No Mountain's too Big
There is nothing like a movie based on a true story of a disabled person triumphing over adversity to wake you up and realise what a moany person you have become and "Touch the Top of the World" certainly achieves that. This is the story of Erik Weihenmayer who climbed Mount Everest which whilst a brilliant achievement doesn't sound that spectacular till you learn that he went blind as a teenager, now that is one spectacular achivement. And "Touch the Top of the World" does a good job of dramatizing both his life and the climb considering we are talking a made for TV movie with a limited budget and makes both sides inspiring.
As a child Erik Weihenmayer (Peter Facinelli - Hollow Man II) is diagnosed with an eye condition which will mean he will be blind by the time he is a teenager. Refusing to allow him to lead a less than full life his parents Ed (Bruce Campbell) and Ellen (Kate Greenhouse) encourage him in what ever he does which even when he loses his sight sees him becoming a wrestler. Despite knock backs and personal heartbreak Erik not only became a teacher and meets Ellie (Sarah Manninen - Martin and Lewis) who he would go on to marry but also became an accomplished climber which when he meets PV (Shaun Johnston) leads to the unimaginable, the attempt to climb Mount Everest.
I have watched a lot of these true story movies which feature inspirational true stories and there is one thing you can never complain about and that is the story. I don't say that out of respect to the individual which they are about but because they are genuinely inspirational stories of triumph over adversity. And "Touch the Top of the World" is no different, in fact I would say that Erik Weihenmayer's story is one of the most inspirational stories I have had the pleasure to watch.
But "Touch the Top of the World" is a made for TV movie and one which is made not just to tell Erik's spectacular story but to inspire. As such Erik's story is condensed as we get the first half of the movie which covers his journey from childhood to the Everest attempt and then the actual climb really taking up the final 30 minutes. And to condense his story we get mainly the positives from Erik learning to use his hearing as way of seeing to his relationship with Ellie. There are some touching moments in this such as the personal tragedy which to be honest takes you by surprise but the general feel of the movie is one of being positive and inspirational rather than accurately dramatizing a life and showing all the ups and downs.
Now I've mentioned that "Touch the Top of the World" is a made for TV movie and as you can imagine it doesn't have a huge Hollywood budget. But director Peter Winther has done a good job with what he had available to deliver a convincing drama especially with the use of Canada for the various climbing scenes. In fact to the layman I doubt you would notice the difference between the mountains of Calgary and those of Everest.
As for the acting well with this being a movie which whilst telling the story also aims to inspire has a likeable cast. Peter Facinelli's performance as Erik may not always be the most convincing when it comes to acting blind but he is likeable and easy to champion. The same with the rest of the cast which includes Bruce Campbell as Erik's father and Sarah Manninen as Ellie.
What this all boils down to is that technically "Touch the Top of the World" is not the greatest movie ever made but it not only does a good job of telling the remarkable story of Erik Weihenmayer but also inspire the audience and in many ways gives them a kick up the backside when it comes to moaning about their problems.