OK, disclaimer: I haven't yet seen the movie. I have two kids, the Halloween season is here which means parties and costume making and, of course, the beginning of baking season (are you listening, K8?). However, I have read the book and want to assign that in my Expository & Report Writing class next semester. Like his other book, Into Thin Air (see original excerpt here), Krakauer does a good job of reporting on an event he finds illuminating about the human condition, its frailty, and, therefore, preciousness. In that regard, it also makes an argument out of the "facts" he gathers; in this case, that local Alaskans were too quick to judge the actions of a young man on his own personal and inward search.
My concern is, though, that the movie's appeal will distract from the book (at least until it comes out on DVD and I can show it in class with references to its visual rhetoric). Fortunately or unfortunately, this genre gets taken up pretty quickly into Hollywood (e.g., Sebastian Junger's The Perfect Storm and Warner Brothers' adaptation about the 1991 event). Hmmm. maybe that's a better assignment... I dunno. Anyway, I'm just wondering about these migrations of texts across genres. It seems really interesting to get students to think about and compare how each does what it does, why it does it, and to what ends or limitations. What I don't like, however, is the hype surrounding these multi-million dollar movies and/or the cynicism that lends itself to something that is "just a movie" and therefore not worthy of spurring action (see Rickert 2007 for more on this, which, BTW was what MBD used to grill me during my defense.. thanks, Mike!).