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Everest at IMAX

Was it worth going to see?

I went to watch the new Everest film in whopping 3D at IMAX this evening. Before I don my film reviewer hat, here’s a few points:

  • It’s very fashionable, in the expedition world, to sneer at Everest – “it’s just a long walk, it’s too crowded, it’s covered in litter, it’s an ego trip for rich folk…” and so on.
  • If you write a book about an expedition, your audience’s experience will suffer as they cannot imagine the scale of the landscapes you witnessed.
  • If you make a documentary about an expedition, the pure story element of the film will suffer as there will be times you need to be doing important stuff other than filming.
  • If you make a re-creation film about an expedition, some of the immediate impact and truth will suffer as a story is retold by actors.
  • You don’t go to big, noisy IMAX films at the cinema in order to quibble about karabiner technique or inappropriate glove wearing details. You go to say ‘wow’ and eat popcorn and suspend disbelief.

And, in case anyone is still reading – on tenterhooks for my debut film review – I need to offer a spoiler alert here…

Spolier Alert: If you don’t know anything about the 1996 Everest climbing season, then don’t read any further: just go watch the film.

Everest is a new IMAX film that tells the tale of the 1996 climbing season on Mount Everest, made infamous by Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air. I was given a pair of tickets, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bothered going along, having read virtually every book written about that expedition.

Was it worth going to see?

Absolutely. The 3D cinematography was truly spectacular, giving a wonderfully realistic impression of the scale and beauty of the mountains. The complicated web of storylines from that year on the mountain was simplified nicely for a non-expert cinema audience (I’d have loved a cameo appearance for Goran Kropp though). And the film did a decent job of getting you to buy in to the emotional story of some of the key characters.

Sure, some of the acting down at base camp was pretty ropey. And there were several tenuous lines clearly designed to explain what was going on to people who don’t know much about this world.

But I wouldn’t go to watch Shakespeare at Stratford and come away moaning that it would have been better in 3D. So I won’t dwell on that, nor venture down the discussions of the rights or wrongs of climbing Mount Everest nor the specifics of who did what on the mountain that year.

This is a mainstream film about climbing a whopping big mountain, and I thought it was ace.

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  1. Peter Reilly Posted

    I also watched it last night Al.

    “…because its there”

  2. Hi Alastair,
    I wanted to see the movie before I’ve read your post. But after reading it I’ve decided that it would be best to see it in IMAX. My wife was against it, but I’ve persuadet her to see it in 3D. I was worthy!!
    Very nice movie to see in 3D.
    Another thing – the ending is not so… Hollywood-ish – little sad but at the same time so true.
    Thanks 🙂



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