Watching people climb death-defying heights into the clouds is thrilling all on its own, but add in the exploration of a never before seen area of the world, plus an aging biologist's race to discover multiple new species there, and the drama is heightened to all new levels (pun intended). Explorer: The Last Tepui is a dazzlingly depiction of the team work that made such a daring mission possible. Many will recognize Alex Honnold from the Oscar-winning climbing documentary Free Solo. While there he was portrayed as somewhat of a rebellious loner, this new documentary highlights his ability to connect with those that are as passionate about the natural world as he is. Along the way he provides compelling commentary about the journey and steps up as a natural leader to the team during the climb,
The real star of the show, though, is undoubtedly the nearly 80-year-old biologist, Bruce Means, who's determined to ascend the treacherous Tepui in order to discover new species and, hopefully, lobby for the protection of the South American landscape he cares so deeply about. Through many trials and tribulations the team teaches valuable lessons about the value of science, conservationism, perseverance and, most of all, the importance of being able to adapt to unexpected obstacles. The conclusion of the journey may feel a little rushed after the palm-sweating-anxiety of the climb and, as is often the case in these types of films, the indigenous crew leading the climbers and scientist aren't given the full due they deserve. Despite the shortcomings, though, this is still a thrilling and visually stunning ode to what people can accomplish together through curiosity, courage, and teamwork.