This documentary looks at the pivotal moment when two men became the first to reach the summit of the highest mountain on Earth. These men were of course Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay, and the mountain was Mount Everest. Even to this day it is a very dangerous exercise climbing this mountain, after all until recently if you wished to do so you had to pass a large number of dead bodies on your ascent; corpses that simply hitherto could not be removed due to the sheer difficulty of doing so. But there is no doubt that it has become considerably easier to reach the summit nowadays than it was back in 1953 when it was first navigated. Back then, there was still an element of doubt as to whether it was going to even be possible, as the equipment devised was only theoretical until successfully used. This documentary looks at the first successful expedition and captures all of their inner doubts and fears about what they are about to attempt but also their excitement. The film quite successfully transmits this to the audience.
It's been shot in 3D and it's pretty justified, as the format is quite good at illustrating the precariousness of the climb and the visual effects overall gave a pretty good feeling of the view the men must have been presented with. I was struck in particular with the scenes showing where the men camped on the last night before finally ascending to the summit. It was literally on a cliff face, with howling winds outside. The men spent the night here drinking boiled snow. It is an almost surreal image and its details like this that I took away mostly from this film. Once we reach the summit, we are treated to a very nice slow 360 degree pan that beautifully shows the height and beauty of the Himalayas.
There is not a lot of real filmed footage of the expedition but we see a little of what there is. Mainly the film is made up of archive photographs along with dramatic reconstructions of the climb, with commentary made up of archive interviews from the men and new accounts from surviving relatives. The reconstructions are well done, with well-chosen actors who really resemble the real people. All things considered, this is a very successful documentary about one of the key historical adventures.