Everest DVD Review

DVD Review by Jon E Clist

The Premise
On the morning of May 10, 1996, climbers (Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin) from two expeditions start their final ascent toward the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. With little warning, a violent storm strikes the mountain, engulfing the adventurers in one of the fiercest blizzards ever encountered by man. Challenged by the harshest conditions imaginable, the teams must endure blistering winds and freezing temperatures in an epic battle to survive against nearly impossible odds.

The Review
We own Everest, let’s be honest about the whole thing. As New Zealanders, we own Everest thanks to one of the greatest kiwi’s there ever was, Sir Edmund Hilary. Thanks to his achievement Everest is a mountain that has a strong connection in the hearts of all New Zealanders, in fact one might even argue that it is potentially loved more than our own mountains of Cook or Taranaki. So of course when another film comes along about it, we are going to see it and we’re probably going to love it, especially when it tells the tale of another great kiwi mountaineer such as Rob Hall. Hall (Played here by Jason Clarke) was the first person to climb Everest 5 times, his wife Jan (played by Knightley) went on to be the second New Zealand woman to summit Everest. Just another amazing legend from the mighty country of New Zealand.

This movie is based on the worst disaster to ever occur in the Mount Everest region in Nepal but a striking coincidence occurred when this movie was being shot in Nepal. An avalanche on April 18, 2014 killed 16 people on Everest and the casualty was higher than the 1996 disaster which this movie is based on. The shooting had to be postponed and the disaster took the most lives ever taken in an Everest Disaster mostly Sherpas (all Nepalese) who were preparing ground work for the upcoming climbing season.

So first of all let’s get into the whole discussion of Americans and the English doing kiwi accents. Jason Clarke, who we recently saw as John Connor in Terminator Genisys, was brilliant with his kiwi accent and inhabited the role of key mountaineer, Rob Hall with such brilliance that it was not only believable but extremely compelling too. This is definitely a physical role and Clarke throws himself into with great gusto. His character’s wife Jan is then played by Keira Knightley, who for the most part does an okay job as a New Zealander, however regularly drops out of accent, which is a little distracting but doesn’t derail the plot at any stage.

It is the scenery that does a wonderful job of bringing the excitement and reality to the story. Even though a reasonable amount of shooting was done in Nepal, several other locations were utilized to create the finished product. They started to shoot in Ötztal Alps in Italy for six weeks, a month in Iceland, and then moved to Nepal for another month's shoot. All of these locations merge to create a film that seamlessly displays one location.

Of course plenty of preparation goes into a film such as this and in early January 2014, actors Gyllenhaal and Brolin were practicing for climbing mountains in the Santa Monica Mountains, to train for their roles. As secondary characters this is the foundation that makes this film work well. Often you get a brilliant leading cast backed by an average team of actors. Here the quality starts at the bottom and travels all the way up to the top. (Kind of like the story)

The Verdict
Deeply moving true story of epic proportion that is a visually stunning as it is compelling. If you can see it on the Imax screen, do so.

The Trailer

The Info
DVD Releases: 20th January 2016
Rating: M – Contains content that may disturb
Duration: 121 minutes 
Genre:  Drama Action
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Elizabeth Debicki, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington, Jason Clarke, Emily Watson and John Hawkes
Director: Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns, The Deep)

The Extras
The film is to be based on various books about the 1996 Mt Everest disaster, including Jon Krakauer's "Into Thin Air", and interviews with survivors.

Christian Bale was attached to play the role of Rob Hall, but left to appear in Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) instead. Director Baltasar Kormákur subsequently decided to transform the film to an ensemble version of the story.

Jason Clarke replaced Christian Bale in both this film and Terminator Genisys (2015)

This story and some stylized scenes were also borrowed from the 1998 IMAX film also titled "Everest."