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Free Press Summer Fest 2024 Preview 3 of 3 – Local
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The Wildest Dream: The Conquest of Everest

Submitted by Commandrea on March 18, 2024 – 12:59 pmNo Comment

The expedition of George Mallory to climb Mt. Everest in 1924 gets special treatment in the documentary The Wildest Dream: The Conquest of Everest. Mallory made the famous “Because it is there,” quote when asked by a reporter about his reasons for climbing Everest. His journey in 1924 was his third to the Himalayan peak and one from which he never returned.

In 1999 a group of explorers/mountain climbers set out to find Mallory’s body and succeeded. The film uses recreation, narration of letters between Mallory and his wife, and footage by Conrad Anker who led the team that found Mallory’s body, “clothed in gabardine and wearing hob nail boots.”

The Wildest Dream: The Conquest of Everest, which is playing in IMAX at the Houston Museum of Natural Science, has positive things going for it that make it worth climbing. For one, the Liam Neeson narration adds a perfect dramatic tone; Neeson also narrated the late 90s IMAX docu Everest. Neeson’s joined by other narrators like Ralph Fiennes reading Mallory, Alan Rickman, and in her last movie gig Natasha Richardson. Additionally the technical facts are fascinating, as the north face of Everest is not now the current method of topping the peak. The Chinese had installed a ladder in the 70s in the wall near the top that Anker has removed so he can attempt to recreate Mallory’s ascent in the original conditions. The different base camps leading up to the peak are sketched out and explained.

A computer simulation that crawls along the valley floor of the Himalayan mountaintops that surround Everest and then takes the viewer up glacial fields and meandering paths as if the audience was itself ascending to the top of the world is mesmerizing.

- Michael Bergeron

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