Universal                  121 minutes                  PG-13



Take a coat when you see this film, no matter how warm it is outside. The actors and crew admit making Everest was a huge challenge giving them more than a taste of what the real climbers faced in 1996. Hand-held shots following the climbers, incredible overhead shots of this majestic mountain and it’s detail make it worth seeing in 3D and even 3D IMAX.


Ever since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay officially reached the summit in 1953, more and more climbers have joined commercial adventure groups to reach the top. It cost $65,000 each in 1996 for the expedition which ended in disaster when a sudden blizzard created devastating conditions costing 8 climbers lives.


This is an intense, dizzying and compelling film based on the true story detailed in John Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air. The quest was to reach the summit of Earth’s highest peak at 29,000. That’s the height of a cruising 747! Documentary filmmaker David Breshears was shooting at a lower altitude when the storm hit Everest in 1996 and became a consultant on this film.  


Cast and crew had to battle conditions on this shoot not unlike those the real climbers faced. They experienced freezing temperatures, ice, rock slides, altitude sickness, exhaustion, plus a blizzard! Breshears convinced Director Balthasar Kormakur to move shooting of the most brutal scenes when the 1996 climbers were fighting their way back to base camp. Instead of at Everest, Kormákur finally agreed Northern Italy’s Alps looked enough like Everest to shoot there.



The star of the film really is the mountain itself. What nature has wrought is so powerful. And seeing it in 3D puts life in perspective. He uses hand held shots a lot to make you feel like you’re right there. It’s dizzying and scary, especially when Josh Brolin, playing Texan, Beck Weathers, is barely hanging from a ladder suspended over a tremendous drop.


Jason Clarke plays Rob Hall, the leader of one of the two commercial expeditions depicted on the mountain at that time. Clarke committed to months of training and experiencing the elements which he says helped get him into character. And he says you “Had to put in a certain amount of work just to be safe.”


Jake Gyllenhaal plays Scott Fischer who used to lead expeditions with Hall, but they split up because they had different styles. Hall was more nurturing and careful. Fischer was wild and more of a risk taker. His motto? “It’s not the altitude, it’s the attitude.” Hall’s wife and fellow climber was pregnant and stayed back which may have made him even more cautious this time. Universal bought the transcripts from the emotional phone conversations between Hall and his wife during the doomed climb which Clarke listened to as well. Keira Knightly plays Hall’s wife, Jan Arnold, who adds to the desperation of the situation.  


Both Clarke and Gyllenhaal says they were in good hands with Director Bal. Clarke says the strong, hardy Viking from Iceland was the right guy for the job. Gyllenhaal describes Bal, as they call him, a “Fearless Director” who was incredibly protective. At one point, Gyllenhaal laughs as he says Bal “gave me his own gloves, rubbing my hands, but still put me out there in the elements.” He wanted the movie to feel massive and dangerous like the mountain, but also exhilarating.


It cost $60 million dollars to make this film with 180 crew members, 30 Sherpa guides on location. And they had the biggest snowfall in 100 years during the shoot! Talk about reality. They also built half a mountain along with a replica of Everest’s Hillary Step and closed it off like a big freezer filled with snow.


John Hawkes plays Doug, a post office carpenter and regular guy who tried and failed reaching the peak. He raised the funds from his community and school kids and returned on this expedition to get it done for the kids. You are pulling for him every step of the way. The actor actually went to Ben Nevis, UK’s highest mountain, on his own, and did a night climb during a snowstorm to see what it could be like. He knew what he was getting into.


Brolin says he really liked dealing with something “so much grander than you can possibly understand.” It was dangerous and if you went too high too fast, you could get altitude sickness, which he says many did. Brolin read the transcripts and the memoir Weathers left detailing how he almost didn’t make it.


Is this worth your bucks? You may white knuckle this film, especially if you have any fear of heights. Director Kormákur says he “wants people to feel like you DID go up the mountain.” To him, cinema goes where you can’t go and when you see a journey like this, you get more for your ticket. It’s an intense and emotional trip that is tragic and true. But it is also exhilarating and educational to see what it takes to scale a peak to the top of the world. The vistas you see are spectacular.  


The cast say they learned so much taking on this filmmaking challenge. Hawkes says dealing with lack of oxygen, food, moving a town up the side of a mountain, starting the workday at midnight without enough sleep was an amazing. He says that it’s like getting “used to a place you’re not supposed to be.” He then laughed. Why do they do it on-screen and do climbers do it in real life? Because they can.

Take a coat when you see this film, no matter how warm it is outside. The actors and crew admit making Everest was a huge challenge giving them more than a taste of what the real climbers faced in 1996. Hand-held shots following the climbers, incredible overhead shots of this majestic mountain and it’s detail make it worth seeing in 3D and even 3D IMAX.


Ever since Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay officially reached the summit in 1953, more and more climbers have joined commercial adventure groups to reach the top. It cost $65,000 each in 1996 for the expedition which ended in disaster when a sudden blizzard created devastating conditions costing 8 climbers lives.


This is an intense, dizzying and compelling film based on the true story detailed in John Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air. The quest was to reach the summit of Earth’s highest peak at 29,000. That’s the height of a cruising 747! Documentary filmmaker David Breshears was shooting at a lower altitude when the storm hit Everest in 1996 and became a consultant on this film.  


Cast and crew had to battle conditions on this shoot not unlike those the real climbers faced. They experienced freezing temperatures, ice, rock slides, altitude sickness, exhaustion, plus a blizzard! Breshears convinced Director Balthasar Kormakur to move shooting of the most brutal scenes when the 1996 climbers were fighting their way back to base camp. Instead of at Everest, Kormákur finally agreed Northern Italy’s Alps looked enough like Everest to shoot there.


The star of the film really is the mountain itself. What nature has wrought is so powerful. And seeing it in 3D puts life in perspective. He uses hand held shots a lot to make you feel like you’re right there. It’s dizzying and scary, especially when Josh Brolin, playing Texan, Beck Weathers, is barely hanging from a ladder suspended over a tremendous drop.


Jason Clarke plays Rob Hall, the leader of one of the two commercial expeditions depicted on the mountain at that time. Clarke committed to months of training and experiencing the elements which he says helped get him into character. And he says you “Had to put in a certain amount of work just to be safe.”


Jake Gyllenhaal plays Scott Fischer who used to lead expeditions with Hall, but they split up because they had different styles. Hall was more nurturing and careful. Fischer was wild and more of a risk taker. His motto? “It’s not the altitude, it’s the attitude.” Hall’s wife and fellow climber was pregnant and stayed back which may have made him even more cautious this time. Universal bought the transcripts from the emotional phone conversations between Hall and his wife during the doomed climb which Clarke listened to as well. Keira Knightly plays Hall’s wife, Jan Arnold, who adds to the desperation of the situation.  


Both Clarke and Gyllenhaal says they were in good hands with Director Bal. Clarke says the strong, hardy Viking from Iceland was the right guy for the job. Gyllenhaal describes Bal, as they call him, a “Fearless Director” who was incredibly protective. At one point, Gyllenhaal laughs as he says Bal “gave me his own gloves, rubbing my hands, but still put me out there in the elements.” He wanted the movie to feel massive and dangerous like the mountain, but also exhilarating.


It cost $60 million dollars to make this film with 180 crew members, 30 Sherpa guides on location. And they had the biggest snowfall in 100 years during the shoot! Talk about reality. They also built half a mountain along with a replica of Everest’s Hillary Step and closed it off like a big freezer filled with snow.


John Hawkes plays Doug, a post office carpenter and regular guy who tried and failed reaching the peak. He raised the funds from his community and school kids and returned on this expedition to get it done for the kids. You are pulling for him every step of the way. The actor actually went to Ben Nevis, UK’s highest mountain, on his own, and did a night climb during a snowstorm to see what it could be like. He knew what he was getting into.


Brolin says he really liked dealing with something “so much grander than you can possibly understand.” It was dangerous and if you went too high too fast, you could get altitude sickness, which he says many did. Brolin read the transcripts and the memoir Weathers left detailing how he almost didn’t make it.


Is this worth your bucks? You may white knuckle this film, especially if you have any fear of heights. Director Kormákur says he “wants people to feel like you DID go up the mountain.” To him, cinema goes where you can’t go and when you see a journey like this, you get more for your ticket. It’s an intense and emotional trip that is tragic and true. But it is also exhilarating and educational to see what it takes to scale a peak to the top of the world. The vistas you see are spectacular.  


The cast say they learned so much taking on this filmmaking challenge. Hawkes says dealing with lack of oxygen, food, moving a town up the side of a mountain, starting the workday at midnight without enough sleep was an amazing. He says that it’s like getting “used to a place you’re not supposed to be.” He then laughed. Why do they do it on-screen and do climbers do it in real life? Because they can.

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