Everest (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Everest 4K Blu-ray ReviewMake no mistake about it, Everest is not going to win any feel good movie-of-the-year awards on the new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray format.  It’s a very cold and brutal experience to behold especially now that it’s crystal clear and more pronounced than ever on the new home media format.  The extra clarity of the 4K Ultra HD presentation makes it even more-so an agonizing, painful experience to sit through.  However, it’s an experience you’ll come back to again and again like an aging boxer once you get a gander at all its majesty on the 4K format.  You can take that to the bank and cash it.  So come on in, let me be your guide and I’ll show you around Universal’s 4K Ultra HD treatment of 2015’s Everest.

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Everest is billed as a 2015 British–American–Icelandic–Nepali mountain adventure film.  It’s directed by Baltasar Kormákur off a screenplay written by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy.  Everest boasts an ensemble cast of stars and features the likes of Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, and Jake Gyllenhaal.  The story is ultimately adapted from Beck Weathers’ memoir Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest (2000).  Essentially, it’s based on the real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, and focuses on the survival attempts of two expedition groups, one led by Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) and the other by Scott Fischer (Jake Gyllenhaal).

Spoiler alert!  Everest is inspired by the incredible events surrounding a ridiculous attempt to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Everest.  I say ridiculous because A) I would never do this and B) in the story I would have never risked my life for this one climber.  Ultimately Everest is a lifelong obsession for these climbers (they all have their reasons) that basically becomes a struggle for survival out there.  The film documents the journey of two different expeditions challenged not only by their limits, but also by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever. I think you can guess the outcome of it all, right?  A fierce snowstorm plus one of the riskiest climbs you can take doesn’t bode well for mere mortals.

If by some chance you’ve never seen this 2015 film, then take heed because I’m not a lyrical poet.  Akron, OH native, Scott Mendleson of Forbes calls Everest “…exciting, thrilling, moving and completely engaging.”  So there you go!  You don’t need me telling you anything more.  You heard it straight shooting from the man himself.  But seriously, I agree with Scott.  I initially did not want to see this film last year, but I was dragged to the theater by my girlfriend and came out of it with nothing but high marks of praise for it.  Granted, it’s not a tale you want to re-watch over and over because of its non-fairytale like ending.  However, it’s so much more.  It’s a heart tugging, but brutal story of achieving that lifelong goal that has evaded you your whole and I can get behind/respect that.

The simple fact that climbing Everest is the same as cruising at an altitude of 747 where our bodies are literally dying doesn’t bode well at all for me.  Hell no!  I never want anything to do with that!  I keep using this word, but essentially it’s this raw brutality of it all that sells me on Everest.  They don’t shy away from anything.  You want to know what it’s like to get severe frostbite, you watch this film.  It’s all on display and it can be quite gory at times for the squeamish.  You ever see screaming babies that would make the perfect condom commercial?  Well, Everest does the same.  I never want to go climbing like this.  Call me boring.  I don’t care.  Watching this in 4K was an adventure enough.

In my opinion, Everest is a white-knuckle survival film that excels not only because of its set locations and conditions, but also its outstanding cast.  Each member of the cast, whether we are talking Clarke, Gyllenhaal, Brolin, Knightley, Worthington or anybody else all shows up with their A-game here.  That’s not to say that this film isn’t a technical achievement in production, because it is!  It captures its landscape with striking brilliance.  Minus the all-star cast the camera alone makes this a compelling story from start to finish.  It may take a long time to get where we are going, but once we get there Everest grips you tightly and never lets your emotions go until the ending credits.

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The below video score and related critique of things here are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Everest.  To learn more about the 1080p Blu-ray presentation of the film here please refer to Shohan Cagle‘s review of it over here.

  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Layers: BD-66
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: I cannot find a single thing to nitpick here.  Clarity and detail are impeccable throughout, second to none.  Everywhere you look from the opening city streets and landscapes to the snow covered mountain tops textures are all abound in rocks, facial stubble, frostbite, fabrics, clothing and even in the individual snow flakes that glisten in the sunlight.  After watching this one there’s no way I ever want to live in Cleveland, OH ever again.  F that!  Even the fluffiness in the many jackets and other winter garments invoke negative tactile senses within me as I know all too well what it’s like to live in these freezing temperatures.  Once again…F you Northeast Ohio!
  • Depth: Just like in the clarity and detail described up above depth of field is everywhere you look here.  There are just so many examples to list that I want to stick with the reason we are all here…the mountains.  Just look at the base of snow covered mounds our climbers traverse as the mountains seamlessly blur behind them.
  • Black Levels: The black levels are deep and inky throughout.  The many nighttime scenes littered throughout is where the HDR really shines here as nothing gets lost in the shadows.  Shadow details just look flat out great.  When it comes to HDR presentations give me sun or give me darkness.  I don’t care.  I love it all!
  • Color Reproduction: Here’s where the HDR also comes in handy…the wide gamut of colors.  From the many hues and shades of different winter clothing to the blistery shades of cold in the white snow, frigid gray mountains and dark, stormy skies, things look fantastic here.  Colors are sharp, purposeful and even vibrant.
  • Flesh Tones: The temperatures of the skin tones are all neutral and whether frost bitten or not, they are all believable and not exaggerated.
  • Noise/Artifacts: I’m sure if you look hard enough you could find some source noise, but I didn’t.  I was too busy enjoying this stunning Universal 4K transfer.

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Like I mentioned up above in the video section, the below audio score and critical comments of such are based solely upon my viewing of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation of Everest.  Universal does not skimp in the audio department here.  Both the 4K UHD disc and the regular 1080p Blu-ray come armed with a Dolby Atmos surround track.  To learn more about the 1080p Blu-ray presentation of the film here please refer to Shohan Cagle‘s review of it over here.

  • Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (core Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless), French European Dolby Atmos, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Canadian Dolby Digital 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French, Dutch, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish
  • DynamicsEverest seems like a no brainer in the dynamics department.  You have the blistering and gusting winds and the loud, thunderous storms on display, but you also have the quiet, tranquil moments that really make you take notice of this reference surround track.  When those killer winds cease and the sky lets up the quiet moments make it all worth while as you appreciate the fact that you can rest peacefully if only just for a bit.  After all, you can’t keep a good storm down!  The film’s score seals the deal as everything just feels balanced and prioritized throughout, albeit ferocious.  The atmosphere of it all comes to life here.
  • Height: Everest may not be one of the great Atmos tracks I have listened to on the 4K format, but rest assured there are some moments to brag about.  Most involve the heavy snow falling and avalanches, but there’s also that obligatory helicopter moment too.  Gotta love it!
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel is prominent throughout with its ferocity and balance it brings to the overall surround track.  There are a lot of moments to brag about here where the LFE channel truly becomes a force not to be reckoned with.  Let’s see we have here: blowing, gusting, ferocious wind, helicopter blades spinning up, snow and ice avalanches and even the score, which can be thunderous in its own right.  You picking up what I’m dropping?  Boom!  Did you hear that?  Ha ha.
  • Surround Sound PresentationEverest‘s surround channels are constantly engaged throughout as you the viewer are immersed in all the onscreen events, victories and tragedies.  Like everything else there’s so much to list here so let’s just cover a few like the blowing wind, cars passing you by in the cityscape, chanting in the monastery, voices behind, avalanches, thunder and even score.  You get the point.  Directionality creates immersion.  And immersion makes for one brutal time as you struggle to survive the elements just like the brave, but stupid (IMO) climbers onscreen.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: The dialog is clear and intelligible throughout.  From the loudest screams to the quietest whimpers I never had a problem understanding any spoken word.

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The Everest 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray set features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the flick presented in 4K HDR, a 1080p Blu-ray disc that houses the HD version of the film and also redeemable code for the Digital HD copy.  The included Blu-ray disc here also houses the below extras (audio commentary is found on both discs), which I want to briefly talk about so you know what all to expect here.  There’s not much so this will quick and painless unlike the brutal, blistery climb we have to live through each time we watch Everest.

  • Race to the Summit: The Making of Everest (HD, 10:59) – This one explores the accuracy that went into bringing Everest to life on the big screen from the locations and weather conditions to the shoot itself.
  • Learning to Climb: The Actors Journey (HD, 4:42) – This featurertte goes deeper into the specific training that the cast needed in order to safely film in then dangerous mountains.
  • A Mountain of Work (HD, 5:13) – This one explains how through the use of digital and practical effects the filmmakers were able to recreate the summit of the mighty Everest.
  • Aspiring to Authenticity (HD, 6:47) – Here we have interviews with the real life survivors and their loved ones as they explain how the actors took great pains to accurately and respectively portray their characters.
  • Feature Commentary – Fans of the film should watch this with the feature audio commentary that houses director Baltasar Komakur talking about pretty much everything involving this shoot from locations and performances to the real people the story’s about.

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So let’s thaw out for a moment here and recap things.  From the look of things up above you know you have a great, awe-inspiring story to follow here.  That much is true.  However, what makes this journey so much more than its Blu-ray counterpart is the fact that the film’s 4K HDR presentation is pristine without any flaws thanks to the new Ultra HD format.  You couple that with an already reference Atmos surround track and you have all the right ingredients for success.  Now it’s certainly not one of the flicks I would instantly pull out of the vault for the 4K Ultra HD catalog lineup if I were Universal, but because pickings are slim in these infant days of the format we have to take what we can get.  I’ll take this and mark it highly rated for your 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray collection.


DISCLAIMER: This 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified A/V gear found here.  Make sure to check out all out 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray reviews archived here.


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Everest 4K UHD Blu-ray Cover


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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