nepal and Everest’s base camp by Kormákur and DP Salvatore Totino, EVEREST is portrayed as a majestic and terrifying living, breathing monster that can at once both inspire and cause incredible despair. It is also not a film for any of you with vertigo, you will not like a lot of this. I don’t know how they did it but no matter how warm the theatre you see this in may be, you will be shivering by the end of it.

This is an amazing story, with great performances by Clarke, Gyllenhall and Brolin, with special mention going to Knightley who spends most of the film’s runtime in her house, alone, in NZ but brings a lot of heart to the role as Hall’s pregnant wife and fellow mountaineer. EVEREST was shot in the IMAX format and takes advantage of the medium, you must see this film on the biggest and loudest screen possible to get its full effects, especially in 3D for those vertigo inducing tracking shots.

 

KERNEL BLAKE’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

JK’S POP SCORE:

4 Pops

 

 

Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life, like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. Can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80