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By Megan Bianco
During a period where movie studios are experimenting with releasing some of their films on VOD at the same time as they’re in theaters, Universal Pictures goes in a completely different direction with their new action flick Everest. Filmed in 3D, the movie is spending its first week of release strictly on IMAX screens before also playing on regular 2D screens. Director Baltasar Kormákur has the impressive cast and stellar effects for a good action feature, but not exactly the storytelling.
Based on a real incident in 1996, Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal) are two rival expedition group leaders following each other to the top of Mount Everest. Adventurers along for the journey include mailman Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), journalist Jon Krakauer (Michael Kelly) and Dr. Beck Wethers (Josh Brolin). Neither Rob nor Scott have had an unsuccessful climb, until an unexpected and especially intense snow storm hits, transforming the teams’ challenging expedition into an intense battle for survival.
Emily Watson, Keira Knightley and Elizabeth Debicki co-star. Everest is a thrill to see on a huge IMAX screen, although it is also obvious that the direction was always intended for the 3D-IMAX format, and thus some scenes might not translate well to 2D viewing. Some actors get plenty of exposure—Clarke and Brolin—while others—Gyllenhaal and Knightley—feel almost wasted. Strangely for such an epic setting and event, the pacing is surprisingly slow and the plot never feels fully expanded on.