The first trailer for Everest is out, and it impresses beyond my wildest expectations. It has the ensemble cast, but I was worried it would fall into the Hollywood trap of visuals over story. We can have both, damn it.

Backing up, the movie is a dramatic retelling of climbers in 1996 who summited the world’s tallest peak. When they looked around, what they saw shaped not only the lives of the climbers, but the culture of Everest.

An approaching storm would cut them off from base camp. While Everest has a reputation for wild weather, it caught climbers unaware. Eight climbers would ultimately lose their lives during the May 10-11, 1996 period. The disaster created questions over the commercialization of summiting Everest.

everest movie trailer

It was the deadliest day on Everest until a 2014 avalanche killed 16, and the 2015 Nepal earthquake killed 18 in resulting avalanches.

The 1996 expedition was heavily documented thanks to Jon Krakauer. On assignment for Outside magazine, he documented the storm with his expedition on the South Col. Led by Rob Hall, the party lost four climbers in the storm.

The movie tells the stories of the climbers, with Jason Clarke playing expedition leader Rob Hall. He sums up Everest perfectly in the opening of the trailer:

“You my friends are following in the very footsteps of history, something beyond the power of words to describe.”

“Human beings simply aren’t built to function at the cruising altitude of a 747. Our bodies will be literally dying. Everest is another beast altogether.”

Other cast members include a who’s who in Hollywood. Emily Watson, Keira Knightley Jake Gyllenhaal, John Hawkes, Josh Brolin, Sam Worthington and Michael Kenny all star in the film.

The film lands in theaters on September 18. It’s shaping up to be a compelling end cap for Hollywood’s summer season. A mix of spectacle with a story.

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