Book vs. Movie: Into Thin Air

The movie I’ll ramble about today is called “Into Thin Air: Death on Everest”. It is based on the non fiction book by Jon Krakauer, who wrote down his experiences of climbing the Mt. Everest.


The Plot:

Jon Krakauer takes part in an expedition. His goal is nothing less than the Mt. Everest. Together with a group of diverse people he tried to reach the summit. But no-one of them would have thought that their expedition is about to end in a tragedy. When the weather changes abruptly disaster takes its course. Several people die trying to make their way back to the camp. In the entire 1996 season a total of 15 people gave their life reaching for the top.


Book vs. Movie:

The book deeply impressed me. Jon Krakauer has a way of writing that makes you feel like you were there. He describes in great detail and it is easy to comprehend all the aspects of his expedition. The tragedy Krakauer wrote about saddened me to the core. Still he wrote about it with great dignity and gave an extremely realistic piece of writing.
Watching the movie on the other hand was a catastrophe. Shooting in the Himalaya region was too expensive or dangerous I guess. So instead of 8000 meter high peaks we get the Tyrolian Alps. Don’t get me wrong, these are beautiful mountains but it’s simply obvious that it’s not the Mt. Everest. However, what opulence the mountains couldn’t provide was substituted with music. You can not imagine how absolutely improper the use of music was. On top of that many scenes were extremely unconvincing. For example there is a scene were a camp member slips after stepping out of the tent. I really can’t imagine that under any circumstances such an event would look like it did in the movie. On several occasion the actors delivered a poor performance. But it’s not entirely their fault. The script was rather awful aswell. I’m pretty sure that without having read the book I wouldn’t have been able to fully comprehend all the events. Often the movie just feels like a number of scenes tied together with no real flow. And on top of that there are several inaccuracies in comparison with the book. While Krakauer’s book gave a realistic intention of what it has to be like to be on such an expedition the movie was not credible at all.

All in all I can only advise you not to watch the movie. It felt like a quick number to make some cash with a tragedy. Watching the movie I was convinced that not much effort was put into it. Should you be interested in the events I recommend reading the book as it is not only very well written but also rich in detail and highly credible.


The book gets 8.5/10, the movie merely 2/10

7 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie: Into Thin Air

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  2. Depressing story, yes. Krakauer however-

    “Anatoli Boukreev comes off as an intransigent guide who doesn’t help clients and irresponsibly refuses to use supplementary oxygen. In this telling (Krakauers) he emerges from the crisis more as an errant worker finally doing his job then as the mythical hero he would surely have become in a past era. while Mr. Krakauer slept, and no other guide, client, or Sherpa could muster the strength and courage to leave camp, Mr. Boukreev made several solo forays into a blizzard in the dark at 26,000 feet to rescue three climbers near death. Time magazine failed to mention him in a three-page new story after a New York socialite implausibly wouldn’t acknowledge that he saved her.
    “Mr. Boukreev is roundly criticized for descending far ahead of clients. Although Mr. Krakauer grants Mr. Boukreev certain strengths, he never painted a picture of one of the most amazing rescues in mountaineering history performed single-handedly a few hours after climbing Everest without oxygen by a man some describe as the Tiger Woods of Himalayan climbing. Mr. Boukreev has talked to many of the worlds highest peak solo and less than one day, in winter, and always without oxygen (because of his personal ethic). Having already done Everest twice he foresaw problems with the clients nearing camp, noted five other guides on the peak, and positioned himself to be rested and hydrated enough to respond to an emergency. His heroism is not a fluke.”

    – Galen Rowells’s review in Wall Street Journal of “Into Thin Air”
    Mr. Rowell is also a noted author and high altitude climber. It should be noted that both Outside and Krakauer had Anatoli’s side of the story when it went to press and none tried to contact him to clarify ANYTHING.

    Krakauer needed a villain, so he could sell his books to the Pittmans of the world.

    Liked by 1 person

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