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Into Thin Air: Death on Everest

2.9 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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(May 22, 2001)
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Editorial Reviews

Extreme Adventure. Extreme Danger. Based on Jon Krakauer's phenomenal #1 best-seller, INTO THIN AIR: DEATH ON EVEREST, is a taut, gripping, true-life extreme adventure chronicling the suspenseful struggle for survival on top of the world's highest mountain. Scott Fischer (Peter Horton, Singles) andRob Hall (Nat Parker, Beverly Hills Ninja) are experienced guides who lead two opposing expedition teams up the treacherous face of Mount Everest. Along for the climb are a desparate group of experienced and not-so-experienced thrill-seekers, including journalist Jon Krakauer (Christopher McDonald,Flubber). Although initially exhilarating, the climb becomes perilous and the two teams must band together. Reaching the summit is no longer their goal; they simply need to survive nature's awesome fury. INTO THIN AIR: DEATH ON EVEREST combines first-rate action, spectacular special effects and chilling thrills in the tradition of Cliffhanger.

Special Features

  • Bonus trailers
  • Talet files

Product Details

  • Actors: Pamela Gien, Tim Dutton, Peter Horton, Richard Jenkins, Nathaniel Parker
  • Directors: Robert Markowitz
  • Producers: Hans Proppe, Rosalie Muskatt
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), Portuguese (Unknown), French (Unknown), Spanish (Unknown)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
  • Dubbed: Portuguese, French, Spanish
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: May 22, 2001
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005B1WA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,115 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Into Thin Air: Death on Everest" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 6, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
The making of this movie was quite an undertaking. Unfortunately, it never quite makes the grade. The characters are not developed. Instead, they are caricatures of those whom they purport to be.

One expedition leader, the late Scott Fischer, comes across as a mellow, disorganized, bumbling dude. One of his expedition guides, the late Anatoli Boukreev, is depicted as a self centered, Neanderthal like he-man, who clearly differs with his boss on what his role as a guide is to be.

Another expedition leader, the late Rob Hall, fares somewhat better, in that he is portrayed as an organized, stand up expedition leader, who puts the welfare of his clients above his own. His much publicized radio farewll to his pregnant wife is included as part of the drama.

Socialite Sandy Hill Pittman seems to represent conspicuous consumption and is depicted as a self-absorbed, rich bitch with little regard for the Sherpas whom she treats as little more than human yaks. Texan Beck Weathers fares little better, as he is characterized as a buffoon. I am sure that, were he to see this movie, he would wish that they'd have left him on Everest.

The actor who plays Jon Krakauer's character has the thankless role of Greek chorus. He is there to basically tie up loose ends in the movie. He portrays Krakauer as a dour, humorless human being who, were it not for the fact that he is a talented writer, would have been pushed off the Lhotse face of Everest by some enterprising soul. Last, but certainly not least, are the Sherpas, who are shown as wise, brave, put upon souls. Now here, the movie is hitting its mark.

The cinematography is laughable. Numerous shots of a mountain purporting to be Everest are easily spotted as shots of a mountain other than Everest.
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Format: DVD
Having read Jon Krakauer's Everest memoir, Into Thin Air, I decided to get the DVD of the movie. The movie version of Jon's book isn't bad, but I think it falls just a little short of Jon's written account of his climb up Everest in '96.

In the movie, Christopher McDonald plays Jon; Nat Parker plays Rob Hall, the leader of Jon's Everest climb; and Peter Horton plays Scott Fischer, the leader of a rival group of climbers. As in the book, the movie details how a lack of oxygen, small mistakes, and Rob and Scott's eagerness to get to the top--and pressing on despite storms brewing near Everest's summit--combined to cause the disaster. Among the mistakes laid out in the movie were Scott's Sherpa guide Lopsang towing climber Sandy Pittman by rope even though he hadn't been instructed to do so and Jon's fellow climber Andy Harris accidentally turning up the regulator on Jon's oxygen tank full blast while suffering forgetfulness brought on by a lack of oxygen. Also, Rob disregarded his own turnaround time of 2:00 p.m., which everybody on his team had agreed to so that they'd have time to get back down safely even if not all of them reached the top of Everest by that time. Indeed, as depicted in the book and the movie, Jon and his guide Mike Groom were the only two people from Jon's expedition who reached the summit and then got off Everest alive. However, the movie also includes the inspiring story of Jon's colleague Beck Weathers, who, despite nearly dying from frostbite, walked into camp one day after everyone had given up on him and eventually recovered. Beck, as the ending shows, lost his right hand and all the fingers on his left hand and underwent the reconstruction of his nose, but he still was able to return to his work as a doctor.
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Format: DVD
There are two ways to approach this film. The first is whether it is a fair and accurate rendition of the events of the 1996 tragedy which was the subject of Krakauer's book. The second is simply what entertainment value the film has. Having read both Krakauer's book and Boukreev's "The Climb," this film's flagrant deviation from any semblance of reality so distracted me that I was unable to discern any entertainment value in the film whatsoever.

Things get started with a big fat lie. We are informed at the very beginning that the film is based on published accounts and interviews of the participants. This would lead the unsuspecting viewer to believe that the film makes an effort to be faithful to the truth. I wonder how many people have watched this movie and think, as a result, that they know something about the tragedy, its causes, or even Everest and mountaineering for that matter. They would be sadly mistaken on all accounts.

The film somberly announces each day of the expedition: day one, day two, etc. Each day finds the climbers of the two expeditions traveling as a group, reaching a new camp. What a joke. In reality, it takes weeks to establish the camps, while the climbers acclimatize to the altitude. This is accomplished in small groups, not the entire expedition together. If they had really climbed to camp IV in the four days depicted, they all would died of AMS before even being able to attempt the summit.

Hollywood being what it is, even a story about climbing Everest has to have some sex in it. Sex American style, no less, meaning there can be no sex without moralizing. We see Sandy Pittman's lover climb up to camp I to be with her, and a Sherpa voices strong disapproval because they're not married.
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