Mountains have always been glorified in human history. There’s just something about them that commands respect. Many religions from around the world have viewed mountains as the home of the Gods. The most iconic structures in the ancient world – the Pyramids of Gaza – resembles the shape of a mountain which the Egyptians believed were gateways to the afterlife. The allure of the mountain can be seen in film throughout history. Didn’t you want to climb a mountain right after you saw Rocky Balboa do it during his badass training scene in Rocky IV (1985)? It’s the perfect symbol of an individual conquering their greatest obstacle. Just ask Miley Cyrus (link to the climb)
We should all know that climbing a mountain isn’t as easy as Sylvester made it look like in Rocky IV (1985). Cliffhanger (1993) – a film that also stars Mr. Stallone – was a huge contribution towards the popularization of the sport of Mountaineering. We can probably all agree that Cliffhanger (1993) wasn’t supposed to be a realistic portrayal of the sport. In fact, most movies that I have watched that deals with the subject of mountain climbing has been unrealistic. Vertical Limit (2000) – directed by Martin Campbell – just like Cliffhanger (1993) before it sets up a story between man vs nature, but oddly their perils do not seem to come from the mountain itself, instead it comes from human intervention. It’s as if they’re trying to say that people can always overcome nature.
Everest (2015) directed by Baltasar Kormakur and starring Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhall, Sam Worthington and Keira Knightly (I know, I haven’t heard it before too. Crazy) was probably the only movie that got me afraid of mountain climbing. The problems that the characters had to face in that film were intense. Not only were they facing incredible challenges physically, they were also faced with very hard moral decisions. No matter what the characters did, the mountain always conquered. After watching Everest (2015) I researched all the articles about mountaineering that I can find on Google. I gotta say, it was a pretty humbling experience. My dreams of conquering Everest has just been shattered because of a film.
The Summit (2012) directed by Nick Ryan is a documentary with the same plot as Kormakur’s Everest (2015). It tells the story of the 2008 K2 expedition where 11 climbers died trying to descend from the mountain after reaching the summit. With interviews from people involved in the expedition, it is a first person account of how dangerous mountaineering really is. The way that Ryan mixed filmed re-enactments with the real footage caught on the expedition was great. At some points I couldn’t figure out what scenes were staged and what were authentic. It puts into perspective what we’re really willing to go through to get what we want. These climbers are pretty much killing themselves when they climb these mountains – all for just a couple minutes on the summit. Is it really worth it? The film also questions are humanity. Are you able to risk your own life for someone else’s? I’d like to think that I would play the hero if I saw someone getting raped in an alleyway, but I might have to reconsider if the person I was trying to save was trapped on the side of a mountain.
The Summit (2011) rating: a GOOD watch if you ever wanted to climb a mountain. If you happen to take my advice and watch the film, or already have watched it, let me know what you think. Please Comment below!
Watch the trailer Here: