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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: Blu-ray|Change
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If you ever thought climbing Everest was easy, then this visually stunning documentary will open your eyes to just how hard it was for the British expedition of 1953 to reach the summit. It also explains how and why the New Zealander, Ed Hilary, ended up being the man at the top alongside local Tenzing Norgay.

Beyond the Edge is a sweeping, gripping summary of their climb, including all the painstaking preparations, and although I have seen maybe a dozen different documentaries about Everest, its history and climbing it today, this is one of the most successful in the way it explains to the layman the challenges of climbing over 29,000 feet, and the sheer accomplishment of the achievement.
It also contains an entirely believable, scarily realistic reconstruction of the final night Hilary and Norgay spent on the side of the mountain before their summit attempt, barely able to sleep, beset by banshee winds and struggling for every breath. It's genuinely gripping stuff -- unusually powerful for 'just another documentary'.
Beyond the Edge combines some (not much) archive footage, still photos, reconstructed modern filming, voice-overs from recent climbers and radio broadcasts from the original expedition team members to capture the flavour of the climb and the nature of Edmund Hilary. Combined with some breath-taking filming, the effect is both matter of fact, down to earth, and magnificently majestic.
The film-makers have found a new story to tell - including the weeks of preparing the route, the hundreds of porters needed to carry equipment to the lower camps, the experimental oxygen equipment which failed and caused the first summit team to turn back. To top it all, they graphically demonstrate the knife-edge reality of the final climb, along a narrow spine with sheer drops on either side, and how the two men had to physically conquer `Hilary's step' by technical climbing merit at a height when most people would have been unable to stand, let alone walk.
Definitely worth seeing in high-definition, and with a good sound system. Some of the archive interviews are a little distorted, but the soundtrack is stupendous. And the sound of the mountain wind, trying to rip the men from safety, is awe inspiring.

I suspect that experienced climbers might find all this a little lightweight, but for an interested observer, it succeeded in revealing some of the true challenges of climbing Everest which were overcome by the team in 1953.
9/10
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on 16 August 2014
This movie will not disappoint any mountaineering fan, but is certainly not general viewing. A lot of effort was put into historical accuracy although there is a tent design there that simply could not have existed at that time! A great account of the nationalistic/siege approach to climbing 8000 metre peaks.
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on 15 September 2015
I'm glad I watched this. Good film with actual real footage. Learnt a lot about how difficult it was to climb Mount Everest in 1953 and the personal hardships and dangers the climbers faced. Incredible what they achieved under the conditions.
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on 5 February 2016
For an Everest history obsessive such as myself, this film, whose existence was previously unknown to me, was a remarkable treat. The 'vehicle' of the film, combining original footage with modern reconstructed scenes, might not appeal to everyone, but for me it worked very well indeed. The modesty of Ed Hillary throughout his reflections is an accolade to his greatness and, though I have played the ending out in my head over many years, the climbing of The Hillary Step was cathartic for me, all the more so for this privileged insight into a man who, prior to this film, had just been a name in my head, a statistic of mountaineering history. From the moment that John Hunt shook his hand at the beginning of the film, you sort of knew that he had only one man in mind for the summit.
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on 26 April 2016
A fantastic insight into the 1953 expedition. Well worth watching to understand what an incredible achievement and feat they undertook.
Their fortitude and bravery against the harsh terrain of mount Everest, makes this an achievement of epic proportions, beautifully captured using film from the time, interwoven with audio recordings and recreated scenes. Any Everest fan will enjoy this historical account of an intrepid adventure. Even more in awe with what was achieved in these early days of mountaineering after watching this documentary film.
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on 6 October 2014
Brilliant story, and excellent visuals!!
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on 8 July 2015
Really good film and well worth a watch. Although it does detail the events from one mans (Hillary) perspective and you don't learn too much about the climb up Everest from the other people in the team. But in all a very good film with a good mix of re-creation and actual footage.
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on 25 August 2015
This is a great documentary style film about the 1953 Everest expedition when Hillary and Tenzing made it to the top. The actors playing them are very similar in appearance it was quite startling. I really enjoyed it but sometimes found I couldn't tell the difference between the real footage and the dramatized parts. Nevertheless it was very exciting.
There are no sub-titles despite the fact that it's a BluRay- unbelievable!
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on 4 May 2016
The original film footage was brilliant but I'm not sure the film added anything to my understanding of the men themselves or the way in which expeditions were conducted. There appeared to be little commentary on the position of the sherpas. I would have expected a modern perspective on this to have included some observations which have the benefit of hindsight.
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on 10 September 2014
Well shot and the modern actors are dead ringers for Hilary and Tensing. Good and careful version of the story although all controversy is ignored.
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