The Summit of the Gods review – a cathartic adventure towards the summit

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: November 30, 2021
Netflix film The Summit of the Gods


Stunning visuals and a strong story, makes a heartfelt movie of catharsis and self-discovery.

This review of the Netflix film The Summit of the Gods does not contain spoilers. 

Before watching Netflix’s new animated movie The Summit of the Gods, I had reviewed the documentary 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible. More or less based on the same subject matter, these two works place real importance on the viewers looking into the matters of mountaineering. Maybe one is fiction and one is real, but one’s hidden answers are encrypted into another’s conscience.  If 14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible is important to acknowledge the story of making history by achieving the impossible, The Summit of the Gods explores if it is only about making history or even something bigger drives them to these deadly paths, leaving all behind.  No matter what the answer is not simple.

The great American film Apocalypse Now has a striking dialogue from its protagonist: “When I was here, I wanted to be there. When I was there, I could not think of was getting back to the jungle.” It is like an obsession to be felt that is needed once you get along with it. Perhaps that’s the only way they feel alive. Change the context of jungles to the mountains, you will land on the domain of The Summit of the Gods.

A simple story of a passion for how to become a catharsis along the way towards the top is breathtakingly portrayed by director Patrick Imbert. Based on the manga by Jiro Taniguchi and Baku Yumemkura, it tells the story of Makoto Fukamachi, a young Japanese photo-journalist, encountering a mysterious mountaineer, Habu Joji. Fukamachi thinks that Habu has the camera of George Mallory, one of the earlier climbers to attempt the summit of Everest.

To uncover the myth of if Mallory completed the summit or not, Fukamachi is determined to get the camera from Habu. But in that process, he gradually becomes more involved with Habu. He comes to know more and more about him and even respects him heavily. Ultimately, he finds himself joining him on Everest to record his own attempt to reach the peak.

Though I am not a frequent viewer of animated movies, I have to say there are some realistic and breathtaking animation works in the film. The level of authenticity of the animation is designed with finesse sometimes obscures the suspension of disbelief of watching an animated movie. Apart from that, there are moments also where the director goes to the extent of creating some surreal stuff. As in one scene, one of the characters gets hypothermia, the screen slowly gets red as it devours everything.

Different timelines are shown in different tones of colors to help us to distinguish between them and innovative editing techniques like match cuts and time lapses are used complementing the non-linear screenplay. Above all, it is the detailing that is the most eye-catching.

The Summit of the Gods is an adventure film not about the thrill of the adventure of mountaineering. Rather it is about the spiritual journey one has gone through along the path towards the summit.

What did you think of the Netflix film The Summit of the Gods? Comment below. 

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