I didn’t expect too much going into Everest, but by the end I could say that Everest is one of the better disaster movies I’ve seen.
Everest is based on the true story of a climbing expedition disaster which took place on Everest in 1996.
- Great cast of actors which means good performances…
- … and also means you don’t actually know who’s going to bite the bullet, since in other movies like this it’s usually the A-listers who survive, and the Z-listers who kick the bucket
- Feeds educational exposition in without feeling forced
- It’s beautifully shot
- Impeccable CG shots
- Really tense due to its realism
- A few unexpected twists
- Not as emotionally impactful as I expected when it comes to the characters
- The pacing is occasionally off
I went into Everest thinking it was going to be an entertaining but probably kind-of-dumb disaster film. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a fairly simple disaster film, but where it differs from other disaster films is that it’s incredibly grounded. Information is slipped into the film so that the average person who knows nothing about climbing Everest knows exactly what these climbers will face when they get to it. These risks are amplified by so many of the shots which look like they are done completely in camera. This makes the climb and descent of Everest a nail-biting tale, and in a weird way it reminds me of Gravity (in that Gravity felt like if you were up in space and things went wrong, what they showed you is what would happen). The difference is with Everest, you need to swap space for a giant mountain that will kill you if you mess up.
As thrilling as Everest is, it’s not perfect. The most glaring problem is the weird pacing in some parts of the film, where sometimes two hours passes in two minutes, and where sometimes two minutes feels like forever. The only other problem that comes to mind is that when disaster did strike some of the characters, I was really expecting to get torn up inside… except I didn’t. Perhaps a slightly smaller cast of characters would have off-set this problem.
Overall Everest is an above average disaster film that’s incredible tense and beautiful to look at (this film probably looks great on Imax), but is brought down slightly by some poor pacing and underdeveloped relationships with the characters.