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INTO THIN AIR: DEATH ON EVEREST. THE MOVIE DVD 2 Copies Left
By Krakauer, Jon
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A made for TV film, based on Jon Krakauer's bestselling book, Into Thin Air re-creates the ill-fated 1996 expedition to Everest that claimed at least five lives, including those of two world-class climbers, Rob Hall and Scott Fischer.

The film jumps right into the action at Everest base camp and compresses the two-month trek into just a few days of exhilarating adventure. Periodic voice-overs by Krakauer (Christopher McDonald) provide essential background information and guide us through the invisible, intensifying effects of altitude and stress. Krakauer joined the trip to write an article for Outside magazine on the commercialization of Everest, but as conditions on the mountain deteriorate he is forced to focus all his energy on survival.

While the trio of leading actors is solid, only Nat Parker (who plays guide Rob Hall) has enough screen time to develop an interesting, complex character. Peter Horton's portrayal of unconventional guide Scott Fischer and McDonald's Krakauer is stiff and difficult to read. The book was better.

Jon Krakauer told us that the film was actually based on the Outside Magazine article that he wrote after the climb, and not his book, even though the packaging claims otherwise. 90 minutes. DVD

A REVIEW FROM CHOCKSTONE.ORG

This movie is based on the excellent novel Into Thin Air,by Jon Krakauer, which details a true account of his epic ascent of MtEverest during the well known 1996 disaster that took the lives of 8climbers in a single day on the peak. Unfortunately the film is a poorrecreation of a truly captivating and compelling book. I suggest your ead the book instead, and maybe, if you’re bored one Sunday afternoon,watch this video for some light entertainment.

The plot centres around Krakauer's description, as a journalist sent to write up the ascent. Climbing as part of a team of amateur mountaineers, Jon discovers while the participants have paid huge sums of money to be guided up the worlds highest peak by the best in the business, some of them lack the skills and experience to make the trip over terrain that traditionally was reserved for the elite superathletes of mountaineering. Indeed the whole concept of whether a mountain like Everest can ever be “guided” in any sense of the word is brought into question. I felt the movie came across a lot more judgemental in this respect, in comparison to the book. Perhaps they did this to heighten the sense of drama.

The film was made for TV, so it suffers from a distinct lack of budget and even has those annoying fade-outs to allow for commercial breaks.It was shot in Austria, so at least some of the backdrops appear mountainous enough to be convincing, but the vast bulk of the footage is close-ups of actors milling around on some ski slopes, probably within walking distance of the nearest chalet. All the real drama takes place during a blizzard and at night, so they in fact could be anywhere, as all we really see are faces with a bit of spin drift slicing past.

Furthermore the movie takes place over only five days, during the teams final summit bid. We are shown nothing of the months of preparation, altitude adjustment forays up to high camps and down again, endless load hauling on the part of the porters, masses of equipment, etc. Basically the film lacks for realism, even though it is supposed to be portraying a true story. The enormity, terror and incredible exposure of the mountain and task at hand, just doesn’t come across, at least not in comparison to the book.

In fairness there are couple of emotional scenes, that are performed reasonably well, like the moment when Rob Hall, (played by Nathaniel Parker), speaks his last words to his wife, via satellite link up from high on the storm ravaged peak. And Beck Weathers coming back from the dead is still amazing, mainly because we know it’s true, rather than due to the magic of the movies. How accurate the movie is to the book, or indeed to the truth of the events as they really were, I can’t comment. However, in summary, I was pretty disappointed with film, mainly because the novel was so compelling, I guess my expectations were set quite high.


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