Jake Gyllenhall reaches out to touch Earth’s highest point in Everest.

Jake Gyllenhall reaches out to touch Earth’s highest point in Everest.

Reel Reviews: The Everest of mountain movies

"One hundred per cent factual or not, Everest is still a good mountain movie.”

  • Oct. 4, 2015 8:00 p.m.

For the longest time, Mount Everest merely existed, the tallest mountain on the planet.

The Nepali locals called it Sagarmatha and knew it well enough to stop climbing when the air got thin. Its peak is nearly 30,000 feet above sea level. Edmund Hillary and his guide Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the peak in 1953.

By 1996, climbing to the peak of Everest is practically tourism. Dozens of people do it every year. One such expedition met with disaster when a particularly nasty storm blew in and the mountain reminded everyone who is boss. Everest tells their story.

We say, “One hundred per cent factual or not, it’s still a good mountain movie.”

TAYLOR: Everest has a decent cast. Among our mountaineers are Jason Clarke (he’s not a household name yet, but you’ve seen him in Terminator:Genisys and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, most recently) Josh Brolin, and Jake Gyllenhaal.

Waiting at the base camp or at home are their companions Robin Wright, Kiera Knightley, and Emily Watson. Add to this fine list of names one mammoth mountain, beautiful and deadly, capture it on film in an interesting way, then await the accolades from an adoring public, right?

HOWE: The only decent cast member in Everest is the mountain itself. The cinematography is pretty amazing and the 3D effects of the snow blowing or depth perception that were used are probably the best I have seen in a long time.

In some instances I could almost feel the cold blast of air on my face. I don’t know if it was that the effects were that good or it was the air conditioning kicking in, either way it looked stunning. The acting on the other hand was something else, with the lineup of stars that they had for this I have too say I was a little disappointed.

A couple of years ago, we reviewed a true story disaster movie called The Impossible with Ewan McGregor. It got to me and I felt the pain they felt. In Everest there wasn’t that feeling and I don’t think it was down to the script or the writing, but down to the actors themselves who didn’t live up to their mountainous screen rival.

TAYLOR: I was glad that there wasn’t a bunch of convoluted back story to contend with. I don’t think there was any bad acting in the film, just not a lot to do, beyond gasp and shiver. As a story, Everest is exciting and visually impressive enough to overcome the shortfalls in character development. If Everest were some other film, say about the same characters but who now were a group of spelunkers who suffered a cave collapse, it would probably fail outright.

The mountain creates this movie and saves it in the end. See it on the big screen, ignore that you don’t care about any of these people. See it for the mountain. Everest is the star.

– Taylor gives Everest 4 very generous points out of 5.

– Howe gives it 3 points if only for the beauty of the mountain out of 5.

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe review the latest films for The Morning Star every Friday and Sunday.