I don't know why I have a never-ending fascination with the history of Everest attempts and especially the events of May 10, 1996. Most of us became aware of that deadly climbing season through Jon Krakauer's article for Outside magazine and his book Into Thin Air, which was later made into a movie.
The newest film account of that horrific day is Baltasar Kormákur's Everest, available tomorrow in DVD, Blu-Ray, and digital HD. Thanks to Universal Home Entertainment and Think Jam, I was able to preview the home edition of Everest, including the interesting bonus materials.
Just in case you don't know much about the film, here's the studio's summary:
Unbridled ambition, a ferocious storm, and the limits of human endurance collide at the top of the world in the white-knuckle adventure Everest. . . . Following a pair of expeditions to the highest point--and most dangerous place--on Earth, Everest captures the brutal majesty of the deadly peak, and the boundless courage required to conquer it, with breathtaking cinematography and spectacular storytelling. Exclusive extras make Everest a can't-miss, must-own event, bringing viewers behind-the-scenes for a look at the making of the film, as well as astonishing insights about the real-life 1996 summit attempt that inspired it.There is no question Everest is magnificently filmed. The winds, the cold, and the beauty are brought to life on the screen. You have such a clear sense of being in the mountains, you might actually start to feel cold. With a cast that includes Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Emily Watson, you know the acting was great. It's always tricky to portray real-life people, but I felt everyone did a great job conveying the unique personalities of the people on the mountain that fateful May morning.
It was interesting that some of the details in Everest differed from stories that were published twenty years ago. I'm aware that specifics in the stories told by Krakauer, Beck Weathers, and other survivors have been questioned, so perhaps this version is meant to set the record straight. That few people remembered the events in the same way doesn't surprise me; one of the big take-aways of Everest is just how quickly the weather deteriorated, the crazy confusion of the descent brought on by lack of oxygen and fatigue, and the dilemma faced by the team leaders (Rob Hall and Andy Harris) to make sure their clients reached the top while also trying to keep everyone safe and alive.
Although I loved much of the movie--especially the scenery and sense of danger and doom--I was less emotionally attached to the people than I have been in other accounts, both in print and on the screen. I'm not quite sure why, but it may have to do with the incredible cinematography. It's likely I was more invested in the visuals of Everest than I was in tracking the fates of the individuals (whose stories I already knew).
Regardless, I recommend the movie for anyone wanting to know more about what happened on the world's highest mountain that awful May. The filming and acting of Everest are outstanding, and whether you watch via disc or digital download, you're in for an amazing couple of hours.
The boxed set comes with a number of great features, including short films on the special effects, on finding authenticity, and on preparing the actors for the climbing scenes. The trailer gives you a sense of the action and cinematography: