everest-imax-640x1014 9780385494786It was inevitable that the movie Everest would renew the controversy surrounding the various accounts of the 1996 fatal climb.

As we wrote earlier, there are several books on the disaster. Jon Krakauer wrote the most successful and well-known version, his blockbuster Into Thin Air. He is a character in the Everest film, played by House of Card’s Michael Kelly and is far from happy about how he is represented, telling the L.A. Times, “It’s total bull, anyone who goes to that movie and wants a fact-based account should read Into Thin Air.”

Krakauer’s book is not the basis for this film (it was adapted as a TV movie in 1997, which he also disliked intensely) and no one connected to the script consulted him. He tells the paper that he considers the film a personal affront from director Kormákur and is particularly unhappy with a scene in which he refuses to help in a rescue attempt, “I never had that conversation … I’m not saying I could have, or would have. What I’m saying is, no one came to my tent and asked.”

Krakauer himself has taken criticism for his account of the events. Objecting to his portrayal in Into Thin Air, one of the Russian guides, Anatoli Boukreev wrote his own version, The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest. He is also a character in the movieplayed by Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson.

Krakauer is not one of those authors who is unhappy with every film version of his work. He was so pleased with Sean Penn’s adaptation of another of his bestsellers, Into the Wild, that “When [Sean] showed me the rough cut, I wanted to kiss him, I was so happy.”

After a strong box office at IMAX theaters, Everest slipped when it opened last week in regular theaters. Reviews have not been stellar. The L.A. Times even encouraged viewers to turn to other films instead: “documentaries like Meru and The Summit will take you higher than Everest, world-class visuals and all.”

The NYT says the movie “never seems to get anywhere, taking up space and time without managing to be especially memorable or imposing,” while The Telegraph ventures it is a “pulverising tale of real-life tragedy on the mountain [that] never quite hits the heights.”

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