“The Quest: Nepal” has a comedic twist to it although I am sure not intended. Alex Harz a filmmaker from the United States has a childhood dream of climbing Mount Everest and so he sets out to do just that.
So we hop onto a cruise ship of the mind and jet off to Katmandu, Nepal with Alex.We see Alex a big tall gringo strut about the streets of Katmandu and I only wish he wouldn’t continually have a knapsack on his back! Yes there are some interesting sights to see in Katmandu all glossed over as if one was travelling with “Nepal on $10 a Day” crossing off the tourist attractions to see. Then we are moved to tears as Alex seeks advice from a holy man about his quest to Mount Everest. I suppose all gringos feel injected with a bit courage after being blessed! Somewhat comedic and we wonder how much this gringo was surcharged for wise and totally generic words from the holy man.
Then we are off to Lukla on the gringo shuttle service airplane full of hearty and brave gringos looking forward to having a “harrowing climb” of Mount Everest and of course a speciality coffee while gazing at Everest. But there is yet another blessing from a Lama to aid climbers on their “harrowing climb” up the garbage strewn, body littered and excrement covered slope but get in line and patiently wait your turn as there is a line up of people waiting to get on the summit. Do you have to take a number?
But after 48 days of being pampered by guides and teams of servants ascending the summit must be worth it. Yes it is like being on a cruise ship and only the midnight chocolate buffet is missing…..I think. And as cruise ships have destroyed Venice, Barcelona, Dubrovnik, Porto and Lisbon so do these “Package glory tours” destroy Everest to satisfy the me me of these brave adventurers!. While the 1953 ascent of Everest by Tenzing and Hillary was truly harrowing and dangerous Alex’s climb of Everest is a simulation of the real thing. Everest a playground of extreme sport for the financially well endowed. A modern day climb of Everest satisfies the me me crowd as they leave their garbage behind. Do the locals benefit from this mass tourism? You might think so but watch the Canadian film “The Last Tourist” and you’ll see the wealth from mass tourism rarely hits local pockets. Most employment of locals is low level and focused on the Machu Pichu type of sights ignoring anything in between. I would rather have seen less me me in “The Quest: Nepal” and more how so many “brave teams” are changing the face of Everest and if the local population really derives any tangible benefits and if not show me the trail of money. Excuse me I must go to the midnight chocolate buffet.
Alex’s climb is neither “harrowing or enthralling”. It is sad. Lord Jim.
That may be irrelevant as boarding the Musk and Bezos space flight will shunt Everest to the side for the big adventurers.
You can see the trailer here https://drive.google.com/file/d/14FcM0p5d-iTaxd_-eH4OwkV07cwIbKWw/view
Available on TVOD and VOD on May 24th.
RKS Film Rating 46/100.