HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Everest 3D
HTS Overall Score:94
“Everest” was a movie that I ended up skipping theatrically due to it appearing to be another “disaster” movie where the humans have to battle Mother Nature in an all holds removed death match. While that is true to a certain extent, “Everest” is much more than that, blending a heroic story of man vs. nature with a heartfelt and human feeling character driven adventure movie. The movie itself appears to be split down the middle, with the first half engaging the viewers with all of the main characters and delving deeper into their personal lives. By about the 45 minute point I actually wondered just how exciting the movie was going to be, but after the 1 hour mark the film kicks into high gear and never let’s go till the very end credits.
Back in 1996 Mount Everest was no longer just an attraction just for the professional mountain climber. Sure that was the largest demographic that actually climbed to the summit, but at this point several different climbing firms had created a gateway for the amateur climber to get in on the action. Creating a pathway up the mountain, led by professional climbers, they had made the climb a little easier for the average climber and given them chances to achieve what only a few in history had dared. “Everest” tells the true story of Adventure Consultant, and their team of professional climbers who dare to brave the elements along with a cadre of amateur climbers who have each paid $65,000 to be able to climb the mountain to top all mountains.
Leading the way is Adventure Consultant owner, Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), along with amateur climbers Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), Yasuko Namba (Naoki Mori), Postal worker Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), and a journalist by the name of Jon Krakaur (Michael Kelly). However, the team is not alone, as there are several other groups of climbers leading expeditions up the slope of Everest, and each of these groups wants to be able to climb the mountain on a specific date that appears to sport the most amiable weather. Realizing that they can’t fight and squabble to get to the top, Rob teams up with expedition competitor Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Guy Cotter (Sam Worthington) and their respective clients in order to reach the top in an orderly fashion.
What seems like a normal climb is just that. People are making the trek, and the lack of oxygen is slowing them down considerably, but they ARE making the trek in one piece. Reaching the top is just half the journey though, and that’s when things start to turn south in a hurry. Barely after reaching the top the crew is forced to head down, only to run right into the storm of the year. Screaming winds and icy sheets of snow and sleet drive the climbers apart as they try and make the trek down the mountain. Mother Nature is a thing of magnificent beauty, but one thing that we need to learn is that in no way are we ever truly in control of her, and the climbers on this mountain are in for a lesson that they will never forget. As the descent continues the fragmented climbers start running out of oxygen and out of energy, with men and women dropping along the wayside as the rest of them use every last drop of energy to get themselves back to base camp in a semblance of one piece.
I did say that the film felt separated into two differently tonal sections. The first half of the movie takes a slow pace and seems to feel very laid back. We get to meet the climbers and really understand what makes them tick. Beck is up there on the mountain for the sole reason that it makes him feel alive, while Yasuka has climbed 6 of the 7 tallest peaks in the world and must complete the set as a matter of honor and her own personal pride. Others, like Doug, are there because they want to inspire others, while some are there due to being addicted to the sport. Each one has a back story and you get to know the characters a little better during this first hour. The climb up is laid back and seems to be easy as can be, but the minute the climbers start to descend back down (right around the 1 hour mark) the movie shifts gears and just gets as intense as it can possibly be. The climb is no longer a high spirited lark, it is a death defying piece of Mother Nature that turns from exhilarating to terrifying in the blink an eye. I really enjoyed the first half of the movie, but didn’t think it was anything more than a GOOD movie. However, once the second half takes off you cannot take your eyes off of the screen until the very last scene of the movie. Having not actually read the story of the actual event until AFTER I watched the movie a few days ago I was unprepared for the ending. I honestly didn’t know who was going to die and who was going to live, which allowed me to be enveloped in the actual storytelling rather than just waiting for certain characters to meet their fate.
For such an ensemble cast, I was surprised at how some characters took over the majority of the film and how some fairly big name actors allowed themselves secondary roles. Jason Clarke is the most poignant as the powerful leader Rob, but Jake Gyllenhaal does an excellent job in his small role. Josh Brolin as Beck Weathers is my second favorite, as I don’t think that Brolin knows HOW to turn in a poor performance. Sam Worthington usually makes me cringe whenever he’s on screen, but his role is so very small that his innocuous appearance isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. The only character that I felt was a bit week was Kiera Knightley’s role as Rob’s wife. Here limited screen time seemed a bit bland and even her terror at Rob being trapped at the top of the mountain is a little bit forced.
Rated PG-13 for intense peril and disturbing images
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62761[/img]Nature is said to be one of the most beautiful things on earth, and “Everest” certainly proves that. Opening up the film with a wave of luscious colors, the film is simply magnificent from beginning to end. Shot 100% digitally the movie maintains an incredible clarity that allows us to be privy to every bit of fine detail available to the audience. Every bit of white snow and craggy outcropping of rock is impeccably detailed, not to mention the intricate detailing on the outfits of the climbers. Colors are rich and vibrant, almost awe inspiring in their intensity. The reds, blues and greens of the climber outfits stands out as a stark contrast to the waves and waves of white and blue snow that covers all of the mountain. Blacks are deep and inky with no sign of crush or being washed out in the slightest. I wish I could rave even more, as the detail and clarity is amazing, but I was so awestruck by the picture quality that I was just salivating like a hungry dog in front of a steak. This disc is absolutely reference quality in every way shape and form, making it the best eye candy films of the New Year so far.
I have been really impressed with the last few 3D movies that I’ve had the pleasure of viewing. Either Hollywood is shaping up the fact that 3D is on shaky ground, or that viewers are not about to accept slap dash 3D transfers anymore. The sense of depth is absolutely impeccable, as the mountains and snow take on a whole new life of their own in 3D. layering is well captured with multiple times calling attention to the fact that you can just stare off into the distance and see the movie just keeping on going back. Usually you notice a drop in brightness level on a 3D transfer (partially due to the glasses), but I didn’t notice the film being any darker than its 2D counterparts (meaning it was color and brightness adjusted to compensate for the glasses). I didn’t really notice any forms of artifacting that made any sort of impression on me, and I have to say, that the 3D pop out “shock” images were kept to a bare minimum, instead relying on the natural depth and layering effects to make it’s impression on the viewer.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=62769[/img]Not to be outdone by the perfect video score, the Dolby Atmos track included on the disc is a stunner that shows no signs of being outclassed by its video counterpart. I love the new batch of Atmos tracks and it seems that each month I get more and more of these titles coming out. Some of them deal with a lot of subtlety on the track, while others are complete powerhouses. Interestingly enough, “Everest” is a little bit of both. I mentioned in the main review that “Everest” has two distinct tones from the 1st half to the second half, that sort of dichotomy bleeds into the audio portion of the movie as well. The first half of the movie is rather calm, with the occasional rumble of audio and flurry of activity that alights the aggressive nature of the film, but for the most part the sounds that shift and bounce around are more subdued and subtle. That’s not to take anything away from the audio, as the incredible sense of sonic depth is right up there with the best of them. The creak and roar of the winds rushing by during training envelope the listener and is alive with all sorts of ambient noises that shift from the sides to the top and back again to the front. HOWEVER, when the second half of the film kicks into high gear and the climb back down the mountain begins, the audio track roars to life with the ferocity that only Mother Nature can bring. The LFE is jaw dropping, with a thunderous power that shakes the very foundations of one’s home theater. The gusts of winds move from subtle to downright assaulting of the ears, pounding along with the bass until the viewer feels as if they’re in the very center of the storm they’re observing onscreen. Dialog is crisp and clean at all times, even in the middle of a raging storm, and the ONLY nitpick I can really list is the fact that sometimes the heavy accents get a bit hard to understand (even though that’s no fault of the track itself, but rather my own ears that are unaccustomed to those vocal accents).
• Race to the Summit: The Making of "Everest"
• Learning to Climb
• A Mountain of Work
• Aspiring to Authenticity: The Real Story
• Director's commentary
“Everest” is a blast of a movie, and certainly was a lot better than I was personally expecting out of the film. I have to say that there were certain times where I couldn’t wholly relate to the myriad of characters that made up the first half, but once the actual climb became a reality that all faded into the background as we watch these men fight for their very lives up on those craggy peaks that only a few dare to climb. I was so lost in the film that by the last few minutes of the movie I was sort of sad that it was over. The audio and video are nothing short of perfect on the disc, which added a lot to the enjoyment factor, as a movie this beautifully shot and wonderfully mixed is just enhanced when listening and viewing on the proper equipment. Definitely worth watching.
Starring: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Kiera Knightley
Directed by: Baltasar Komakur
Written by: William Nicholson, Simon Beaufoy
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 core), Spanish, French DD 5.1
Runtime: 121 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 19th 2016
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Recommendation: Must Watch
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