Beyond the Edge is a stunning 3D vista of a movie that we should treasure and promote for its unique way of focusing our gaze. Many historical documentaries seek to give us a view through a long lens back to the past. With Beyond the Edge we should be proud that the storytellers have actually transported us back to walk through 1953 with Edmund Hillary from the bee hives of New Zealand through our own mountain ranges to join one of the most ambitious mountaineering climbs of the century.
As a nation, New Zealand has achieved many incredible feats over the years thanks to pioneers and risk-takers who took the vision set before them in lanky strides. Edmund Hillary’s footsteps to the pinnacle of Everest would be considered our greatest but how did the beekeeper from down under end up on top of the world.
Beyond the Edge, written and directed by Leanne Pooley, brings this focal point in Kiwi history to life. The movie draws on a number of media sources to composite an engaging story that reveals more about the man and the expedition. To the unaware general public, we may simply think that Hillary hired his Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and went for an afternoon stroll up the Mountain. But this was no molehill and as project years in the planning and months in the making, this was actually a British expedition sponsored to bring kudos back to post-war English soil.
The cinematic experience of Beyond the Edge is riveting. The balance of old footage and photography was a highlight of the movie with all media sources edited to produce clear 3D effects that have breathed life into the archives. Narratives from relatives, expedition leaders and the climbers who have followed in the footsteps of Hillary and Norgay all contributed to painting the highlights and shadows on a deeper story than the famous phrase “we knocked the bastard off” uttered by Hillary to fellow Kiwi mountaineer, George Lowe.
To understand the expedition is to comprehend the achievement. Others had failed, and some would pay a sacrifice along the way but when you begin to see the hundreds of people who moved tonnes of food and equipment step by step up the face of Everest you appreciate the people who got Hillary to a place where he and Norgay were positioned for their day in the Nepalese sun.
There is no doubt that the tenacity of Edmund Hillary was a deep-seated quality that brought quiet resolve. This was the story of a man willing to push himself before all others in order to go to the summit of the 29,000 ft peak of Mt. Everest. Chad Moffit is an easy fit playing the role of Edmund Hillary. The likeness and composed nature speak well of the gentle giant he portrayed.
Beyond the Edge is an exquisite piece of filmmaking that will open the eyes of generations to a Kiwi legend and inspire more ‘Hillarys’ to walk out of the classroom to climb their ‘mountain’. The distributors of the movie have gone a long way to assist in helping both adults and students understand the movie. The study guide and additional resources available can all be found through www.beyondtheedgefilm.com