Thursday, July 3, 2014

Beyond the Edge (2013)

Original Theatrical Poster

This 3D new Zealand lensed documentary commemorating the conquest of Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay is a mixed bag. Mixing archival footage (much of it taken from the classic The Conquest of Everest), photos and excellent recreation the film strives to give us a you are there look at what it took to make that first successful ascent of the mountain. Far from a being a bad film I’m kind of left scratching my head as to why, other than the 3D this is getting a theatrical release.

Playing like a well done History Channel or Discovery Channel documentary, with a you are there feel, this is a really good retelling of the assault on the mountain. By bringing together all of the archival material as well threading through audio interviews with the participants as well as the children of the people involved this is a kind of one stop shopping for the story of the climb. It seems to hit all of the right notes and on some level it was cool to see the footage on a big screen even if I question the big screen release. If you’ve never heard the story of the climb this is the perfect place to learn about it

On the other hand I have to wonder why this is being released to theaters? Yes I know the 3D, which really looks great in new climbing footage, but outside of that, why? Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with the film but it’s not exciting enough, as I said it’s like a really good TV documentary. For example even though I had reservations about The Summit about a disaster on K2 that film looked great on the big screen and I knew why it was there, this film I’m not. Outside of seeing this in 3D I can’t see paying to see this on the big screen- and even then I don’t think seeing this in a theater will significantly alter the experience if you saw this at home.

It’s a good film, but why is this in theaters?

The film opens tomorrow.

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