In 1966, John Harlin II died while attempting Europe's most difficult climb, the North Face of the Eiger in Switzerland. Forty years later, his son John Harlin III, an expert mountaineer and the editor of the American Alpine Journal, returns to attempt the same climb.Written by
From the producers of Everest, comes this movie about a man that confronts his demons and climbs the North face of the Eiger -- the most difficult climb in Europe -- where his father died 40 years ago when he was just a boy. Now he has a wife and a daughter of his own and his hope is to impress this love and reverence for nature to her that his father had inspired in him before his fatal climb.
The wife is very supportive and understanding. Some emotions are purposefully understated like the fact that she is probably proud of him, but emotionally, the premise and the construct of the documentary works very well. It also helps that all the people involved are extremely likable and inspiring. The scientific aspects of it are interesting enough, but not the focus of the film. The true aim of the film is to put the viewer in the daughter's shoes and live the perilous personal journey with John as if he was a family member. Moreover, the underlying goal is also what John wants for his daughter: to make us conscious of the beauty of nature and the connection that man has with it.
Seen in IMAX, this is where things take whole new proportions. Not only is this story much better than Everest, but the footage is also more remarkable. First, the mountain and climb are beautifully shot, but moreover,the surrounding Swiss towns and scenery are as breathtaking. I was not surprised that the Swiss tourism agency put some money in this. There is no way anyone does not want to go there after viewing this...
And what can be said about director, Stephen Judson? So "Everest (1998)" and "The Discoverers (1993)" were where he tried his hand with MacGillivray, but this being his second solo project, after the amazing "Amazing Caves (2001)", it can surely be said that he has a knack for storytelling, adventure and utilizing the magnificent IMAX experience. I am impatiently awaiting for his next work.
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