Friday, October 2, 2015

Everest Review: Rocky Climb leads to Tense Adventure

Movies can take viewers on some wild adventures. Some of the most expansive blockbuster love to take moviegoers to new worlds and features out this world journeys. Yet sometimes the biggest adventures can take place right here in reality. Such is the case of the new fall blockbuster from Universal Pictures: Everest. Everest is based on the 1996 disaster where climber Rob Hall and others were caught in a freak storm on Mount Everest. Directed by Baltasar Kormakur, this adventurous disaster film featured a massive ensemble as well as having a massive element of being featured large screens such as IMAX. Yet even with its major publicity, could Everest reach the top or does this thrilling drama have a hard time up the mountain?

As stated, this film based on the true events of Rob Hall (portrayed by Jason Clarke) and excavation of Adventure Consultant. Along with the group Mountain Madness led by Scott Fischer (portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal), Rob leads a group of climbers to the top of Mount Everest. After reaching their goal, tragedy strikes the group as a storm traps Rob and the other climbers on the top of Everest.

The story to this film certainly surprised me. The advertisement for Everest suggested that the plot's focal point would be the storm, but that was not the case. Instead the plot centered on Adventure Consultant's climb to the top of Mount Everest. This was not a bad direction for the story as it provided an idea of how excavation on Everest are handle and how dangerous it can be to climb such as feat. The only issue I had with Everest's story was its structure. While it captured the concept of climbing Everest, I felt that the pacing could be sporadic which made it difficult to enjoy the adventurous aspect to the film. Thankfully what solidified this plot was the film's climax which brought all the drama and tension to Everest to a gripping full circle.

To say that Everest had a major ensemble is likely an understatement. This blockbuster had a well crafted cast that covered all possible aspects; from the strong leads in Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin and Jake Gyllenhaal, to decent performances from the likes of John Hawke, to a strong supporting cast that featured Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, Sam Worthington and Robin Wright. However, while it was impressive cast to say the least, the issue that effected this ensemble was how the characters were handled. Because this cast was so massive, it was difficult to keep track of everyone and their directions. This kind of complication has been seen in various blockbuster, but several movies have been able to feature a big cast in a way where the characters fit in the presentation. Everest, unfortunately, was not able to elaborate on this factor; but thankfully the cast was able to make up for this flaw with their well rounded performances.

Seeing that this movie had to capture one of the planet's most iconic mountains, this film needed to have a definitive sense in cinematography. Thankfully cinematographer Salvatore Totino was able to capture the scale of Mount Everest, but only to an extent. While the movie featured impressive shots of the mountain, I felt that Everest could have been more atmospheric; though this is not to say the cinematography was ineffective. The movie was featured in 3D and it did feature some effective shots, but I also felt that this elements was a tad underwhelming. Finally there was the score by Dario Marianelli which I found fitting for the movie. In a matter of a heartbeat this score could go from adventurous to tragic; which in my opinion captured the concept of Everest perfectly.

Everest may have some issues in its story and characters, but I still found this blockbuster to be effective. When it came to the concepts behind the film, this movie captured the the complexity of climbing Everest; as well as remaining true to the drama behind the 1996 tragedy. So while it may have had a tough time up that mountain, I do believe that Everest makes the climb as it was indeed a solid Fall Blockbuster.

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