'Everest'an IMAX film
by Phil Guidry
This is a film about mans determination and hubris, and serves
as a lesson for all. Prior to the 1996 incident, attempts to summit
Everest had grown tenfold over the last decade - anyone with a heartbeat
and disposable income could make an attempt, given the right circumstances.
Climbing Mount Everest had become a fad, a trend experienced by
countless wealthy Americans, Australians, and Asians, who seemed
more interested in chalking up another experience in the "been there,
done that" column than actually respecting the mountain - the cardinal
sin, according to the Sherpas.
The Sherpa tribe, which claims men such as Tenzing Norgay (who,
along with Sir Edmund Hillary, is believed to have been the first
to reach the summit) in its ranks, treats the mountain as a god.
To them it is a living, breathing entity, bursting with awesome
powers which must not be disrespected.
And as the Everest climbers depicted in this film are painfully
forced to realize, the price to be paid for disrespecting the Himalayan
deity is death. Everest serves as both a warning against haphazard
human arrogance, and as entertainment in the grandest tradition.
This ranks high on the list of all the adventure stories ever told
- its as though the IMAX art form was invented for this particular
film. Never has the wide-screen, four-story format been served so
well - Mount Everest swells and envelops the screen, and by proxy,
the viewing audience.
Rarely has a film exerted such a powerful control over the senses
- the heart pounds mercilessly as the climbers approach the vaunted
Death Zone, and the hands grow clammy as the looming disaster finally
strikes them. The overall experience is unsettling - even in the
comfort of a specially-designed theater, you feel the chill. Everest
claims you - it leaves you all alone, at the top of the world.