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Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Everest (Blu-ray) (2015)

Everest (Blu-ray) (2015)

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Released 21-Jan-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Featurette-Making Of-Race to the Summit: The Making of Everest
Featurette-Learning to Climb
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-A Mountain of Work
Featurette-Aspiring to Authenticity: The Real Story
Audio Commentary-with director Baltasar KormŠkur
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 121:10
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Baltasar KormŠkur
Studio
Distributor

Universal Sony
Starring Jason Clarke
Emily Watson
Sam Worthington
Josh Brolin
Keira Knightley
Jake Gyllenhaal
Ang Phula Sherpa
Martin Henderson
John Hawkes
Michael Kelly
Naoko Mori
Robin Wright
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Dario Marianelli


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Hindi Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
French
German
Hindi
Italian
Turkish
Portuguese
Arabic
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Icelandic
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† The 1996 Mount Everest Disaster has been covered in books and documentaries, but 2015ís Everest is the first major motion picture to dramatise the event. Directed by Baltasar KormŠkur (2 Guns, Contraband), this is a d*** good disaster movie imbued with an admirable sense of authenticity which manages to avoid outright sensationalism. For the most part, the disaster lends itself beautifully to the motion picture format, providing both tragedy and big-screen intensity, not to mention there are aspects to this tale which again prove that fact can be stranger than fiction. Indeed, this is such obvious fodder for a film that one must wonder why it took nearly two decades for one to materialise. With seasoned action filmmaker KormŠkur at the helm, Everest is visually spectacular and competently executed, capturing the sheer chaos of a storm on one of the tallest mountains in the world, and conveying the arduous physical effort of mountaineering.

††† In 1996, several separate climbing expeditions begin ascending to the summit of Mt. Everest. New Zealand climbing enthusiast Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) runs Adventure Consultants with the aid of his base camp manager Helen (Emily Watson). Robís new group includes journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly), experienced Texan climber Beck (Josh Brolin), and returning client Doug (John Hawkes), who refuses to give up on his dream to reach the summit. Climbing Everest is frustrating, though, with too many companies and too many clients vying for space, which threatens everybodyís safety. Amid the traffic jam, Rob finds a familiar face in Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal), who owns Mountain Madness and plans to summit on the same day as Rob. But a terrible storm begins to move in on the most critical day, splitting up the climbers, leaving people stranded in the Death Zone with a low supply of oxygen.

††† Running at a hair under two hours, Everest does feel incomplete to an extent. The disaster is simply too vast for a single motion picture to cover, and the script cannot quite find the time to properly develop all of the individuals involved, or convey every facet of the event. (There was actually a team of IMAX filmmakers on the mountain when tragedy struck, but they are only mentioned once here, in passing.) Itís important to perceive Everest as a dramatisation of the disaster, rather than an entirely accurate historical document. Some have criticised the movie for both its inaccuracies as well as the details that it excluded, yet the script hews closely enough to the many important factors of the real event, whilst only making minor changes to produce a more dramatically satisfying movie. Screenwriters William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy also needed to fill in some of the blanks since details surrounding the deaths of some of the climbers remain unknown. Ultimately, Everest comes together well enough on its own terms, and thatís what matters.

††† Everest is a visual blockbuster, produced with IMAX and 3D in mind, and it thankfully translates into a viewing experience thatís both involving and convincing. Salvatore Totinoís cinematography is eye-catching, while editing is sharp and Dario Marianelli provides a hugely effective original score. Segments of the picture were shot on the real mountain in sub-zero temperatures, and the integration of location shooting with digital effects and the staggeringly authentic sets is wholly seamless. As a matter of fact, at no point will you be consciously aware that youíre looking at CGI, which is the highest honour you can award a motion picture like this. KormŠkur gets plenty of mileage from the material, managing to stage nail-bitingly intense set-pieces, and even though the fates of those involved have been known for twenty years, itís easy to get involved in the movie and hope that everybody will survive regardless. Better yet, nothing comes off as excessive, with a handful of armrest-clenching beats that are more on the subtle side, and numerous nice character moments at base camp. Although KormŠkurís previous motion picture efforts are entertaining, itís refreshing to see the director tackle something more challenging. He shows respect to all participants involved, even closing with authentic photos of the real people caught up in the disaster.

††† There are a lot of characters here, but itís easy to keep track of whoís who thanks to effective characterisations, and it definitely helps that recognisable actors play the important roles. Despite the focus on visuals and set-pieces, the movie does connect on an emotional level on account of strong acting across the board, and there is a nice, palpable camaraderie between the performers. Clarkeís Rob Hall is essentially the lead of the picture, though this is an ensemble effort, with all the thespians given a time to shine. The likes of Watson and Hawkes hit their marks exquisitely, while Brolin effortlessly carves out the most charismatic presence in the movie, and even Sam Worthington submits an excellent performance as rival mountaineer Guy Cotter. Also notable is Gyllenhaal, who feels severely underused and only seems to exist in the movieís peripheries. And as Hallís pregnant, worrying wife, Keira Knightley fulfils her duties well enough.

††† Perhaps more depth or background to the characters might have been appreciated, but Everest was designed as an immersive you-are-there experience, and it easily succeeds in this sense. Itís not an easy watch, however, with KormŠkur not shying away from the more unnerving aspects of this disaster, though it still stays within the confines of a PG-13 rating. Intense and affecting, this is a modern disaster movie done right.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† Shot on Arri Alexa XT Plus and Red Epic Dragon cameras, and presumably allotted a high-end digital intermediate, Everestís 1080p high definition transfer is enormously impressive. Universal present the movie in its original aspect ratio of 2.39:1, and itís given a healthy bitrate to make the most of this 50GB disc. The result is demo material, pure and simple, and itís wonderful to behold this eye-catching presentation.

††† Clarity, sharpness and detail are consistently above-average, with the video remaining strong no matter the environment. Indeed, even in the storm, every piece of snow is discernible, and the image is crystal clear. Facial hair is refined, clothing textures never falter, and often colours pop. The image has sufficient depth to it as well, with blacks looking true, and even though this is a 2D presentation, the long shots of scenery and the perilous images looking down the mountain have genuine impact.

††† Itís a minor quibble, but, like most Universal presentations, I did find Everest to be a bit smooth from time to time, falling short of perfection. Still, if you maintain a fair viewing distance, this probably will not bother you. Fortunately, the transfer does not fall victim to any encoding issues, with no traces of compression artefacts, aliasing, or crush. Itís smooth sailing, and fans of the movie should walk away wholly satisfied.

††† Universal provide a number of subtitle options, so non-English viewers are catered for. The English track is well-formatted and easy to read.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† Chalk the audio up as another win for Universal, as Everest is truly breathtaking from an aural perspective. A number of audio options are available on this disc, led by an English Dolby Atmos track that downgrades to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix for those are not Atmos-compatible. Interestingly, from the disc menu, both the French and German tracks are listed as Dolby Atmos, but upon selection, they are recognised as lossy Dolby Digital 5.1. I am not sure if this is an oversight, or perhaps they are Atmos tracks that downgrade to a lossy mix on for those without an Atmos set-up. Sound off in the comments if you have any insight.

††† As to be expected from the budget, this is a professionally-mixed track, with dialogue that remains stable and comprehensible from start to end. Even when the winds pick up, itís still possible to hear the characters, and though some whispers might be tricky to hear, this is by design to add to the atmosphere. Thereís plenty of surround channel use here; when the storm hits, the powerful winds sound incredible. Subwoofer is always put to exceptional use, with avalanches and storms providing a real thunderous rumble. Helicopter rotor blades are deafening, too. And despite the extreme noise, there are no issues with dropouts or muffling - itís all smooth sailing.

††† Separation is noticeable as well; in an early shot of a bus passing by, the noise of the bus travels from left to right as if the vehicle is actually in front of you. Music is subtle, but comes through to wonderful effect. Everest is the type of movie that really makes good use of your surround sound system.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† A reasonable selection of special features is included.

Race to the Summit: The Making of Everest (HD; 10:59)

††† A short but genuinely fascinating look into the making of the movie, with cast and crew insight into the productionís genesis, the importance of the story, and the rigours of the shoot. With a portion of the movie having been shot on location on Everest, it was a tough shoot for all involved, with the risk of altitude sickness and exposure. Well worth watching.

Learning to Climb (HD; 4:42)

††† This behind-the-scenes featurette is concerned with training for the film, with the actors talking about altitude simulations and their attitudes towards learning about climbing. Even the real-life Guy Cotter chimes in here. Good stuff.

A Mountain of Work (HD; 5:13)

††† This is easily my favourite featurette of the disc. Although it is too short, this is an insightful glimpse at the sets and visual effects work behind the movie, with segments of Mt. Everest being recreated on the 007 Stage at Pinewood Studios. The visual effects guys also chime in, and even talk about creating a 3D model of the entirety of Everest in the computer.

Aspiring to Authenticity: The Real Story (HD; 6:47)

††† And finally, we have a short featurette dedicated to the real story, with many of the real-life players discussing memories of the event and its impact. Quite powerful, but again itís too short - this could have easily run a good half-hour.

Feature Commentary With Director Baltasar KormŠkur

††† KormŠkur has a lot to say about his movie, which he is obviously very proud of. He speaks about the production at length, touching on research and particularly structure, justifying his decisions to cut certain scenes (what a shame there are no deleted scenes on this disc). Also fascinating is hearing him point out certain scenes shot on the real Everest in below-zero temperatures, and discusses the conditions surrounding the shoot. In addition, KormŠkur has certain anecdotes about the real-life event to impart, including information about the real people, and he mentions listening to authentic radio recordings from the disaster.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † All editions are the same worldwide. Buy local.

Summary

††† Everest is a better movie than it appears to get credit to be. It's incredibly intense at times, and it manages to find time for emotion as well. For those who enjoy Irwin Allen-style disaster pics, this is definitely worth checking out. But beware, it's not an easy watch.

††† Universal Sony have put together a wonderful Blu-ray. The technical presentation is top-flight, while extras provide plenty of insight into the production. All things considered, Everest comes recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

Other Reviews NONE