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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Sep 22, 2015

Everest Review: Beautiful Vistas Of A Frozen Landscape

'EVEREST' is based on a true story that happened in May of 1996 on the highest mountain on our planet, which is 29,029 feet high. Rob Hall (Jason Clarke, last seen as Connor in "Terminator Genesys") is a Kiwi mountain climb organizer whose pregnant wife (Keira Knightley) is waiting for his return to their native New Zealand. He leads a group of mountain climbers in an expedition that eventually ends in tragedy where 8 trekkers perished in a brutal blizzard that battered the mountain's South Face.

The best thing about the movie is the breathtakingly beautiful cinematography showing various spectacular footage shot on the frozen mountain landscape, especially if you'd watch it in IMAX 3D (which we did) where the visuals feel so real. You'd often wonder where the camera is as it weaves in and out of difficult scenes, particularly in that scene where they cross a perilous hanging bridge or when they're passing through narrow mountain passes where just one slip can send you down a ravine and into kingdom come.

Early on, we're treated to a lecture on how dangerous the climb can be. The lower parts of Everest with its deep ice crevasses are actually more risky than the higher slopes of the mountain, but at the summit, the air becomes thin and it gets more difficult to breathe. The extremely cold air can also very harmful and Mother Nature doesn't really care for human survival.

Among the climbers are Texan adventurer Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin) whose wife (Robin Wright) is waiting for him at home with their two kids, determined mailman from Seattle Doug Hansen (John Hawkes) and Japanese climber Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori), the only female member of the group.

Other characters include Jake Gyllenhaal as the leader of another team of climbers named Scott, Emily Watson as the base camp in charge, Sam Worthington as Rob's friend who helps the climbers back to safety and Michael Kelly as a journalist covering the climb who later wrote a best selling book about what happened, "Into Thin Air".

The movie is well directed by Baltasar Kormakur, a filmmaker from Iceland who hit it big in Hollywood with action flicks like "Two Guns" and "Contraband". He stages the climactic final crisis quite impressively, making the mountains of Nepal themselves also an imposing character in this movie about icy death and survival.

So why do men climb a mountain? As some of the characters answer in unison: "Because it's there." And you can feel the machismo, the testosterone rush, the exciting challenge of a real life adventure of these alpha males. But, as another character says later: "The last word always belongs to the mountain." And it's so true. Do you think that the 1996 disaster has stopped men from climbing Everest? No. In 2014 and 2015 alone, 35 people also died trying the scale the highest mountain on earth. Men may come and men may go, but Everest will always be there.