“ Genre: Action & Adventure / Theatrical Release: 2005 / Director: Breck Eisner / Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz ... / DVD released 22 August, 2005 at Paramount Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: Anamorphic, Dubbed, PAL „
I watched Sahara recently on DVD and found this action/adventure movie a bit like Indiana Jones. It takes alot to live up to those types of movies but it does it's best and it's not bad entertainment really. The movie was originally released in 2005 and starts Matthew McConaughey in something a bit different to his normal romantic comedies we've all seen him in countless times.
The story itself involves Dirk Pitt and Al Girodino who work for NUMA which is the National Underwater and Marine Agency. The scientists that work for this agency travel all round the globe tracking down lost historical artifacts. Dirk himself is played by Matthew McConaughey.
Dirk Pitt is put in a position where he has to save the world and faces a frantic race against time to stop the outbreak of a disease that could spread and kill millions of people across the world. He becomes involved heavily in this storyline and there is of course a romantic interest as well. Penelope Cruz plays the role of Eva Rojas who is smart and intelligent and also tough enough to stand up for herself in the extreme conditions of the cruel desert.
I thought Sahara was a very enjoyable action/adventure movie and had a serious side to it as well with the disease Eva is trying to treat. There is plenty of action to keep fans amused throughout the movie. I definately didn't get bored when watching and was kept interested all the time. From Civil War battles to explosions and gunfights there is something for everyone here. The action scenes kept the movie going at a fast enough pace for the majority. There was some mild violence during some scenes.
Matthew McConaughey did a good job with his different role as Dirk and was something away from his normal type of character he plays. He gave his character a real sense that he loved to adventure and was pretty believable. Equally Penelope Cruz puts in a good performance and does a good job of supporting him throughout to add to the realism.
Overall, if you want a mix of fun and adventure with a fair bit of action then it's definately worth having a look at this movie.
Sahara is a fairly average action adventure film, one of the problems with the film is the lack of real qualiy in the cast, Penelope Cruz is hopelessly miscast and Mathew McConaughey is better known for starring in distinctly average rom coms rather than eing the swash bucklinglead in an action film and as such he fails to deliver a performance powerful enough to raise this film up to anything other than average.
This film is a bit of an Indiana Jones rip off, McCoonaughey plays Dirk Pitt who specialises in recovering ancient relics and along with his sidekick Al played by Steven Zahn they are hunting for a lost ship however soon they are dealing with a deadly virus and trying to avoid the local dictator of the area in the Sahara that their search eventually takes them. Cruz appears as a doctor who is also on the case for the virus.
I have to say that even though I only watched the film a couple of nights ago I found that at times I was falling asleep in it after a hard week at work and it was not really an attention grabbing film despite the special effects and stunts.
I always find McConaughey lacks charisma on screen and is a bit wooden in his acting hence the Matthew Mahogony jibes that his name lends itself to so easily. Zahn has a little more personality and as such his charatecter is far more engaging however neither really stand out.
The other problem with this film was that at two hours it is about thirty minutes too long which was one of the reasons why I struggled to stay awake for the duration of the film. This is not a film I would recommend, not the worst film I have ever seen and it is just about worth three stars but I will not be seeing it again of that I'm sure.
There are a few actors who I am very wary about and Matthew McConaughey is certainly one of those actors. As such Sahara wasn't a film I was in any great rush to see. The adverts for it looked like they had thrown all the action from the film into a 60 second clip. Couple with that McConaughey, who normally stars in films I don't enjoy, apart from U571, and the outlook doesn't look good. Given that I couldn't decide what to watch however I came across a copy of this on DVD and thought that I'd at least give it a go.
McConaughey stars as an underwater adventurer who works for a company that specialise in recovering lost relics from the depths of the ocean. Along with his best friend Al (Steven Zahn) they are looking for an old American ship, missing for over a hundred years. They cross paths with a Doctor (Penelope Cruz) investigating a strange disease and all too suddenly the three of them are stranded in the middle of the Sahara desert and they are being hunted by the local dictator who needs to ensure the Doctor doesn't leave with the reason behind the virus. Can they evade capture and succeed in their individual goals? Well you'll need to watch and find out.
So what did I think of Sahara having watched it. Well it certainly isn't a complicated film; it runs to the simple formulae of these type of action adventure films. Rather than making the film all too predictable this actually helped in my opinion to make the film a lot more enjoyable. Despite being able to almost work out the next twist or turn it meant the film just drifted past and you don't need to concentrate too much. It did at times lose my interest but for the most part this was only for about 2 or 3 minutes and then I was back enjoying the film.
This is the first movie I've seen from director Breck Eisner, a relative newcomer to the movie industry, but hopefully it's not going to be his last. Having worked mainly on TV shows this is Eisner's first foray into the world of massive Blockbusters and chances are following Sahara it won't be the last time his name appears. The movie is based on the novels of Clive Cussler and although I've not encountered the books, I thought that Eisner and his team of screenplay writers have made this into a very enjoyable action film, with a dab of comedy thrown in for good effect. Even the 70's rock soundtrack he has chosen to use seems to supplement the movie nicely.
There can be no complaints over his use of his main characters either. There are plenty of close up shots of the leads, which brings them a little more into the film and makes them a lot more likeable than a lot of similar films around. In fact his camerawork throughout the film is of quite a high level and this makes the film come a little more alive than it otherwise might have. Added to this are some amazing special effects and some very well thought out action sequences including boat chases and others with helicopter gun ships it seems that Eisner has used his budget to its full potential rather than just splashing out on huge name actors.
It's for this reason that McConaughey makes a respectable lead. He isn't a Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt but he does make a believable action hero and it also shows they didn't blow the entire budget on securing a big name at the sacrifice of the rest of the movie. In fact McConaughey is very believable in the lead role. He even looks the part and this has led to me seeing Mr McConaughey in a totally different light, no longer is he the pretty boy in the latest Kate Hudson movie but he also makes a respectable hero as well. His best friend is played superbly by Steven Zahn, who I'd seen in a few things but had never really made much of an impression on me. The two of them have the buddy hero thing down to a T and that also makes the film a whole lot more enjoyable.
My only gripe with the casting was Penelope Cruz, she seems to be a decent actress but there is just something about her in almost every part I've seen her play that annoys me about her. She seems to have an ability to irritate just by being on screen and this put me off slightly, however her performance was quite good and although I felt there were better people for the part she did an admirable job. There are a few other big names in the film and I thought that William H. Macy was fantastic as McConaughey's boss. He seemed perfect for the role and his look really suited the type of character he seemed to be. Coupled with this an appearance by Delroy Lindo the casting seems to have been done right.
Overall it is a fairly decent movie. It's not one that will be winning Oscars or Acadamy Awards but it is a mindless action film. There are weaknesses with the script but these are glossed over by some cracking special effects and a decent soundtrack. It is a highly enjoyable movie and certainly a lot better than I had expected. You kind of know what's going to happen next and that seems to aid the film in moving along at a nice steady pace. At almost 2 hours long is perhaps a little too long but it fills up a Saturday night nicely. It is a film I would recommend to be watched at least once.
Sahara is an action & adventure film released in year 2005. Film is an adoption of the novel "Sahara" by Clive Cussler. Film was directed by Breck Eisner.
Matthew McConaughey portrays Lt. Dark Pitt, an ex-Navy SEAL working for NUMA.
William H. Macy plays a role of Admiral James Sandecker, senior officer of Dark Pitt.
Penélope Cruz portrays Eva Rojas.
Steve Zahn plays a role of Lt. Al Giordino.
Dirk Pitt and Admiral James are working for Underwater and Marine Agency. Admiral James is senior of Dark Pitt. Pitt's theory is that Texas had swept away across Atlantic to Africa. Eva Rojas is working for World Health Organizations. She is investigating of plague that is bringing mayhem in this area. They all cross each other during their trip to Mali. Pitt drop Eva and then Mali military attacks on his boat. Military is looking for Eva. Pitt cancels his plan and goes to save Eva. The questions are why Mali military is looking for Eva?? Does Pitt save Eva's life?? What about Pitt's theory?? To know all the answers watch "Sahara".
My Views and Perspective:
Characters and Performance
McConaughey is fine as and did well as Pitt. He is perfect choice for this role and he will not disappoint you as Pitt. He captures the attention of girls by his muscles, looks and wild hair. Penélope Cruz is too hot to handle but her character seems underdeveloped and I feel she is in the movie because Pitt needs someone or films need one actress for the viewers. He fulfills her role and her role is to handle the disease in that area, which is very unique and challenging. I like her in the scene when she jumps from camel onto train. The chemistry between Eva and Pitt is not that good except some scenes. Zahn's acting is excellent and hilarious as Giordino. He is funny sometimes. His screen presence and dialog delivery is perfect. He delivers solid performance with lots of humor and action. You remember the name Lennie James? I have seen him before in comedic role in Snatch and got a chance to see again in Sahara. The role is very different from Snatch. He plays dramatic role in this movie and I am really surprised that he plays this role very wonderfully.
There's lot of adventure trips in the movie and scenery is breath taking. Adventures will make you feel like National Treasure and little bit if Indiana Jones by Steven Spielberg. I expect a lot of action and adventure in the movie and found the same. The action sequence where Pitt and Giordino rescue a plain is really entertaining. The desert sceneries are just awesome. The sunsets on African land is really worth watching. There are chasing scenes by helicopters, lots of explosions and fights throughout the movie. The thing which disappoints me is some action sequences which seem to be impossible and gadgets, equipments which are not credible. Some action sequences looks very familiar and old. There is nothing much too see in those action scenes because you already know what is going to happen next.
Plot and Direction
The plot is lame and disappointing in my opinion. I have not read the book but some people are saying that it's better to read the book before watching movie because some parts are missing in the movie. I got to know that in the book they have mentioned the significance of battleship on which Pitt research is going but in the movie this part is missing. I am still confused how this is there in desert? People are saying that lots of characters are missing in the film. Now coming to the direction part, direction is okay in my opinion. Some scenes really show that direction and editing is shining. You can see action sequences and some dramatic scenes like the conversation between Eva and Pitt. Overall I can say that director is not worked to make an art or a film with great direction. He just wants to make an adventurous film and the direction is accordingly fine. The soundtracks are just awful and according to the sequences. Soundtracks are mixture of Rock and African music.
The film is full of excitement, adventure and fun. The acting is fine; plot is lame but action, adventure, romance and little bit comedy is enough to grab your attention and keep you going. This film is not successful at box office. The budget of film is very high and the gross returned was very less. This is one time watch movie so I think no need to buy DVD but you can rent the same. I suggest you to leave your brain then watch this movie and I am sure you will not be disappointed. That's all I can give you. Thanks for reading.
A certain someone I know rated this 'the best movie ever' for about 8 months a couple of years back, until the next best movie ever came along...
In truth this is a pretty below-par action adventure movie. The plot, which I can't be bothered to go into, is silly. That, in itself, is not necessarily a problem with this kind of film - I wasn't expecting brain surgery. But it's just a bit boring as well.
I think a big problem too is the casting. Matthew McConaughey is a likeable chap and certainly very easy on the eye. But while he has been known to put in the odd strong performance (Lone Star, Tropic Thunder even) he's prone to coasting along - you feel like this is something he's getting out of the way in between surfing and bongo-playing gigs. He doesn't really cut it as a Navy vet action lead. Penelope Cruz, who often struggles in English-language pics is there to be beautiful, but there's no chemistry or fizz between the two leads. Steve Zahn as McConaughey's sidekick is good as ever, but frankly, he's fighting a losing battle with the rest of the film.
Sahara is clearly one of those films that studios occasionally tentatively float out in the hope of creating a money-spinning franchise with lots of lovely sequels. Since it's based on the Dirk Pitt series of novels from Clive Cussler, if Sahara succeeded, there was already a wealth of instantly available storylines available to rush into production. Unfortunately for Paramount, whilst they produced an adequate film, it was never really going to set the world alight.
It's impossible even to begin explaining the plot to Sahara, not because it's incredibly complex, but because it doesn't make a whole heap of sense. Apparently, it's something to do with Dirk Pitt trying to trace a civil war ship made from metal that no-one else believes exists. On the way, they get involved in local power struggles and a conspiracy involving toxic waste and the poisoning of the local water supply. How these all relate to each other, or why we should care is, frankly a mystery to me.
So, it's Strike One for Sahara: unintelligible plot.
As you can probably guess from that brief summary, Sahara tries to throw a whole lot at the screen in the hopes that somehow it will all work out for the best in the end. Some of the material sticks and produces bits of action or sequences that are well put together and worth watching, some of it doesn't. The trouble is, Sahara throws so much at the screen, that it never really fits together as a cohesive whole. Individually, there are bits which work well, but taken as a whole, it ends up a bit of a dog's dinner.
Strike Two: no cohesion.
The same could also be said of the cast. Individually, there are some pretty fun performances, but some of the characters are bland, and your life would not be significantly worse had they been written out of the script (in fact, in some cases, it would be significantly better). Matthew McConaughey is just about adequate as adventurer Dirk Pitt, although he doesn't exactly throw himself into the role. McConaughey is one of those frustrating actors who, when he puts his mind to it, can be very charismatic and fun to watch. Sadly, he was clearly just doing Sahara to top up the bank balance and never really tries to to inject the necessary sense of adventure, spirit and derring-do that the role requires.. Considering Paramount were hoping this would be a franchise launcher, McConaughey's performance is curiously flat at times. He doesn't really help the film's cause at all. After all, if the lead actor can't be bothered engaging with the film, why should the audience?
Thankfully, there is a fun angle, ably provided by Steve Zahn. His slighty screwy turn as Pitt's friend and co-adventurer brings some life and much-needed levity to proceedings. His bickering, old-married couple relationship with Pitt brings plenty of humour to the situation, although Zahn has to work hard to deliver laughs for both himself and for the coasting McConaughey. At least he manages to bring some spark to the film, which is sadly lacking in the the other key actors.
Bringing up the rear (in more ways that one) is Penelope Cruz's utterly pointless and totally unconvincing WHO Doctor. Neither intelligent enough to convince as a medic, nor sparky enough to convince as an action heroine, she wanders around after Zahn and McConaughey, looking a little lost and was clearly cast merely for her pretty face. In fairness, she does have an underwritten role which does little other than require her to wear a tight vest top, but even then, I know clothes horses that could do this to better effect then Cruz does. Frankly this film could have survived without her.
As much of the film concentates on these three characters, few others get a look-in. William H Macy is utterly wasted as Admiral Sandecker, whilst the film also suffers from having two very dull villains. Neither of these men look like they could menace a small child who's already so scared he's widdled his pants, let alone keep an entire nation under control. Yet this is precisely what we're supposed to be believe. Again, in fairness, they are not helped by scripts but they really don't help their own cause by somehow confusing "boring" with "calculating" and "bland" with "evil". Clearly someone needs to buy these two actors a new dictionary for Christmas.
That's Strike Three: rubbish acting. Sahara: You're outta here.
Oh. Stop crying Sahara. Come here and I'll give you one last chance. Because on the plus side, whilst the plot doesn't make a great deal of sense, it does at least remember to build in plenty of action sequences, and these do generate some excitement. Helicopter battles, speedboat chases, car chases, gun battles. It's like someone opened up the Big Bumper Book of Exciting Stuff to do in Films, couldn't decide which one to pick, so thought they'd just throw them all in. It's a very scattergun approach, but it does have some benefits. The plot might be irrelevant and the characters in danger of inducing narcolepsy, but at least there's always something happening that keeps you mildly entertained.
In fact, it's probably this which saves Sahara from being a complete loss. There's always something being blown up, driven fast or crashing; there's always someone trying to escape from someone else; infiltrate something or other or discover a secret wotnot. It might not always be clear WHY these things are happening, but at least they make sure the film meets the action quotient to be at least mildly entertaining. Just like the rest of the film, though, whilst the action sequences are shot competently enough, they don't ever provide anything different.
In fact, that pretty much sums up Sahara. It doesn't do anything particularly badly, but then it doesn't do anything particularly well either. In the over-crowded Hollywood action film department, you've got to wow audiences with something really new, something audacious and something jaw-dropping if you have serious ambitions for launching a new franchise. After all, even that old-timer Indy failed in his comeback and that's clearly where Sahara wants to position itself: as the new Indy. It's entertaining enough for a single watch, but is ultimately damned to obscurity by its own mediocrity.
Director: Breck Eisner
Running time: approx. 119 minutes
© Copyright SWSt 2008
Above average but only just. Penny Cruz is woefully underused in this movie. What's the point of casting a hot lady like her and then really playing down her sexuality. Matt M isn't really action enough to be a Navy Seal and neither is his mate. His friend is such a bad shot, he's supposed to be a SEAL? Navy Seals everywhere should be boycotting this movie in droves. The bad marksmanship, the inability to leopard crawl and kitten crawl as neither of the 2 so-called Seals knew how to keep their asses down.
I felt like I was watching someone attempt to try and answer National Treasure or beat the new Indy Jones film to the box office, if that was the case then they failed in both respects. Its a bit of exploration with an enviromental message, a lot of mindless action and hardly any good use of possibly THE sexiest actress in existance. It's hard to believe Clive Cussler had anything to do with this movie at all but if people catch that the lead character is called Dirk Pitt the only reason they might know his name is from the movie "Raise The Titanic".
Why were they even bothering to try and fire cannons that hadn't been used in over 100 years. The cannons were more likely to have exploded than to have actually fired. The inability of the guy in the back of the jeep to hit a helicopter (doesn't everyone know that even the Vietcong could shoot down helicopters with one shot but this elite Navy Seal can't even hit such a big target), also that he didn't know how count rounds in a magazine. Every serviceman is taught to avoid the so-called "dead mans click". The end of this was rubbish. I figure it'd lead to a sequel though, the end just feels like it will.
First off, I will say that if you're for a bit of fun and adventure and not after a truly believable or solid plot, then this is the film for you. Two hours or so of action with some cheesy acting, the odd occasion of raw comedy and a dash of romance is enough to keep you going. I, for one, enjoyed it, because that is all I was expecting, and that is all I got.
In 1865, an ironclad ship called Texas was lost. Shoot forward to the present day, and Master Explorer Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) is on a mission to find the Texas, aided by long-suffering friend Al Girodino (Steve Zahn). Along the way, the pair rescue UN Doctor Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz) who is investigating the suspicious deaths of thousands of Africans, and when a link between the two appears possible, they join forces in searching for the ship. However, they are not alone, and have managed to make more than one enemy!
The film is based on the novel by Clive Cussler, and the author's hero, Dirk Pitt, has featured in many of his books as a kind of new age cross between Indiana Jones and Ben Gates from National Treasure. McConaughey does well here, and gives us a cheesy rendition of an action hero with a bit of an ego. He does the dumb action hero thing very well. Cruz is okay as Rojas, but the character doesn't really do much other than supply a bit of romance and give Pitt a reason to be a hero. Zahn is a delight as Giordino, and is hilarious. The actor does excellently, as does Lennie James as villain General Kazim. Strong support from Delroy Lindo and William H Macy are backed up by decent performances from the rest of the cast.
The scenery is amazing, especially in the desert, and the camera crew do their jobs very well. There is an air of excitement running through the entire film, and director Breck Eisner does very well in creating an adventurous atmosphere. So, why did it flop? The was relatively unsuccessful at the box office, grossing less than expected to return a financial loss for the film. It was intended to be the first in a long line of films featuring Cussler's hero Dirk Pitt, but legal issues between the author and the producers caused a script change and a feeling of bad blood, which perhaps affected it somewhat.
Ultimately, they spent a lot of money making a fun film, and didn't get a return for it. I remember it coming out at the cinema, and thinking I definitely want to see it but I'll wait for it to come out on DVD before doing so. That's the type of film it is. It doesn't lower its quality for me, it's just not the sort of thing I would go to the cinema to watch.
So, a dose of comedy, a decent adventure plot, and a whole heap of action. Even if its 2 hours or so are a bit too long, thbis is still a fun film to watch. Don't analyse it too much, you'll stop yourself from enjoying it. Just sit back with a beer and have fun.
Sahara is the 2005 film directed by Breck Eisner
Marine salvage experts Dirk and Al travel to Mali in search of a lost civil war Ironclad ship, storing a mysterious cargo. After stopping the assassination of Doctor Eva Rojas from the world health organization, Dirk ends up taking the doctors to Mali in aid of their search to find a mysterious pollutant that is casing a plague that is about to sweep through continental Africa.
It is up to Dirk, Al and Eva to find the Pollutant before it reaches the ocean, killing all marine life, whilst discovering the ironclad ship on their way.
# Matthew McConaughey -- Dirk Pitt
# Steve Zahn -- Al Giordino
# Penélope Cruz -- Eva Rojas
# Lambert Wilson -- Yves Massarde
# Clint Dyer -- Oshodi
# Lennie James -- General Kazim
# Delroy Lindo -- CIA agent Carl
# William H. Macy -- Admiral James Sandecker
This film is a lot better than I thought it would ever be. The normally wooden acting of McConaughey has been replaced by great acting, accompanied greatly with the sarcastic humour of Steve Zhan. The storyline is slightly far fetched, a civil war ship that has travelled across the ocean, only to be stranded in the now baron Sahara desert. There are some interesting facts in this film, which makes it all the more believable. The humour is quite funny, and the action scenes are full of suspense. The way the sub plots (Finding the pollutant, finding the ship) coincide seamlessly well. The way that Eva (Cruz) branches off to find the pollutant whilst dirk and Al go off to find the ship, only to meet up later in the film to help each other works extremely well. This film was based on a book of the same name by Clive Cussler. The film was overshadowed slightly by the legal action taken by Cussler against the producer for not keeping him in the loop. Before the legal action there was plans to make more films based on Cussler's novels, but these have now come to a halt.
A really enjoyable film, that I have had no problem watching again and again with out boredom.
This 2005 release is a highly entertaining action/adventure spree that attempts to weave together several seemingly random threads. Dirk Pitt is National Underwater Marine Agency's current golden boy. He heads Admiral James Sandecker's crew as they seek out and recover artifacts of all sorts that have been lost in the Seas of the world."Al" Algiers Girodino is Dirk's longtime pal and right hand man who handles the grunt work of running the machinery or demolition, and Rudi Gunn evens these two out by handling the science and computer end of things. Together they make a successful, if unconventional, team.
While searching for treasure in the River Niger, they cross the paths of two World Health Organization doctors, Eva Rojas and Frank Hopper, who are trying to find the source of what they very much fear will be a virulent plague of unimaginable proportions. As if searching for the source of this terrible disease wasn't motivation enough, Dirk firmly believes this is his best opportunity to find his personal 'holy grail'. He stands alone in believing that, somehow, a US Confederate ironclad ship made it across the ocean to end up stranded somewhere in the Sahara with the "last" of a rare series of Confederate golden dollars that never quite surfaced during or after the Civil War.
Imagine their surprise when Al finds ancient paintings in a cave that depict an infamous "Ship of Death" that looks, undeniably, like an ironclad vessel! Is the ship the source of this mysterious illness? Profits are rolling in for two unlikely power-hungry business partners, Yves Massarde and Mali's current dictator, General Kazim, who will go to any lengths to protect their secret.
Will our heroes find and eliminate the source of this plague before it's too late for the world? Will they find the lost ironclad and reveal its long-hidden treasures? The adventure unfolds as we eagerly await these answers!
A Look at the Cast:
Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz): Cruz fulfills her role here, although I didn't feel that it was particularly challenging. She plays an intelligent, resourceful, confident woman in a unique job under unusual circumstances. More brain than brawn, she is, none the less, willing to give it her all when attempting things like leaping from a galloping camel onto a moving train. Cruz is believable, if somewhat uninspiring.
Algiers "Al" Girodino (Steve Zahn): Zahn is good at funny and he doesn't let me down here. He delivers lines with timing and wonderfully realistic cheerful sarcasm. Maybe its the impish twinkle that can be seen in the corner of his eye even during "serious" moments, but I find his humor infectious. Humor is always an excellent combination with action, and Zahn did a good job of convincing me he could take on the challenges of action with equally solid results. I look forward to seeing Zahn break out of his "comedic sidekick"' mold and perhaps taking the spotlight in a future film.
Admiral James Sandecker (William H. Macy): One of my favorite actors at the moment, Macy seems to be adept at anything he takes on. He gives us a believable, if simplistic, performance here as the commander of this odd little treasure-seeking group. He has a couple of good lines, but I certainly don't feel that this is his best or most challenging role.
Dr. Frank Hopper (Glynn Turman): A good actor with a wealth of TV experience, it's about time he started to get some film roles. I'm curious to see how he will branch out in this medium. His role here was utterly believable if relatively brief, and he offers solid support to the other actors while on screen.
General Kazim (Lennie James): As soon as this character appeared on the screen, I kept thinking the same thing..."Is that Sol from Snatch?!" Yes, yes it is. After getting over that, I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how well James portrayed the stereotypical cold-hearted dictator. He has his agenda and he does not hesitate to take what he wants when he wants it. This was such an excellent contrast to his role in the more comedic "Snatch", that he left me wondering what he might do with a truly juicy dramatic role.
Yves Massarde (Lambert Wilson): This native of France has a fondness for villainy which serves him well here, but doesn't even come close to his perfection as the Merovingian. I'm sure US audiences will be seeing more of this actor, I just hope he doesn't get caught in a pigeonhole. I understand he has an excellent baritone singing voice as well which might make for some interesting roles in the future. He has a wonderfully rich speaking voice and would do excellent narrative or voice-over work as well.
Rudi Gunn (Rainn Wilson): This actor is most likely better known for his TV roles on "The Office" and "Six Feet Under". His name didn't ring any bells with me when I looked at the credits, but his face was so familiar that I had to figure out what work I had seen him in before. I'm not much for TV myself, but finally tracked him down as one of the interviewers in the hilarious "America's Sweethearts". He has a wonderful comedic timing and I look forward to seeing more of this actor as he breaks out of television.
Dirk Pitts (Matthew McConaughey): This actor is a natural choice for the romantic hero lead and he doesn't disappoint. I enjoyed his first fight scene in this film more than I expected and found McConaughey's easy-flowing charm, steady confidence, and ready wit to be perfect for this character. I'm sure half a dozen actors could have filled the role just as easily, but McConaughey makes it his own and wears it like a favorite t-shirt.
Final Thoughts on the Film:
It's Action, so I really don't' expect much in the way of Depth either from the writing or the acting. I do expect it to be entertaining and I Always hope they will move away from the typical action cliches. This film most definitely entertained me, but I have to say that I still found the inclusion of such action cliches as "never-ending" bullets, equipment that works in impossible conditions or after over 100 years to be really irritating. And while the notion of Confederate ironclad in the Sahara is intriguing, it simply isn't plausible.
While the (rather large list of) screenwriters did manage to avoid the "endless" count-down bit, they still had the "just escaped the huge explosion Despite the fact that I'm carrying explosives" scene, which just glares out as a flaw, in my opinion. The very Best action or action/adventure either a. finds creative but acceptable explanations for situations that arise or b. refuses to take part in such tired cliches. Really, after you have seen James Bond do the same thing half a dozen times, there isn't much entertainment left in it!
That being said, I came away from this particular film feeling satisfied. I was entertained, I laughed, I pondered, and most importantly I got caught up in the story and characters enough to care whether they lived or died. There are interesting concepts with enough plausibility for an action/adventure film, plenty of humor, a decent amount of explosions, and engaging characters that are well delivered. When all is said and done, this is a pretty well-rounded adventure film with appeal for both men and women, as well as being suitable for a pretty wide age-range. I could see this appealing to children younger than 13 if they have a suitable interest or attention span.
Everyone in "Sahara" seems to know that they are doing an Action/Adventure and they don't take it any more seriously than we, the viewers, really should, which is evident in much of the dialog. At one point, two of the main characters actually say, "There's no way that should've worked!", for which I found I just had to give up a reluctant chuckle. If you don't take this genre too seriously and are looking for something entertaining, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Sahara. This is the film that "National Treasure" wanted to be.
Some Favorite Lines in Parting:
Rudi: "..I never took a survival course!"
Dirk: "Well, consider this it."
Al: "It's sorta Pass/Fail, which I always feel is easier."
Dirk: "What do you do if you're about to be exposed as the biggest polluter in modern history?"
Al: "I don't know, run for president?"
Al: "Hey Dirk! Where are we headed?"
Dirk: "Hell if I know... but we're making great time!"
Rudi: "Sir, I have some bad news about your boat......(makes explosion noise)"
Dirk Pitt, adventurer and former Marine, has long held an ambition to find a battleship that disappeared in the Sahara, a relic of the Civil War. He sets off to find it with best friend Al Giordino in tow. But the path of a true adventurer is never straightforward. On the way, he meets a UN doctor, Eva Rojas, who believes that an epidemic killing thousands of West Africans may have a human explanation. Certainly, an African warlord seems intent on seeing them out of the country. Will Dr Rojas be able to prove the source of the epidemic? And will Pitt and Giordino find their battleship?
Based on a book by Clive Cussler that I have never read, I didn't really have much of an idea of what this film would be about; I was encouraged to watch it simply because of Penelope Cruz. As Eva Rojas, she gives a reasonable performance, but I wasn't particularly bowled over. In some ways, Eva is a means to an end - she is in the film because Dirk needs to save someone - and there is very little chance to get to know her. She could have been played by almost any A-list or even B-list actress, and I wouldn't really have noticed the difference. And as for the chemistry between her and Dirk - well, there is none - watching them cavort in the sea together reminded me of watching a brother and sister messing around.
I am not the hugest fan of Matthew McConaughey. He has played some pretty stupid roles, especially in Failure to Launch and How to Lose a Guy..., and I don't find him attractive. As Dirk Pitt, he is incredibly cheesy. I think this is deliberate, although not having read the book, it is hard to be sure. In any case, I didn't like him. He looks the part of an adventurer - all rippling muscles and untamed hair - but I felt nothing for him and therefore his mission. In fact, his only saving grace is his friend, Al Giordino, played by Steve Zahn. As the amusing sidekick, Zahn did manage to capture my attention. Shame Eva Rojas didn't have the sense to go for him.
Lennie James makes a good baddie, all sneers and grimaces. He looked like he was enjoying himself anyway. One of my favourite actors, William H Macy appears as Pitt's superior, but sadly has no more than a few lines. Shame because I think he could have brought this film a touch of class that none of the other actors managed to bring.
Plot-wise, I think it may have been a disadvantage to have not read the book. The film begins at the time when the battleship went missing, before skipping forward to Eva Rojas and her epidemic. The problem was, I didn't understand the significance of the battleship, or why the heck it was supposed to be in the middle of the desert. If it was explained, then I missed it. To be honest, I really couldn't give a thump anyway. The epidemic tale was a bit more interesting to begin with, although by the time it has combined with the battleship story, I was beginning to lose the thread again. Thousands of people were dying before my very eyes and...I just couldn't bring myself to care all that much.
There is a fair amount of action - in fact there is more action than anything else - and it was this that stopped me from switching the film off completely. There are a couple of stunning scenes where Al and Dirk escape from a lorry while still attached to part of it, then rescue an old plane and somehow make it take them across the desert. The way it is done, with great energy and comedy from Zahn, made great entertainment. Unfortunately, it was not enough to pull this film up by its bootstraps.
There is a rating of 12 on this film - I think because of the death that the epidemic brings, although it isn't all that graphic.
I suspect that this film is a bit of a boy's own adventure thing and that, as such, it was never going to be my cup of tea. Even so, I do enjoy the odd action film, but this one was just not good for me. I really didn't care much for any of the characters and was really beginning to lose the will to live towards the end of the film, which was way too long at over two hours. I've read some good reviews and appreciate that others had a different experience, but this one was not for me. Not recommended. I would rather stick red hot pins in my eyes than have to sit through this again. Except maybe for the odd shot of Steve Zahn.
The DVD, if you must buy it, is available from play.com for £5.
Running time: 124 minutes
Adventure Has A New Destination
Sahara, a rip-roaring action adventure in the style of Indiana Jones and the more recent National Treasure, is based on the characters from Clive Cussler's best selling Dirk Pitt novels. In fact the legend "A Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt Adventure" appears in the opening credits. Dirk Pitt previously appeared in the dismal box office failure "Raise The Titanic" back in the 70's and hasn't been seen since, not surprising really as it was an awful film. In fact it was such an unmitigated disaster that producers and film companies were probably scared off doing another adaptation of a Cussler book, but in the synchronistic was Hollywood seems to function Sahara must have been in production at the same time as National Treasure and was possibly even picked up because of the similarities. Inside info always seeming to influence what a film company will green light for production.
The opening pre credit sequence sets the scene and is comparable to the opening of National Treasure. A flashback to a part of American history and a ship steaming through waters, this time though it is a Confederate Ironclad (one of the first battleships).
The Ironclad, Texas, disappeared amid controversy and mystery, never to be seen again. Only rumours from sailors of a great iron beast crossing the Atlantic offering any clue as to what happened to the ship and its crew.
Modern day Africa, World Health Organisation (WHO) Doctors Eva Rojas & Frank Hopper are convinced that a plague is stating to spread, a vicious death dealing illness that is killing of whole villages. More and more villages are being affected and the two of them are convinced that the diseases progress shows that it started in Mali, Due to the unstable nature of the country and its ruler, General Kazim violent nature of dealing with outsiders (WHO having already lost people in the country) they are not allowed to enter the country to investigate.
Pitt and his NUMA (National Underwater Marine Agency) colleagues are also in Africa, bringing up an ancient African relic form the depths of the sea for the local government.
While there he hears from a contact of his, a 'dealer' in artefacts that he acquires from unknown 'sources', that there is something that Pitt should come and see. Pitt soon finds out that what he has in the one lost Confederate gold coin minted by the Confederacy. Only a small number where known to have been minted and only one is missing, the one held by the captain of the missing Ironclad!
Pitt has always wanted to find out what happened to the ship and this is his chance to confirm his theory that it did sail the Atlantic and reach Africa! Did the Ironclad have its final resting place in the once fertile deserts of Mali?
Bartering with his boss, Admiral Sandecker, Pitt and his best friend and colleague Al Giordino manage to finagle 48 hours to go and search for the Confederate ship. The condition is that they take the two WHO doctors with them into Mali. Once there the doctors will investigate the plague while Pitt searches for the ship.
After going there separate ways both groups soon find themselves drawn back together as they investigations lead them in the same direction, to something even more dangerous than they could have imagined!
How involved is the General in all this and what does the French businessman have to do with it all? In fact how can Pitt and Al survive once they uncover what is going on?
Sahara is a fun action adventure, as I said it is very reminiscent of National Treasure but is less frantic and fast paced, there is a lot of action but there is a least the bare bones of a good story to it as well and at least it does have some characterisation as well! Seeing as Sahara is based on a long running series of novels I guess this should come as no surprise though.
In fact for readers of the books the actual credit sequence at the start of the film is a treasure trove of memories. As the credits roll the camera pans across the office/room of Dirk Pitt, revealing, a room packed with bits and pieces. The wall covered with press cuttings based on previous adventures (documented in the books). You see a number of old car models in little nooks, Pitt's love of these ancient automobiles often turns up in the books. These mean nothing much to the average viewer but make to someone who has read the books it is a very nice touch, and this is coming from someone who hasn't read a great deal of the novels!
The first meeting of Pitt and Rojas is a stupendous piece of directing and editing. As Pitt charges up the beach to help out Rojas we flow into a fight scene that is one of, if not THE, most originally shot fight I have scene for years. The camera angles, the blurred viewpoint and even the sound are just superb. If this originality could have been used throughout the film then this would have been a five starrer! Originality is not easy to accomplish these days, especially in a fight scene but this fight is worth seeing.
The story is okay but not great, I have a feeling that there was a lot cut out form the book. If you are paying attention closely you can intuit that there is stuff missing. A lot of characterisation seems to be missing, especially with the bad guys. They are too much of an enigma, not enough detail in explaining anything about them at all. You don't really feel the threat they are supposed to offer to the heroes. I would think that it was there but possibly cut out for length purposes. The film is worth seeing if you like a good action packed ride, it certainly fulfils that criteria but doesn't really do much more than that. As the saying goes it is a switch of your brain, sit back and just go with it kind of film!
To me Matthew McConaughey is a perfect Dirk Pitt, he has the rugged good looks, the charm and you could believe he was a sea faring man. From my point of view he fitted my image of Pitt very well.
The same goes for Rudy and Sandecker. William H. Macy makes a good Sandecker, though I had an image of him being a larger man. Rudy seems a little young but Rain Wilson plays him well, he didn't seem wrong for the part.
Steve Zahn is the problem though. He is very good in this film; in fact he is better than that. I love Zahn's comedy style and he makes a lot of this film, but he doesn't even come close to fitting my image of Al. I guess I may have to read a book again to remind myself of his description but I always thought of Al being a man of big build. But hey this doesn't really matter cos if you haven't read the books Zahn is great!
Penelope Cruz though is, as usual, an enigma. She coasts through the film doing very little other than being the love interest and putting in a few explanations of medical terms. I felt that there were any number of actresses who could have made something of the part, something Cruz certainly didn't.
Clive Cussler writes adventure novels. Between 1973 and 2006 he has written 19 books in the Dirk Pitt series.
Dirk Pitt is hybrid of James Bond, Jack Ryan and Indiana Jones. In the books Pitt works as a marine engineer and he is also a government spy.
This film is from the 1992 book Sahara written by Cussler, film came out in 2005. Pitt is played by Matthew McConaughey.
Pitt travels to Mali to search for confederate warship CSS Texas, apparently the ship was lost during American civil war, Pitt is interested because the ship is laden with gold. He locates the ship, the locals call the ship "The Ship of Death", I can't explain this further because this bit is part of the plot.
Pitts discovery has to wait because he has to help a beautiful female doctor Eva Rojas (Penélope Cruz). She falls foul of the local dictator.
Sahara is similar to Indiana Jones and James Bond films. in this film you have megalomaniacal villain, lost treasure and one beautiful woman. It is quite a physical film however I don't think it is in the same league as the best of Bond films or any of Indiana Jones films. I lay the blame with poor casting and lacklustre script.
Amazon.co.uk has this film on sale for only £5.97. This is quite a bargain as the original price was £19.99 and the package comes in three DVDs.
* Actors: Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, Steve Zahn
* Format: Anamorphic, Dubbed, PAL
* Language English
* Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
* Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
* Number of discs: 1
* Classification: 12
* Studio: Paramount Home Entertainment (UK)
* DVD Release Date: 22 Aug 2005
* Run Time: 119 minutes
* DVD Features:
o Main Language: English
o Available Audio Tracks: Dolby Digital 5.1
o Sub Titles: English, Italian, Spanish
o Dubbed Language(s): Italian, Spanish
* ASIN: B000A3DB7G
The leading characters of this film embark on an adventure in search of a ship's treasure. Their journey takes them through Africa in search of what the local people refer to as the Ship of Death: a lost Civil War battleship that may contain the valuable cargo.
The screenplay of Sahara tells two connected stories: Eva Rojas is searching for a cure to a mysterious disease while a group of adventurers are on a quest for lost treasure. Unfortunately these two storylines remain rather disjointed throughout the whole of the film. One plot strand is continuously being discarded for the other and this leaves a huge gap in the film where the treasure hunt is conveniently forgotten about until its reintroduction near the end of the film. The plot of the movie in general borders on the ridiculous as characters appear from one scene to the next without any link up or explanation. The opening civil war scene seems totally unnecessary.
I accept that the director has tried to make a film that is intended as a piece of high action entertainment that will no doubt leave many feeling satisfied but there are no complex clues and convoluted plots to take you through the movie. There are though plenty of stunt sequences, big guns and the obligatory helicopters piloted by nasty army blokes. This is an action adventure movie that's aimed at providing a form of escapism that is a popular reason for many to watch such movies, but I feel that Director Breck Eisner has made a poor attempt at an 'Indiana Jones' type film. The action for the most part is mindless and over the top and the film relies on humour that is not far from the worst that Hollywood produces. Even where it might succeed there is a sense of 'we've been there and done it before'. It's kind of a worn out trail; there are no original angles or themes taken up.
On a more positive note the cinematographer Seamus McGarvey has managed to produce epic vistas that contrast nicely with intimate close-ups of the main leads. There are also some nice desert sequences, particularly at sunrise and sunset. But despite this I feel that opportunities to explore the cultures of the African countries are missed and their local inhabitants are largely undervalued.
If all you seek is something undemanding where you can leave your brain in neutral, then perhaps you will enjoy this film. Sahara won't be on anyone's list of classic "must-see" films, but perhaps it will might fill a few hours of an otherwise boring night in.
Cast Matthew McConaughey, Penélope Cruz, Steve Zahn, Lambert Wilson, Glynn Turman
Director(s) Breck Eisner
Writer(s) Thomas Dean Donnelly, James V. Hart, Josh Oppenheimer, John C. Richards
Genre(s) Action, Adventure
Running Time 127 minutes
PG-13- for action violence
The dvd special features include a commentary by director Breck Eisner and Matthew McConaughey, three featurettes, deleted scenes (with optional audio commentary)
Video format: Widescreen anamorphic
Number of discs: 1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Hero in the film is Dirk Pitt, he works as a Marine Engineer, salvaging lost treasures from sunken ships. Dirk is a bit of an explorer. He is a former Navy Seal so knows how to defend himself in tight places.
When he hears of a ship full of gold stranded in the African Sahara. Dirk takes a team with him to find the gold.
In Mali he saves the life of a good looking doctor. She has uncovered something which is making the people in the village sick.
Dirk falls in love with her. He also helps her against some evil men.
This is a great action film. In some ways it is same as Indiana Jones. I like this film better because it is not made by Spielsberg. It is just an action film and there is plenty of that
DVD of this film is on sale at all the main outlets.
It took more than 25 years for another Clive Cussler novel to come to the screen after the financial and critical disaster of Raise the Titanic. Based on Cussler's oddly landlocked adventure, Sahara finds the author's hero, Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey)--a sort of all-American, high seas variation of James Bond--in Africa looking for a Confederate ironclad ship that impossibly might have ended up there. Soon he and his faithful sidekick Al Giordino (Steve Zahn) are lost in another adventure, discovering a deadly contaminate being tracked by a beautiful doctor (Penelope Cruz). The results are checkered: there's no one outstanding sequence, but the action is enjoyably varied, while the thrills are mild yet not bombastic or gratuitous. The cast are all adept in their roles, yet the only one who sparkles is the scene-stealing Zahn, cast against type; McConaughey, who also produced, knows he might be starting a franchise character and plays it safe. He's never as dangerous as Cussler's hero is on the page (except in his introduction), and in fact, the whole movie plays towards comedy, infused by a soundtrack of 70s FM radio monsters. Cussler fanatics may not like this lighter fare, especially with the archeological portion (a Cussler strong point) not fully embraced, but with a very, very likable cast and colorful settings, Sahara is a kindler, gentler action film that has all the elements in place for a better, more memorable franchise if anyone cares to attempt it. --Doug Thomas, Amazon.com