Summary: Here Locke Peterseim reviews the new film “Everest”. As he does so well, he provides insights not just about the film, but also about the story it tells of business and personal adventurism in the 21st century. See the links at the end for the trailer of “Everest” and for stunning views of the actual Mt. Everest.
By Locke Peterseim.
From the film blog of Open Letters Monthly.
Reposted with his generous permission.
In recent years I’ve often used the term “spectacle” as a critical slur when it comes to CGI scenery over substance.
But there’s reason I get on my soapbox about moviegoers’ increasing addiction to grand cinematic (usually CGI) imagery, and it’s not just because a growing number of popular films spend so much time and budget on money-shot visuals and so little on characters, story, or themes. It’s because spectacle doesn’t just dazzle, it seduces. And in that seduction, it can deceive, delude, and betray.
Anymore I cringe when I hear some hack refer to Hollywood as “The Dream Factory” — not because I don’t think films shouldn’t ever contain hope and inspiration or even escapist fantasy or stress-relieving comedy. It’s because those things should always be earned and supported by strong, multi-dimensional films.
But if you let children vote for what they want for dinner, they’re gonna choose candy and cupcakes most nights. And in the past 50 years, corporate Hollywood has come to increasingly let the audiences’ box-office vote become the only voice the Industry listens to. So we’re not getting escapism and empty-calorie dreams once in a while for dessert — we’re getting them for nearly every (at least mainstream Cineplex Hollywood) meal.
We’re all aware of this when we watch a Jurassic Park or Avengers or Fast and Furious movie. Think of those as Hostess snack cakes — everyone knows what’s in them when they buy and eat them; everyone knows they’ll get a sugar rush and later a stomachache. The problem is that our steady diet of empty cinematic calories, usually in the form of awesome CGI grandeur, has numbed us to our own addiction. We ingest so much spectacle, we’re no longer consciously aware of what it does to us.