Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Jason Clarke – Rob Hall
Josh Brolin – Beck Weathers
Keira Knightley – Jan Arnold
John Hawkes – Doug Hansen
Sam Worthington – Guy Cotter
Jake Gyllenhaal – Scott Fischer
Emily Watson – Helen Wilton
It’s difficult for me to slate the shit parts of the movie due to it being based on real events (I do hold some compassion you know), so I’ll try be as constructive as possible.
Everest is one of those movies where you have a cluster of characters all dressed similarly, so that towards the end you almost can’t tell the difference between them – or give a crap. But honestly, within the final 20-25 minutes, I sat staring at the screen wondering who was who. Who was still up there, who had come down, etc. One scene sees the group huddled together on their journey up Mount Everest, and as they converse with each other they mention people’s names. Doug, Scott, Rob.. but by this point I had given up interest. Each and every one of them was dressed in a padded jacket, hat and gloves. They almost all looked the same, and the entertainment value had long disappeared as I now sat questioning things like, “who’s the one in the red jacket who keeps shouting?”, “Rob has fallen dangerously ill.. which one is he again? The one in black?..”, etc. It was all just a mess of snow, puffer jackets and beards to me. Was almost like playing bloody Where’s Wally. There was one particular actor I was very surprised to see though..
Naoko Mori makes an appearance as passionate mountain climber Yasuko Namba. She’s very good too, displaying the whole ‘foreigner amongst foreigners’ character well. As such, she is mainly seen just nodding and smiling, letting out small laughs of relief. I actually warmed (ironically) to her more than the other characters because of how sweetly enthusiastic she was. And the fact ahe added a dash of female relief amongst the big furry boys. Those of you familiar with Naoko Mori have probably seen her in BBC sci-fi Torchwood, or remember her in Absolutely Fabulous. The woman has played a variety of memorable characters in her time but Everest was the last thing I thought I’d see her in. A really random casting, but good all the same.
One of the actors was just awful. Thank god she stayed on base camp; although even scaling a mountain of 29,000 feet I doubt she’d be able to even shout.
Dr. Caroline Mackenzie (Debicki) got on my tits, just by opening her mouth to speak. She first appears to offer the climbers some advice on their challenge, by standing in front of them more dull than a stick of celery (and probably just as thin), talking about the dangers and side effects of ‘going up’. I found the facts interesting, but her delivery I did not. I was unsure whether it was the actress herself or she was doing it for the character she was playing, but the woman just wouldn’t speak up. Her voice projection was just awful, as though she had a sore throat and couldn’t speak past a certain volume. Even during scenes of total terror, she manages to not raise her vocals. And during scenes of death, she became practically mute.
Debicki’s standard of performance was as icy as the mountain itself. Glazed with quietness, she seemed to just stand there during any scene she was in, as though being used to prop up the ceiling of the base camp tent with the other poles. Not good. ‘Wooden’ is not the word to describe her – this woman was a slab of fucking cedar.
One of the characters becomes dangerously ill on his way up the mountain, subsequently losing most of his sight. Which was ironic because I was disappointed at the lack of visuals during this and many other scenes. As though I’d gone blind to special effects myself, I sat wondering when we’d get a nice serving of ‘up high’. I thought Everest would be engulfed in spectacular graphics – glossy peaks, massively deep caverns, or what I really craved – views of the land below (if at all visible). This movie didn’t feature enough of how high the characters climbed. Personally, having a few of them stop and look across / down the atmosphere at the mountain breaking through cloud would have had me in awe. Or one of them looking up when they reach the top to see nothing but stark atmosphere. That incredible feeling of when blue sky grows darker, signalling that there is more up there..
In the end I found myself staring hard at the screen, willing the camera to expose magnificent views. Show the audience just how high up the group were, the haunting atmosphere of them reaching the heavens.
But I had to rely on my imagination as the producers failed wonderfully to add any form of visual excitement. They could have been scaling Snowdonia in bloody Wales for all I knew. Too many snowy ledges and chunks of rock, not enough peeking over the edge at the clouds below them.
I read the caption somewhere, ‘this year’s Gravity’.
Gravity MY ARSE!
Everest holds absolutely none of the amazing visual effects the George Clooney flick did. Gravity gave us intense accidents and a constant feeling of dread garnished with some beautiful special effects. Everest gives us an irrtating doctor stood in the middle of a flapping tent and vain news reporters sitting on makeshift chairs giving interviews, before the climbing actually starts. To compare Everest to Gravity is an insult, it is nothing like it at all.
On a more serious note, I do appreciate that this movie is based on real events – hence why I made a point of not commenting on the men and women who were affected by these. My review is based purely on how this movie was produced, a real event is one thing – a movie produced about it is another.
I wouldn’t watch Everest again. It’s one of those movies where if you’ve seen it all the way through once, there is no point watching it again. Nothing about the movie inspires me to want to sit through it more than once, not even if it was available for free. It doesn’t contain any memorable dialogue or sequences that I would want to indulge in a second time, let alone third.
I think the fact names like Jake Gyllenhaal and Keira Knightley were part of the cast boosted the popularity of Everest. Had it been produced with unknown actors I don’t think it would have done well at all. Yet again, a movie saved by its stars.
The general promotional poster (as shown above) makes this movie look like an epic – the way Jason Clarke has his mouth hanging open in an “oh…my…god. Will we ever make it?” fashion, dressed in brightly coloured hiking gear.
It really isn’t.
If you’re a mountaineering enthusiast, give this one a go.
If not, don’t bother. Save your money and watch it when it’s available for free.