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The Alps [Blu-ray]
The Alps
Blu-ray
Actors: Michael Gambon, John Harlin
NR     2008     0hr 45min

In the air above Switzerland, on the sheer rock-and-ice wall known as the Eiger, an American climber is about to embark on the most perilous and meaningful ascent he has ever undertaken: an attempt to scale the legendary m...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Michael Gambon, John Harlin
Studio: Image Entertainment
Format: Blu-ray - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 10/14/2008
Original Release Date: 01/01/2006
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2006
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 0hr 45min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 2
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Sophomoric
William in Wyoming | 08/09/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Apparently my wife and I are the only people that were very disappointed
with this "movie". I like rock music, but the music by Queen simply did
not work for us, given the scenery. Some Alpine yodeling would have been
a lot more appropriate!

As for the video content, given the short length, we were surprised by how
much time was spent away from the Alps themselves. I wanted to see non-stop
footage of the Alps - period. Not trains, villages, family scenes, etc.

The educational value seemed to be aimed for a 10 year old. I already know
about tectonic plates, erosion, etc.

The story line was really shallow. "A man, haunted by the shadow of his
father's death on a mountain, feels he must climb this mountain (40 years
later), and risk never seeing his wife or daughter again". The death of his
father is drummed into our heads every minute. His psychoanalysis of himself
was trite, forced, thoroughly obvious, and should have been cut out.

There is extremely little shown of the actual climbing. I would really have
liked to have seen either more aerial views of the Alps, and/or more views of the
climbing. Oddly enough, the movie "Into Thin Air" was far more interesting -
and I have that only on VHS! The climb itself did look difficult, but so little
is shown that there is no appreciation of that. At one point I thought they were
perhaps halfway up. In the next cut they are at the top. Wow - that was easy.
Three days of climbing condensed into perhaps 20 minutes.

Somehow, in the rush to show us high definition images, people forgot about
the story, editing, a good musical score, and interesting educational content.
My wife, who has seen other IMAX movies, said this was by far the worst IMAX
movie she has ever watched. The only part I liked was the "human made" avalanche,
when I turned on my subwoofer and got a good feeling for the power. Too bad it was
a distraction from the main point of the movie.

If/when we watch this again, it will be with the sound off, and we'll simply
wander by once in a while to see some pretty scenery.

I find myself thinking fondly of Mutual of Ohama's Wild Kingdom and realizing
how I enjoyed that old "low def" stuff so much more.
"
I Never Write Reviews (at Amazon.com)
D. Price | Boston, MA | 10/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

"As stated in the title this is my first and perhaps only review on this site. I'm writing only because some of the prior reviews seem over-exaggerated, both positively and negatively. I bought this blu-ray back in July when it was on sale for 8 bucks. I have since watched it several times in preparation for a more technical review I did on another site.

This video was transferred from an IMAX film by MacGillivray Freeman Films (MFF). Those are the two key facts that you need to know and understand before you can properly appreciate what this video is and whether it's something you want to buy.

IMAX means that the film is targeted at the typical audience (i.e., school age kids and their chaperons/teachers/parents) that is found in the kinds of places that have IMAX theaters (i.e., science or natural history museums, etc.) and that the film is going to possess the strengths and weaknesses typical of the format. Thus the film is going to be stunning visually and aurally, it's going to be short, it's going to be mildly educational (with emphasis on the "mild"), and it's going to be "inspirational and wholesome."

MFF seem to have a standard formula based on the four of their films that I've seen on blu-ray: Find a subject and a title that will draw an IMAX/nature documentary loving crowd and that will maximize funding from the usual gullible suspects (i.e., foundations and corporations). Next assemble a cast of random nitwits (of course MFF would call them "interesting and loveable characters") and place them in the dramatic and beautiful location that the title suggests the movie is about. But make sure the director knows that the movie is really about the handsome cast and their antics. Oh, and don't forget to add some narration that mentions something about GLOBAL WARMING (because, you know, GLOBAL WARMING sells). The important thing to remember is that MFF is not the BBC or National Geographic; so don't buy this video with those kinds of expectations, otherwise you are bound to be disappointed. In the case of this movie the MFF formula actually works to produce a decent film. Firstly, because it's about mountain climbing so naturally the focus is on the climbers. And secondly, because the hero is a likeable sort and he's far from a nitwit.

The film is _not_ about the Alps per se. The film tells the story of the American journalist and mountaineer John Harlin III who, along with the Swiss husband and wife team of Robert and Daniela Jasper, attempts in 2006 to climb the north face of the Eiger where Harlin's father died in a similar attempt in 1966. Of its 45 minute length, only the last 16 or 17 minutes deals with the actual climb. The first part of the movie tells of Harlin's preparations and gives some of his backstory including the circumstances of his father's death. It also mixes in a bit of Swiss travelogue and mountaineering history. Many may find this story basically uninteresting and unengaging but I found that it worked reasonably well, especially in comparison to the other MFF films that I'm familiar with: Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk (IMAX) [Blu-ray], Mystery of the Nile [Blu-ray], and Coral Reef Adventure (IMAX) [Blu-ray] (films which I definitely do _not_ recommend).

What the movie lacks in terms of story and educational value it more than makes up for in picture quality, in sheer visual magnificence. This BD is five-star in terms of PQ. There is some stunning footage of the climbers ascending the Eiger. Also great aerial shots of the Matterhorn, of an avalanche, and of various Swiss villages and cities. If you just want eye candy, this blu-ray is it. The intense visuals are what lift this disc from three stars to four.

About the soundtrack. The movie is touted as being narrated by Michael Gambon (Harry Potter's Dumbledore) and featuring tunes by Queen. Both statements are true but very misleading. The Gambon narration is fairly minimal; most of the voice-overs come from the on-screen participants, primarily John Harlin. The orchestral score was composed by Steve Wood and features some solo guitar work by Brian May, the lead guitarist for Queen, but there is very little of Queen in his anthem-like riffs. This comprises the vast bulk of the soundtrack. Of Queen proper there are only snippets from four tunes for a total of less than three minutes (that's 6% of the film's length). I'm not a Queen fan but I found those snippets fairly innocuous; it's hard to imagine how they ruined the film for anyone. Of course, for some they may just have been the last straw."
Tha Alps
Joao Luis Freitas | BRAZIL | 10/26/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)

"I do not recomend this DVD ( Bluray). It is not a video about The Alps, but a specific video about the wish of one man to conquest a mountain in memory of his father. I was expecting to see more than 10 typical places( mountains) in Alps, but they show just one.Joao Luis de Freitas - BRAZIL"
Really great work !!
A. KIRBAř | 03/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Hey you! the owner of HD Tv and Blu-ray player.
Don't hesitate to own one of this, The Alps .
We watched several times again and again in a week.
We had seen Alps in Switzerland before but now We think we never saw before.We must go again when possible.
"