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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > Mountains > Everest - The Death Zone (Nova)

Everest – The Death Zone (Nova)


Picture: C+     Sound: B-     Extras: D     Episode: B-



Jodie Foster narrates Everest – The Death Zone, a 1986 installment of Nova that examines the science, effort and great risk it takes to climb and survive the famous mountain of the title.  Director David Breashears also did the IMAX film on the subject, but this gets much more intimate and is not obsessed with mountain images as much as it is about the humans and their committed push to breakthrough to new heights (literally) in what is a scientific pursuit.


There are the mind tests to make sure oxygen-deprived brains are functioning as well as possible, moisture getting too much into lungs, the ever-present possibility of falling to one’s death, freezing to death, running out of energy and resources to make it and then making it back.  Because of its intimacy, the nearly hour-long program has much impact and is as good a program on the subject as we have seen to date.  That is not to put down the great IMAX film (which had a great article about how tough a shoot it was in American Cinematographer Magazine), a film that is remarkable for its own reasons.  Everest – The Death Zone, like the IMAX film, is just not long enough.


The 1.33 X 1 full frame image does not show its age much, but has detail limits.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo has some Pro Logic surrounds.  The combination is compelling enough, though never as much as the content.  There are no major extras, though a weblink is included.  Too bad, because an update on the people featured here would have been nice.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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