Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Everest (3D - IMAX) | Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Emily Watson, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Sam Worthington, Michael Kelly, Naoko Mori | Review

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4 Chicks Small Jacqueline Monahan

Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for Lasvegasroundtheclock.com
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Everest (3D - IMAX) | Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Emily Watson, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley, Robin Wright, Sam Worthington, Michael Kelly, Naoko Mori | Review

Bad decisions, bad weather, bad timing.
Everything, it seemed, conspired to make the 1996 climbing season the most fatal ever for the intrepid, commercial adventurers intent on making the arduous trek to the 29, 029 ft. summit of Mt. Everest.
Even the $65,000 price tag, the 40-day training period, and the lack of oxygen couldn’t deter them.  Even the scattered memorials along the way of those who literally died trying couldn’t stop the dizzying, disorienting, dangerous climb up a vast expanse of craggy, white treachery.  3D IMAX transports the viewer into the center of the icy journey and the effect is, no pun intended, chilling.
The movie is loosely based on actual events from the book Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer (here played by Michael Kelly) a member of the Adventure Consultants commercial climbing party led by renowned New Zealand guide Rob Hall (Jason Clarke). Along with journalist Krakauer, the group included wealthy Texan Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), postal worker Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), and Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori) a Japanese woman famous in her country for scaling the six other biggest peaks of the world.
 Mountain Madness guide Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) agrees to combine tours with Hall’s group, due to the unusually large number of teams (around 20) assembled at base camp for the journey to the summit.  Fischer’s laid-back style is in contrast to Hall’s by-the-book, safety-first philosophy.
Careful plans go awry when several members of the party get waylaid, causing a delay in getting climbers down in a safe, timely manner.  Then a storm moves in, oxygen is depleted, safety methods are compromised, health problems arise, and night falls.  Frostbite, delusions, fatigue, despair, carelessness, and ultimately, tragedy, follow.
Base Camp Manager Helen Wilton (Emily Watson) keeps Hall’s expectant wife Jan (Keira Knightley) as well as Weathers’ wife Peach (Robin Wright) apprised of the situation via satellite phone and two-way radio.  Safety guide Guy Cotter (Sam Worthington) and Wilton understand the incredible danger that the wayward climbers are in long before the viewer does and their facial expressions are grim barometers of barely controlled panic and despair.
Once again, 3D IMAX effectively thrusts the audience into the midst of the storm, made even more monstrous, dark, and ominous by the enhanced scope of the menacing, frigid vistas, some as high as cruising altitudes for jetliners. Human beings seem hopelessly miniscule in such a hostile environment.
Director Baltasar Kormákur (2 guns, Contraband) shot on location in Kathmandu, Nepal and at the actual Everest Base camp (elevation 17,590 ft.) in addition to other frigid sites including the Dolomites, Iceland, and the Santa Monica Mountains.  His film rightly centers on the tragedy that swiftly befell the climbers, even though those unfamiliar with the story might find it hard to distinguish between the identically dressed, snow-covered group members.
Despite this, Kormákur provokes emotional responses from the viewer, illustrating the fragility of life through exhaustion, judgment errors, and oxygen depletion.  One climber silently falls off the mountain in a split second while complications from a previous surgery unexpectedly strand another. Others, suffering from exhaustion, simply lay helplessly, unable to move.  It is a sobering realization that what goes up, sometimes never comes down, and that crossing something off of your bucket list may be the very thing that causes you to kick it instead.