A concrete example of the documentary’s shallowness comes at the one hour mark, maybe slightly earlier. The Marolts and Gile are on their way to one of the peaks they are about to set a new record for, and footage they shot themselves shows them huddled in prayer. They pray that the trip goes well and that they’ll be safe. This is the first, and only time, religion comes up. Does this high altitude, risk-heavy commune with nature style skiing make them feel closer to God? Are they even religious outside of these trips? If not, are they only praying to save their butts? I have as many answers to these questions as you do, and I have seen this movie.
That is not to say there is no value to be had throughout Beyond Skiing Everest. For one, Jewel’s narration is clear and evocates the enormity of their undertakings in a solemn yet impressed tone. If you are going to hear a visual audiobook of their exploits, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone better than Jewel to give it the gravity and intensity it deserves.
“Their raw footage is extraordinary, and I wish there were more of it.”
And the footage shot by the friends on their adventures is remarkable. There is an immediacy and resiliency to seeing them huddled in tents in below-freezing temperatures, yet remaining hopeful for some good snow to ski down once at the top. The beautiful, pristine terrain they capture reminds the viewer of how little humans are in the grand scheme of things and how truly striking Mother Nature (or the Green Man if you prefer). Their raw footage is extraordinary, and I wish there were more of it.
Look, what Beyond Skiing Everest showcases the three friends accomplishing is truly remarkable, especially given that they are all over 50-years-old. But their impressive skills, abilities, and athleticism do not make for a good movie. It is their lives, and what drives them that would do such a thing. But, screenwriter Mulker and director Bellamy are not interested in them as people, wishing to move on from impressive feat to the next perilous journey as quickly as possible. This means the audience never connects with the Marolts and Gile and, therefore, is not invested in its mission and accomplishments. In turn, that makes this movie ever so boring.
"…nothing more than a glorified visual Wikipedia article."