I would’ve prefered hearing the Jane’s Addiction “Mountain Song” with this, but I’m not going to complain about composer Richard Tognetti, violinist and artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, giving us Vivaldi’s “Winter” from “Four Seasons,” as well as some other classical pieces [side note: documentaries need to stop using “In the Hall of the Mountain King”]. The problem is how bombastic it was. It made things distracting at times. My wife and I both agreed that we would’ve prefered quieter music, and the lovely vistas that cinematographer Renan Ozturk shot of the Andes, Himalayas, Alps, and other mountains.
The day after seeing this documentary, which showed a lot of mountain climbers, mountain bikers, snowboarders, paragliders, and various thrill seekers…I read in the newspaper that two climbers died falling off El Capitan. Even though we’re well aware people die in these pursuits, it certainly would’ve been more powerful thinking about that while viewing this. Another current news event you can’t help but think of while watching this, is the volcano in Hawaii.
The camera work was stunning, but I wish that instead of director Jen Peedom (Sherpa) doing this, it would’ve been tackled by Werner Herzog.
As a huge fan of Willem Dafoe, it was a thrill to hear his narration. Yet at times, it sounded a bit pretentious.
My wife commented on how destructive some of the things were the thrillseekers were doing to the peaks, and the documentary does have mixed messages on that front.
One of the problems is that a lot of the scenes start to feel repetitive. Even though it’s not just slow-motion snowboarders jumping out of helicopters or people riding bikes off a mountain…sometimes you get Tibetan monks, Sherpas, and various mammals.
Even though this was only 70 minutes, a few times I found myself bored. With such outstanding visuals, music, and narration — that’s a shame.
2 ½ stars out of 5.