Everest – Disaster or High Peak?

Last week I was lucky enough to get to see Everest in the theater.

Everest

On the morning of May 10, 1996, climbers (Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin) from two expeditions start their final ascent toward the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. With little warning, a violent storm strikes the mountain, engulfing the adventurers in one of the fiercest blizzards ever encountered by man. Challenged by the harshest conditions imaginable, the teams must endure blistering winds and freezing temperatures in an epic battle to survive against nearly impossible odds.”

Everest should have been a fairly simple movie to write. There are numerous accounts of the incident in print, including several first person books from survivors. Not only do you have an easy to follow timeline but all the necessary details and a lot of sample dialogue. They hired two of the best Hollywood scriptwriters, Simon Beaufoy (Oscars for 127 Hours and Slumdog Millionaire as well as a nomination for The Full Monty) and William Nicholson (Oscar nominations for Gladiator and Shadowlands).

In spite of this, I did not find the script to be written particularly well. While it is an actual event, too much of the writing smacks of 70s disaster movies. Characters are somewhat stock and we don’t particularly care about them until disaster strikes. I mention this because the shallowness of the characters is pretty much my only complaint against the film.

Visually, Everest is an absolute marvel. I had seen the original IMAX movie taken at that time, watched interviews with a particular survivor (not spoiling it for those who somehow missed news coverage when it happened), and read Into Thin Air (the best of the books on this topic) yet it wasn’t until I saw this film in RPX that I had a real, visceral understanding of what it means to climb Everest.

Everest is directed by Baltasar Kormakur. Previously I have seen his 2 Guns and Contraband. They were okay but not impressive. Everest is absolutely riveting. The film is nicely paced and very informative without being pedantic. It was filmed in part on Everest at base camp as well as in the Italian Alps.

Yes, we are introduced to a variety of caricatures, I mean characters in the early stages. We have earnest team leader, Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and laid back team leader, Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal). Our hopeful climbers include Texan alpha male Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), nice guy mailman Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), and veteran female climber Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori). The native Sherpa guides are often ignored in Everest stories but at least two are here as minor characters, Ang Dorjee (Ang Phula Sherpa) and Lopsang (Pemba Sherpa).

Performances are just fine across the board. Josh Brolin does not have to stretch to play Beck Weathers – the role seems written with the actor in mind. Jason Clarke is fabulous as Rob Hall. His performances really vary with him usually being in the background of a film and underplaying his role. While this didn’t work well with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, here he steals the show (if steal is an accurate term for an ensemble piece).

Even though I knew the complete story, including the fates of those involved, I found the RPX presentation harrowing. Everest is definitely not a movie to see on television or even a small theater screen. Go see this on the biggest screen you can. Now.

Hot Dog! Lots of Regal Offers!

Regal Cinemas

* Tomorrow (9/17), Regal and a number of other chains are offering a double feature: Maze Runner and the new sequel, The Scorch Trials. The neat thing is that Regal (mine at least) is offering the double feature for the same price as a ticket to just the sequel. The double feature starts at 6 with The Scorch Trials premiering at 8. I love double features and marathons but I’ll be working.

* Starting Thursday, receive an Everest patch with IMAX 3D ticket purchase while supplies last. I have found that most theaters forget about this type of promotion so if you go, make sure to ask if they have them.

* Speaking of IMAX, Regal still has the deal where if you see two eligible IMAX films using your RCC card, they will give you $10 off a ticket for a third. I went to see Mad Max Fury Road on IMAX last weekend and it was amazing on the huge screen.

* The first 50 ticket holders to go see Captive will receive a collector’s ticket

* As usual, Regal still has $2 candy Monday and $2 popcorn Tuesday

 

Regal Crown Club

* If you download the Regal app to your phone, September’s coupon (which can be used on multiple visits) is $1 off a hot dog. I’m not sure if this is just regular hot dogs or also the footlongs and the corn dog minis.

Regal IMAX Offer

Regal Crown Club

Regal Crown Club just sent out an offer I’ll take advantage of.

Enjoy the Triple Crown IMAX® Offer for a limited time. See 2 different qualifying IMAX® movies from 8/28/15 through 11/30/15 and get $10 off your next adult IMAX® movie ticket purchase. The discount will be automatically loaded to the Crown Club member’s card with qualifying purchase. The $10 offer can be redeemed at any Regal IMAX® box office. Redeem offer by 12/31/15.

Qualifying movies are:

Jurassic World

Jurassic World

The Transporter Refueled

Everest

Everest

The Walk

Crimson Peak

The Hunger Games Mockingjay – Part 2

Spectre

Since I was planning on heading down to the Simpsonville IMAX (a little over an hour away) to go see Jurassic World and was already planning on doing the same for Everest, I have my two qualifiers already.

By the way, if Everest at all interests you, you should definitely read Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. Not only does it intimately cover the terrible true events befalling that expedition but Krakauer was actually there at the time (and is depicted by Michael Kelly (Stamper in House of Cards) in the movie).

 

Max Out the Imax

Instant Netflix has quite a few Imax films available. They are short, ranging from half an hour up to a little over an hour. All the ones I have seen are quite beautiful and most are narrated by a big name actor with a distinctive voice (Leonard Nimoy, Ed Harris, Helen Mirren, etc.). None of them seem to go into much depth but they are an entertaining diversion and generally fit for the whole family.

Arabia (2010) – Not rated

“Helen Mirren narrates this sweeping exploration of Arabian culture and history that’s driven by stunning IMAX cinematography. Standing at the center is a young film student who returns from studying abroad to shoot a movie about his homeland.”

Dolphins (2000) – Not rated

“Pierce Brosnan narrates, and Sting provides the music for this IMAX documentary that steps into the world of wild (and highly intelligent) dolphins.”

Everest (1998) – Not rated

“Noted climber David Breashears leads an IMAX crew to the top of the Mount Everest, providing the first 360-degree view from Earth’s highest peak.”

Beavers (1998) – Not rated

“The natural woodland engineers of the great northwest are studied in fascinating detail in this film festival favorite, originally in IMAX theaters.”

Titanica (1995) – Not rated

“Titanica follows a 1992 expedition to the wreck of the Titanic, the “unsinkable” luxury liner that collided with an iceberg and sank in 1912.”

Amazon (1997) – Not rated

“Actress Linda Hunt narrates this enthralling IMAX presentation showcasing the vitality and magical wonder of the Amazonian rain forest.”

Legends of Flight (2010) – Not rated

“Learn about, and ride along with, two “game changing” designs in the world of aviation: the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus A380.”

The Living Sea (1995) – Not rated

“This Oscar-nominated documentary explores the world’s oceans, celebrating the vast variety of life and activity found in their exotic depths.”

Journey Into Amazing Caves (2001) – Not rated

“This IMAX film accompanies two cave explorers on some unusual adventures, from ice caves in Greenland to underwater caves in the jungles of Mexico.”

Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia (2007) – Not rated

“Donald Sutherland narrates this larger-than-life IMAX production that explores the history, evolution and extinction of the dinosaurs.”

The Magic of Flight (1996) – Not rated

“Tom Selleck narrates this documentary that deftly navigates the history of aviation from the Wright brothers to the U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels.”

Volcanoes of the Deep Sea (2003) – Not rated

“Travel 12,000 feet below the ocean’s surface into an exciting and rarely explored area of hydrothermal volcanoes in this scientific journey.”