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Continued: '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.

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