Much like Southpaw, Everest disappoints big time! All the buzz, positive trailers and amazing casting built up my excitement and expectations that weren’t too high but weren’t low either. Director Baltasar Kormakur’s previous films Contraband and 2 Guns entertained me throughout, I love his gritty, realistic style and ability to stir some terrific action sequences, yet another big reason to be excited for Everest. It’s a shame he doesn’t bring any of that to the table this time around.
The true story is harrowing and intense, based on the 1996 disaster that left the tour groups for a fight for survival against the harsh elements. I read through the events and watched a few videos all about it on YouTube and it’s incredible, this should’ve made a really harrowing and grabbing movie but it’s the opposite. The structure is thin, the opening introduces the majority of the characters at an airport. Jump to them traveling to the base camp, watch them have some meetings and small parties before the climb, a couple of training montages and then comes the final ascent to the top. All of this happens but within that character development gets left at the airport. I didn’t connect or care about anyone here, all the family relationships and conflicts are empty, no emotional connection meant that once events worsened for the characters I didn’t get the sense of loss and peril that they felt.
Everest packs a mighty talented cast, and strands the majority of them in thankless, short roles. Robyn Wright and Keira Knightley get a few minutes of screen time each, if that, there’s no meat to chew on for any of these talented stars, same goes for Sam Worthington and Elizabeth Debicki. Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin and the remaining cast are admirable but they've been better.
The cinematography is underwhelming. For such an epic scale setting of grandeur and enormity, none of that is portrayed in the camera shots. There is no awe or spectacle. Sweeping shots of the crevasses, valleys and steep drops don't impose or look that grand, I can't imagine the 3D would've added anymore to the image. The soundtrack is forgettable and as for thrills and tension, it's non-existent. I was hoping to be left on edge, but when the first piece of rock and chunks of snow fell my reaction was reserved with my jaw left closed, not agape. Where is the sense of wonder and terror? Everest is a missed opportunity for survival movie greatness.