Everest (2015): Movie Review – You Really Oughta Read Into Thin Air

As a background, I’ve read both the long form article Jon Krakauer wrote for Outside Magazine with regards to the 1996 Everest disaster and the resulting book that was published with the same title, Into Thin Air. This was way back in 2009 (for the book) and even further back (for the article, I don’t remember where but it was probably in at a clinic). Which was why I was pretty stoked to watch Everest, a big-budget Hollywood movie starring the likes of Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke and Josh Brolin, based on that particular event (but not on the first-person account of Mr. Krakauer).

Everest

The movie is instead based on research done by the movie’s writers and filmmakers. So how does Everest compare to the book? Into Thin Air was a pretty gripping read, and while the movie does have its moments, it felt disjointed to me as there was literally no connection with the characters on-screen. These are the guys that I’ve spent days reading about, so yeah, aside from Rob Hall (the doomed leader of one of the groups) and Beck (the one who lost both hands and his nose), there’s nothing much to go by for the rest; this is confounded by the fact that all of them looked the same on-screen, obscured by their climbing gear.

Hours of suffering and heroics were reduced to a stack of scenes of people dying (or in the case of Beck, rising up from near-death, which to me was the sole awesome part about the entire movie, but not worth the price of admission). To be honest, if it weren’t for the book and my somehow near-morbid interest in the hows and whys of the ’96 Everest disaster, I wouldn’t be able to at least sit through the film.

Into-Thin-Air

If you came to watch Everest to understand how such a clusterf*ck happened in 1996, you are better off watching Seconds from Disaster Season 6, Episode 5 – Into the Death Zone, which covered the tragedy, or read Into Thin Air. I would give Everest a 2.5 out of 5. You’d probably want to catch it on IMAX, some of the shots look really nice. I told my wife that we should probably do the hike to Everest Base Camp one day, and the start of the movie was a very compelling commercial.

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