Everest movie posterThe biggest star of Everest is the mountain itself. So if you plan to see the movie, you’ve got to spring for the IMAX 3D. Bring popcorn – and oxygen! In many ways, the movie is reminiscent of Gravity (which I liked visually, but disliked narratively), only this time, the action takes place on a mountain instead of deep space. It’s an immersive experience that offers a glimpse into what drives certain adventure-seekers to pay big money to forego hot showers, oxygen, and terra firma, in a potentially fatal effort to summit the world’s tallest peak. The movie is based on the true story of one deadly day on the mountain: May 10, 1996. Climbers from two expeditions got caught up in an unexpected, violent snowstorm while making their final ascent toward the summit.

The cast is impressive. It includes Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty), Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal. The performances are good, and there are moments of high drama (so to speak), but truth be told, it was hard to keep track of who was who under all that gear – and snow. Character development – except for perhaps that of expedition leader Rob Hall (Clarke) – is lacking, perhaps because there were so many people on the mountain that day and various sources from which the material was drawn. They include Jon Krakauer’s best-selling book “Into Thin Air”, Beck Weathers’ book, “Left for Dead”, and perhaps most compelling – audio tapes from that fateful day.

Everest falls a bit flat story and character-wise, especially considering the inherent drama of the actual events, but it is visually captivating. And it’s probably as close as I’ll ever get to mountain climbing. So while I didn’t exactly love it, I’m not sorry I saw it. In IMAX 3D.

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