Everest appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a strong visual presentation.
Sharpness always excelled. From start to finish, the movie offered fine definition, with good clarity and accuracy. I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and the image also lacked edge haloes. Of course, print flaws remained absent.
Don’t expect anything out of the ordinary from the film’s palette, as it emphasized teal like so many other movies these days. Some amber also popped up, but the bluish tint dominated. That was uncreative but the hues seemed well-rendered.
Blacks also came across well. Dark tones appeared deep and rich, and low-light shots brought us smooth, clear imagery. Really, I could find nothing about which to complain, as this became a consistently stellar presentation.
In addition, the Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Everest worked very well. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, the mix offered a terrific auditory experience.
Of course, the activity levels mostly came to life during the storm sequences, and the soundfield did become quite immersive on those occasions. Since much of the movie depicted intense weather, that meant a lot of wind and snow whipping around us. The track used the channels to good advantage and created an involving soundscape.
Audio was solid. Speech appeared intelligible and concise, without edginess or other problems. Music occasionally threatened to become lost in the mix, but the score was usually fine; I didn’t discern any significant problems with that side of things.
Effects were the highlight, and they delivered a good impact. I thought those elements demonstrated nice clarity and range, with solid low-end response. The movie offered a consistently dynamic and involving mix.
This package includes both 2D and 3D versions of Everest. The picture comments above address the 2D edition, but I also want to talk about the 3D rendition.
In terms of picture quality, the 3D version looked very good. It didn’t seem quite as crisp and vibrant as the 2D image, but it came close.
The only drawback stemmed from some nighttime scenes. 3D movies tend to look darker than their 2D counterparts, and this issue became exacerbated here due to the nature of the sequences in question. The storm shown in the film meant nighttime scenes became even more difficult to discern – combined with the added darkness of the 3D image, these moments could be rather murky. Nonetheless, those scenes didn’t fill much of the movie’s running time, so they were only a brief concern.
The use of 3D imagery compensated for any minor picture quibbles. Everest created an excellent sense of depth throughout the movie, and the nature of the situations meant that these moments added a lot to the experience. The 3D allowed the viewer to get a real “you are there” feel for the mountains, and that worked to its favor. Everest gained a lot of impact via its 3D rendition – I think it’s definitely the best way to see the film.
The disc provides an audio commentary with director Baltasar Kormákur. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas and research, attempts at realism vs. creative license, cast and performances, sets and locations, effects and stunts, and related topics.
For the most part, Kormákur brings us a good commentary. He focuses largely on issues related to the facts of the story, but he broadens his horizons well. This never turns into a great chat, but it remains engaging and informative.
Four featurettes follow. Race to the Summit lasts 10 minutes, 59 seconds and presents comments from Kormákur, producers Nicky Kentish Barnes and Tim Bevan, co-producer David Breashears, advisor/head of mountain safety Guy Cotter, and actors Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Kelly, Martin Henderson and Naoko Mori. “Race” looks at the root story, logistics of the shoot, and the director’s impact on the production. A few good shots from the set emerge, but the content tends to lean toward grand statements about how tough the shoot was.
During the four-minute, 42-second Learning to Climb, we hear from Kormákur, Brolin, Clarke, Barnes, Gyllenhaal, Kelly, Bevan, Hawkes, Cotter, Breashears, Henderson, and actor Vanessa Kirby. “Climb” examines the actors’ training for their experiences. This becomes moderately informative but often fluffy show.
A Mountain of Work goes for five minutes, 13 seconds and features Kormákur, Breashears, Barnes, Brolin, Mori, Bevan, visual effects supervisor Dadi Einarsson and production designer Gary Freeman. “Work” discusses sets and effects used to recreate Everest settings. Like its predecessors, “Work” gives us a decent but self-aggrandizing overview.
Finally, Aspiring to Authenticity fills six minutes, 47 seconds with info from Kormákur, Breashears, Clarke, and real-life participants Jan Arnold, Helen Wilton, Beck Weathers and Sarah Arnold-Hall. The program offers some perspectives from those who were actually involved in the movie’s events. “Authenticity” is too brief but I like the glimpse of the actual people.
The disc opens with ads for Steve Jobs, Crimson Peak, Jarhead 3: The Siege, Woodlawn, London Has Fallen and Straight Outta Compton. No trailer for Everest appears here.
A third disc offers a DVD copy of Everest. It features the commentary as well as “Summit” and “Authenticity”.
Outside of some harrowing disaster scenes, Everest doesn’t make much of an impact. It lacks depth and suffers from characters who never give us much reason to invest in them. The Blu-ray provides excellent picture and audio as well as a decent collection of bonus materials. Everest offers moderate entertainment but fails to boast much emotional punch.