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4.1 out of 5 stars122
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on June 30, 2004
Since reading "Into Thin Air", I have become a virtual Everest '96 hound, and this is my first quarry. The IMAX team's goal on Everest was to film David Breashear's expedition in that fateful year, focusing primarily on Ed Viesturs, a seasoned climber from the States, and Araceli Segarra, in her quest to be the first Spanish woman to reach the summit. A lot of attention, deservedly so, is paid as well to Jangbu Sherpa, son of Tenzing Sherpa who accompanied Sir Edmund Hilary in his premier trip to the summit.
And watching these climbers was riveting--ascending sheer sheets of ice, yards high, that look as though they are leaning in towards the climber; crossing bottomless chasms by placing an aluminum work ladder from one side to the other, and using it as a bridge; and feeling (in part through the excellent cinematography) the pull the mountain exerts on them to continue on. But I was floored, completely, by the thought of the cinematic team following along, all the way to the top, regardless of the weight and awkwardness of the equipment. For example, in the aforementioned aluminum ladder scene, shots seem to be taken from each side of the chasm. Had they carried that heavy equipment accross that ladder? And, once they came down from such a difficult and draining climb, they still managed to piece together a marvelous film.
The cinematography, once again, is gorgeous. Shots of the mountain convey not only its beauty, but its terrifying danger, as ice and whirling snow tower over the climbers, as a rescue helicopter wavers, uncertainly, as Liam Nelson explains the scientific impossibility of a helicopter to work in such thin air (it does). Seeing the Icefall alone, I think, was worth the price I paid for the video.
Warning: If you get this movie expecting it to be a documentary covering the Adventure Consultants and Mountain Madness Expeditions, chronicled in "Into Thin Air", you will be disappointed. The IMAX expedition was unrelated to the others, and of course the crew could not predict that those expeditions might yield more interesting, if tragic, results. But the teams do interact with each other when it becomes clear that members are facing unexpected danger. I enjoyed "meeting" many of the folks I had read about.
Finally, "Everest", the film, stands on its own. With a terrific story in Araceli Segarra, wonderful images from Utah and Spain as well as Nepal, and a score assisted by George Harrison melodies, it provides a great armchair journey to the top of the world.
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on April 6, 2004
I am professional outdoor/aerial photographer from Alaska who has seen grandeur of mother nature which would make most people cry in utter awe. This movie reminds me of spending quality time at Denali (Mt. McKinley) climber's basecamp at 7,300 feet. With 14,000 to 20,320 foot peaks and the constant rumbling of avalanches all around you, you get a sense of "total sensory overload". This DVD is as real as big mountains get when placed onto the big silver screen or your home TV. The "extra" parts to the DVD make it even more worth buying!

This movie is also a godsend for the tourism in Nepal and Himalayan Region. The sheer maginitude of the Himalayas is shown here on this movie is as deep as the human spirt and as tall as the sky. However, to see this visuals from the elevation these climbers see it, you risk AMS, HAPE, HACE, snow blindness, avalanches and/or most certainly death for any small mistake in judgement.
David Breashers deserves a medal of international honour for making such a masterpiece of a documentary. In addition, I wish pay a great tribute to the late George Harrison for making such awe-inspiring and chilling music scores for the backdrop of this movie. If you were moved this movie on DVD, you owe it to yourself to buy the audio CD soundtrack as well. Every you go where Mother Nature shows off her wonders, take the CD with you and get inspired. When you listen to the audio CD, you can visualize the raw beauty of the Everest region and seens from the DVD in your mind.
May the climbers from the 1996 Everest Disaster rest in peace. Also to all potential Everest climbers, you need to learn from these climbers fatal mistakes before you become a statistic yourself. As Ed Viesturs says regarding risk and climbing, "Getting to the top is optional, getting down is mandatory".
My last words for this review are, "Always respect the power of Mother Nature"....and when out in nature "leave no trace"..
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on January 28, 2004
I have 7 Everest DVD's and this is definitely at the top end of the collection. All the extras on the DVD also make very interesting viewing and you cannot help but feel total admiration for anyone who attempts the Everest challenge, whether it is being a cook at Base camp or oen of the elite that actually manages to reach the summit. I recommend this to anyone old enough to understand it. Great stuff!!
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on February 29, 2004
The images in this film are absolutely stunning--crisp, colorful, and so real that they barely seem one-dimensional. The deadly beauty of Everest comes through loud and clear: sheer ice falls; huge chasms that must be crossed by way of precarious stepladders flung across them; avalanches; blizzards; subzero degree temperatures; sheer drops on either side of narrow, narrow trails. One can feels frozen and short of breath watching this film.
But the beauty notwithstanding, what especially intrigues me about the film is the obsession that the mountaineers have to scale Everest. Part of the story of the film details the multiple deaths in a party trapped in a storm on Everest's slope. The leader of the party had a seven-month pregnant wife; all the other slain climbers had loved ones they left behind; the survivors placed rescuers--helicopter pilots and other mountaineers--in jeopardy. Is so much death and threat of death worthwhile? Isn't there a certain point where responsibility for others trumps a desire to stand on the "top of the world"? The film doesn't explore these questions, nor the issue of why so many people have such a compulsion to scale Everest. I wish it had, because I found myself both captivated by the mountain's beauty and angered by the wanton disregard for life displayed by the climbers.
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on July 19, 2003
This movie is about the 1996 Mt. Everest climbing season and it's a visually stunning, beautiful film which has held up marvelously since its release. I originally saw it in the IMAX format on the big screen, but the DVD transfer is stunning. Very little quality has been lost, either visually or in the audio segments. This is a high quality production from beginning to end, and you will not want this film to end!
Though only 44 minutes in length, you can watch it repeatedly and always take something new from the experience. What I most enjoy about this movie is that you get to know the climbers that are profiled. You get to see them training for the gruelling Everest experience months in advance in their home countries. Various climbers are shown bicycling through the Arizona desert or rock climbing in Spain. They are interviewed and you're allowed a little window into their soul, so when they struggle on the mountain, you have empathy and understanding of their plight. The characterizations of the climbers are like getting to know people in novels, it's unusual in a documentary, but very compelling.
The movie is magical in its visual beauty. The vistas are crisp, clear and sharp. The narration by Liam Neesom is understated, elegant and never intrusive. The ending credits play a stunning live version of the Beatles classic 1969 hit, "Here Comes the Sun" sung by George Harrison, recorded in Japan. All in all, this is a film of mastery. I urge everyone to see it and enjoy the stunning spectacle.
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on February 18, 2003
It is unfortunate that the reviewer that bought this thinking it would cover more of the tragic expedition from the book thought that the movie was a waste. This isn't Hollywood-they don't always focus on the deaths, ya know. It was explained in this film that the folks on the expedition chose to wait out a storm and watched the other parties ascend only to hear of the climbers that were stranded. When one that had fought his way back down came into contact with the filming crew, they put the gear down and did everything needed to save the man's life. And this reviewer was upset by that?!!?
The "making of" section is almost more interesting than the actual movie. The main feature is really too short for my taste. The camera work is gorgeous and the soundtrack is a perfect match but it is all too brief.
As a plus, we get to see Tenzing Norgay's son reach the summit for the first time. That was a very emotional moment and a great clmax to the film.
Maybe you should see about renting it before deciding to buy.
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on September 18, 2001
Another superbly done IMAX documentary by the MacGillivray team! While shot originally for the IMAX screen, the images are magnificent and surprisingly awesome considering the restraints the film crew encountered!! Keep in mind that segments are shot in 90 second intervals before changing the film cannister and the camera/film gear weighs a couple of hundred pounds! They have footage of men and women struggling for the summit and I admire most the crew who endured to obtain the most breathtaking images of the Everest that have been shot to date. The edits are meaningful and this documentary stays true to the genre by recording what the team experienced with enough background information for context. The narration by Liam Neeson and the music of George Harrison are both blended in to make this film one amazing accomplishment. If you love cinema, especially documentary cinema, this one is for you. It was captivating for me and for my two toddler children as well. Truly a celebration of life and beauty.
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on February 18, 2001
Having seen a few Everest videos, this one is at the top. Wheareas the IMAX format affords a clear and crisp panorama of the climb and the descent, it is really the bonus cuts which make the DVD worth a viewing, in particular: the computer-generated 3D climbing route and vista from the summit, the interviews with the 3 featured climbers, and the thoughtful and methodical introspection of a climber rescued after a near-death experience, Dr. Beck Weathers! The video could have given the viewer a better background on the mountain itself. Its 3D graphics, though clear, reminded me of the graphics from my son's video games of a few years ago. To the moviemakers' credit, they justly call the Sherpas who toted their equipment and supplies (some of it all the way to the summit), "the real heroes of the expedition." Among world-class climbers, such acknowledgement and attribution are rare. Finally, of special note are the comments of Jamling Norgay, the son of Tensing Norgay, the first climber, along with Edmund Hillary, of Everest in the 1950s. If you get a chance to get your hands on this DVD, please see it.
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on February 12, 2001
Ok, I did not see the DVD so I am basing this on actually seeing this movie in an IMAX theater. I read "Into Thin Air" and decided I wanted to see this movie. It is still playing in NY although there were only 7 other people in the whole theater on a Friday night so maybe it won't be there for long.
I can't imagine the movie having the same effect if I had not seen it on an IMAX screen (thus the 3 stars). I can't imagine the DVD being half as good. The documentary is only 45 minutes long and it was just cool to see things I had read about like 'the icefall' and 'Lohtse face' etc. IMAX movies are amazing if seen in an IMAX theater b/c the cinematography is just spectacular. I felt dizzy when they were filming themselves walking over a deep crevase by way of ladder on the icefall on Everest. I would recommend if you can get to an IMAX theater to go there instead of getting the DVD or even to see any other IMAX movies b/c they are just really cool but unless you are particularly interested in mountain climbing or Everest you probably won't like this on DVD enough to want to buy it. Rent or borrow it first to see if you want it.
It basically just documents 3 people who's dream it is to climb Mt. Everest. One is just married and is on his honeymoon (his wife stays at base camp), one is a young Spanish woman and the third is a Nepalese Sherpa who's father along with 'Hillary' was the first to reach the summit of Everest. It was quite interesting and enjoyable but not something I would want to watch over and over again. They briefly spoke about the 1996 disaster which took place while they were on the mountain but the movie is only 45 minutes long so it was very brief and they don't show you any of the actual climbers except for a picture of Rob Hall who was a good friend to one of the climbers in this movie and some pictures of the devastating condition "Beck" was in and how he was rescued from Everest. They also show him in rehabilitation and show the devastating frostbite he suffered.
If you are planning a trip to Everest I would say watch this and read the book "Into Thin Air" and other books before you make the final decision to go.
Anyhoo, I liked it.
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on January 5, 2001
This movie deserves the highest ratings. The feature is short, but most IMAX movies are. This doesn't take away from the thrill though. This DVD contains "Making Of Everest" which makes the time a lot longer. It also has deleted scenes, extra climber journals, and a really cool 3D Everest map.
Everest puts you on site of the tallest mountain in the world. David Breashears shows the training and tribulation of the mountain that everyone goes through. The movie was filmed during the 1996 climbing dissaster. The expedition was halted to help rescue these climbers. The making of Everest documents this disaster.
The Making Of Everest also has tons of information on the IMAX film and the hiking team. The team was composed of many climbers including a rock climber from Mexico and a Sherpa, whose father was with the first ever to climb Everest. The IMAX film is 10 times sharper and can be shown clearly on screens up to 7 stories high. One reel weighs 10 pounds and only get 90 seconds of video.
A DVD doesn't do justice to what the IMAX theater does. I would totally recommend you see this in theater or on a big screen TV. This is a superior IMAX movie.
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