Friday, January 26, 2018

Film Review: The Himalayas (2015)

The Himalayas (Review)
South Korea/2015
Format Viewed for Review: Amazon Video
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: Yes

"I enjoyed it for what it offered: a genuine experience."

The story of Um Hong-gil (Hwang Jung-min), a renowned mountaineer who climbs Everest in order to retrieve the bodies of his late junior climbers.

The Himalayas is the true story of Um Hong-gil. Off the bat, the film warns you that some events have been changed for the sake of dramatization—I like that. The plot primarily follows Um Hong-gil as he mentors Park Moon-taek (Jung Woo), a junior climber, and his friend Park Jeong-bok. Along with the rest of the team, Hong-gil climbs several mountains in hopes of reaching 16 peaks. His run is cut short due to problems with his leg, so Moon-taek becomes the leader of his own team. At this point, which is around halfway through the movie, the movie becomes a bit more predictable. You'll know exactly where every scene is headed. It's not the biggest flaw, the film based on real events after all, but it does cause the film to lose some steam. It leads to a strong climax and ending, though.

The Himalayas is a very good movie. It is a formulaic, predictable, and safe movie, but I won't fault it too much for that. It's a film based on true events and filmmakers can only 'dramatize' the truth so much before it becomes an insincere experience. I enjoyed the plot, though. I think the characters were handled well. A strong bond was formed between the main characters, so there was chemistry, which created some really emotional scenes. The film is also suspenseful and even downright scary at times. As I stated already, the second half of the film loses some steam, but it still managed to keep me invested. I'm sure this film will be compared to another similar movie, Everest. The Himalayas is very similar, but it has a different vibe. It feels more 'natural'—for lack of a better term. It also has more lighthearted humor. However, in terms of technical aspects, Everest is without a doubt the better, and more expensive, film.

The acting was great. As usual, Hwang Jung-min was charismatic and genuine. He filled his character's shoes perfectly. Jung Woo was also impressive, especially during some of the more demanding scenes. The film was shot beautifully, although it isn't quite Everest-quality—as I already stated. The music was good, too, but it was a little repetitive at times. The film was directed by Lee Seok-hoon. Lee takes the safe route in terms of direction, but he didn't have many options. It's a film based on true events after all. I think he performed well, creating an emotionally-effective experience through the plot's deep characters while also creating plenty of suspense.

Overall, The Himalayas is a very good movie. At times, it's funny and lighthearted. During others, it's intimate and moving. And, it's also suspenseful and even scary. It may resemble other films, but it still has plenty of heart. I enjoyed it for what it offered: a genuine experience.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Some disturbing images.

No comments:

Post a Comment