PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Everest (4K Blu-ray) (2015)

Everest (4K Blu-ray) (2015)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 5-Oct-2016

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Audio Commentary-with director Baltasar Kormákur
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 121:11
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Baltasar Kormákur

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 $34.95 Music Dario Marianelli

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Atmos
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 2160p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
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 2015’s Everest is the first major motion picture to dramatise the event. Directed by Baltasar Kormákur (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 Kormákur 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). Rob’s 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 everybody’s 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.) It’s 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 that’s what matters.

    Everest is a visual blockbuster, produced with IMAX and 3D in mind, and it thankfully translates into a viewing experience that’s both involving and convincing. Salvatore Totino’s 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 you’re looking at CGI, which is the highest honour you can award a motion picture like this. Kormákur 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, it’s 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 Kormákur’s previous motion picture efforts are entertaining, it’s 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 it’s easy to keep track of who’s 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. Clarke’s 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 movie’s peripheries. And as Hall’s 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. It’s not an easy watch, however, with Kormákur 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.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality


    Everest is precisely the type of blockbuster that's perfectly suited for a 4K Blu-ray release, and thankfully Universal do it justice, presenting the movie in glorious 2160p via the HEVC / H.265 video codec. According to IMDb, Everest was shot at 3.4K and 6K on Arri Alexa XT Plus and Red Epic Dragon cameras, and was completed at 2K. Presumably, this 4K presentation is an upscale from the 2K digital intermediate, though you wouldn't know it. The big question on everyone's lips, as ever, is whether or not 4K is worth the upgrade over the standard Blu-ray, which itself was certainly no slouch. To my eyes, this Ultra HD presentation is certainly worth the money, providing a worthwhile improvement in terms of texture, detail, clarity and especially colour, as the HDR grading makes this disaster pic look more vibrant than ever before.

    I cannot overstate how much the movie benefits from the augmented colour palette and HDR grading. By comparison, the 1080p presentation looks a tad drab in the colour department - the 4K image here is seriously vibrant, though not revisionist by any means. This is an overly white-looking movie due to all the snow, but the characters all wear colourful clothing which is given added punch in this presentation. I did note that the standard Blu-ray was a hair smooth, but the 4K image brings out as much detail as one supposes is possible from the source, while sharpness is simply astonishing. Every hair and whisker on the actors' faces is brought out, while snow and ice is always richly textured. Close-ups fare best of course, showing just what the format is capable of, yet the presentation never looks smooth or smeary in longer shots.

    This is a clear image, though there is a natural layer of source-related noise to augment the on-screen textures. Even during intense snowstorm scenes, the transfer never falters or grows murky. Many viewers have reported that the Oblivion 4K Blu-ray from Universal was something of a bust because it exhibited signs of DNR and there was a lack of fine details. I haven't seen the disc in question so I cannot comment, but rest assured Everest does not suffer a similar fate. Universal have done a terrific job. Hell, even the digital effects stand up to the scrutiny of added resolution, which is no small feat.

    It's critical to note that, as with many of my 4K Blu-ray reviews, the improvements are certainly subtle and not as day-and-night as the comparisons between a DVD and a Blu-ray can provide. For many, 1080p is good enough, and I can understand that viewpoint. But for videophiles such as myself who want maximum picture quality, this is a worthwhile purchase. I cannot imagine the movie looking any better. I doubt I'll be able to return to the standard Blu-ray in the future (unless it's to watch the flick in 3D).

    As ever, there are plenty of subtitles to choose from. The English track was perfectly fine to my eyes.

    Note: Ultra HD is a new technology, and to get the most out of it, you need the proper equipment. Beyond the obvious UHD TV and 4K Blu-ray player, you also need to upgrade to HDMI 2.0 cables which are fast enough to accommodate the high bitrate of a 4K disc, and support HDR. Some UHD televisions - as paradoxical as it sounds - don't even have HDMI 2.0 ports (buy Hisense at your own risk), so shop around before you buy. In addition to this, to get the most out of the viewing experience, your TV needs to be able to support HDR10 and/or Dolby Vision. Not all UHD TVs are created equally. Shop wisely, my friends.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    No improvements are provided in the audio department, not that any upgrades were necessary given that the standard Blu-ray provided a Dolby Atmos track that defaulted to a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix for those not Atmos-compatible. Therefore, my thoughts from my initial review of the standard BD remain unchanged:

    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, it’s still possible to hear the characters, and though some whispers might be tricky to hear, this is by design to add to the atmosphere. There’s 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 - it’s 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
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Only a feature commentary is provided. As ever, the set thankfully also contains the standard Blu-ray which features a larger selection of supplemental material. See my previous review of the Blu-ray for the full extras rundown.

Feature Commentary With Director Baltasar Kormákur

    Kormákur 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, Kormákur 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 worldwide appear to be identical. Buy local.


    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.

    For my money, this 4K Blu-ray is a worthwhile upgrade over its 1080p counterpart, offering more vibrant colours and richer textures. It's hard to imagine the movie looking any better. Add in the flawless audio presentation and the extras provided on the standard Blu-ray in this set, and this 4K release comes recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Saturday, January 14, 2017
Review Equipment
DVDSamsung UBD-K8500 4K HDR Blu-Ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED55C6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

Other Reviews NONE