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I'm extremely perplexed at the lukewarm and especially the bad reviews
this one is getting from the professional critics, because my husband
and I both found it a very enjoyable romp. Yes, you have to suspend
your disbelief during some of the action sequences, but I don't
remember people complaining about the lack of realism in the Indy Jones
or "Romancing the Stone" series. The dialogue (especially the buddy
banter and William H. Macy's character) is amusing, the plot easy to
follow despite its complexities, and the action virtually nonstop. I
also found it refreshing for the sidekick to look like a doofus, but
actually more than hold his own during crunch time.
I can only assume the negative reactions are from fans of the book (I have never read any Clive Custler, so it may well depart from it in tone or otherwise.) But judged solely on its merits as a light-hearted adventure movie, it more than met my expectations.
I just saw this movie at the Philadelphia screening, and I'm going to
agree with the 8 star rating it has garnered so far. We all know the
formula for this sort of movie, and yes, Sahara does follow the formula
pretty closely, but it's enjoyable nonetheless.
It's an action movie, if that wasn't entirely clear. Simply put, if you like action movies, see this movie. If you don't, don't. The film follows our hero ex-marine treasure hunter Dirk Pitt and his friends through Africa as they uncover evil plots, fight bad guys, and search for treasure. While there aren't any surprising twists in the plot, I do admit that it was not completely predictable. The plot has enough originality in it to keep you watching. True to it's genre, the plot delivers plenty of action. It's not to stylized (Matrix) or epic (Lord of the Rings) but it won't let you down. The ending is just about as slam-bang as you'd expect, I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Dirk Pitt is played by Matthew McConaughey, who happened to speak before the movie was shown. Apparently he'd been involved in the movie as more than just an actor he is one of the executive producers, a role he takes seriously (he said he'd had the opportunity to produce other films but turned them down, not wanting to get involved in something unless he was really going to commit to actually working on it). McConaughey said that he'd been trying to get the role for seven years, and is quite pleased with the result. When asked if he planned to produce future movies, he gave a definitive "yes". He also hinted at the possibility of a sequel, if this movie does well, noting that there are sixteen more books by the author this script was based on.
McConaughey plays Pitt well. It's a pretty standard action-hero role. McConaughey's performance isn't particularly ground-breaking, but he throws the punches and delivers the lines with appropriate demeanor. My only complaint would be that he is a little too cool at times, given the stressful situations... but then again this movie wasn't made for realism. Al Giordino is Dirk's more technically minded buddy and co-adventurer. They've been friends since kindergarten, how sweet. Oh and you guessed it. Al is our comic-relief guy. Al is played by Steve Zahn, who delivers the comic relief character in a manner slightly less cliché than I was expecting. It just works a little better because he really does come off naturally as Dirk's long time friend, as opposed to some wise-ass who's just here for the ride. The chemistry between McConaughey and Zahn is very effective, as the previous reviewer pointed out. They really do appear more as two guys trying to get something done as opposed a hero and a side-kick. Also worth mentioning is Rainn Wilson who plays Rudi. Rudi is basically another comic-relief guy who has much less screen time then Zahn, but Wilson did a nice job. William H. Macy plays the commander type character, Dirks boss. Not Macy's best job in my opinion, it was a bit stilted but with some funny moments. Lambert Wilson, of Matrix fame (The Merovingian) stars as well. I was a little disappointed to see him early on in the film, cause it was one of those moments where I just knew that he was going to turn out to be a bad guy. He does pretty well, although he seems to be doing just a slightly toned-down version of the Merovingian here. Ah, and let's not forget Penélope Cruz. Our heroine, the W.H.O. doctor, does just fine in her role. One thing I have to say is that the inevitable hero / heroine romance is very effectively down-played. In fact, there really isn't too much romance in this film at all.
On the technical end of things, Sahara does fine. There aren't too many overwhelming special effects, but the effects there are come off completely realistically. The movie is shot beautifully, although it seemed like the entire thing was shot with extremely long lenses. I was glad to have my depth perception back at the end of the movie. The vistas of Morocco are quite nice, and there are some nice scenes in modern day African cities and towns that pick up quite nicely on camera. I got excited when I saw Clint Mansell's name in the opening credits as the music composer (he brought us the fabulous Requiem for a Dream piece, probably my favorite soundtrack song). In the end, the music wasn't much to talk about. The orchestral pieces were pretty bland (sorry Clint), and there were occasional bits of popular music that I found to be out of place (the inclusion of "Sweet Home Alabama" is particularly offensive in this regard, it's been in so many soundtracks, it even has it's own movie). There is some quite decent African music which is enjoyable.
The rating of PG-13 is appropriate. There is no nudity or anything, no serious profanities that I can remember, and the action is not gory or too bloody.
All in all, it's a fun movie. If you need heart-rending drama and a complex psychological plot, than you will probably not agree with my 8 star rating. This movie isn't going to win any awards, and will not become a favorite of serious film aficionados, but if you want to go out to the theater on a Saturday night with a bunch of friends, this will be one movie you can all agree on.
I'll admit I've missed a lot of action movies released recently,
because the subject matter didn't interest me all that much. The
advance press for /Sahara/, with its obvious links to treasure hunting
and to intrigue, led me to believe that I'd enjoy it more than, say,
recent Vin Diesel work. And I was right.
Dirk Pitt is an Indiana Jones for the modern day. But he's more. There's an edge, an extra quality of "can do" that helps carry the improbabilities of the plot nicely.
If you liked /Raiders of the Lost Ark/ or /Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade/, you should go see this picture.
Some violence, mostly of the shoot-'em up variety, often more implied than "in your face" (and that's a good thing). Definitely intelligent and thoughtful story line.
Matthew McConaughey (Dirk Pitt) is easy to watch. Steve Zahn (Al Giordino) is near perfect as his sidekick. Penélope Cruz (Eva Rojas) holds her own against the bad guys. William H. Macy (Admiral James Sandecker) is excellent in his role as well.
It's fun, and it's worth full price admission. What could be better than that?
By accident, I caught an advance screening of this movie last night in DC. I'd heard negative reviews, but thankfully did not let that cloud my judgment. The chemistry between Matthew McConaughey & Steve Zahn is palpable. I didn't think the chemistry between Penelope & Matthew sizzled, till the end. But since we all know now that they're together...I find it amusing. Good for them!! The location shots for this movie are phenomenal, esp Morocco. I'm bringing ALL my Moroccan friends to the movie when it is released. It's similar to National Treasure, but not as slick. There was more sarcastic humor throughout National Treasure, but there's great buddy chemistry in Sahara. I HOPE that Steve Zahn & Matthew McConaughey do a sequel or at least another movie together. This film is worth the price of full admission.
Bring on Dirk Pitt! Here is a movie that wants to have fun, the cast
wants to have fun. The audience ends up having fun. Steve Zahn is
hilarious. Matthew McConaughey handles the limited demands of his role
quite well. Penelope Cruz brings her ever-present charm and beauty to a
role which is notable for being one of the few action-adventure roles
written for a female that is not obnoxious in recent memory. You can't
take your eyes off William H. Macy whenever he is on screen in ANY
movie. He's that good.
It's kind of a Bond meets Indiana Jones film (I swear they used the same canyon from "Raiders of the Lost Ark") The villains are one dimensional, but who cares? We are here to follow the exploits of our heroes. If we have to suspend our disbelief, we do it willingly because we are grinning ear to ear.
As a fan of Clive Cussler I was pretty excited when I heard this movie
was being made. I went to see the movie with only two hopes. First that
I wouldn't be disappointed as I was with Hollywood's poor attempt at
"Raise The Titanic". And secondly as a loyal fan of Mr Cussler's books
(I have them all and read them all) joy at finally seeing Dirk, Al,
Rudi, and Sandecker all come to life.
I was not disappointed. The film makers did rearrange the story a bit (treasure hunters instead of the research scientists), Sandecker retired (not in his usual office at NUMA). They omitted a few details from the book (such as Lincoln being on the Texas and Kitty Mancock the pilot of the plane, and of course the scene in the book where the author himself appears) but overall I just LOVED this movie. It was packed with action and the chemistry between Dirk/Al was fantastic. I feel that all the actors played their respective parts great and it is my sincere hope that we will get to see these characters again.
I was pleasantly surprised to see how fun, fast-paced and witty this non-R rated movie came out. Beautiful scenery and Indiana Jones-like action mixed with humor and drama. Great film. I wish there were more films like this that lack the need for explicit sex, violence, drugs or swearing to get noticed. I believe strongly in movies that contain the aforementioned elements and are for adults; it's just sad to see few family films that don't involve animated cookie-cutter characters. Nice jobs by both Zahn and Cruz. The supporting characters were likable and not too cliché. Admittedly Zahn has fallen into a role of the crazy side-kick, but in this film I think he finally finds the balance of kooky and serious in the way a action movie "buddy" should.
It had been proposed by some that the only reason Eisner Jr. (Breck)
was allowed to make this film was his relationship with Eisner Sr.
(Michael). While there is no proof for such an argument either way,
Breck has proved to be not much worse than other directors. In fact he
did better than most and worse than some. Sahara is best described as a
typical entertaining adventure in the vein of Indiana Jones or perhaps
National Treasure. It has a tough good guy (McConaughey), a funny
sidekick (Zane) and admirable eye-candy (Cruz). Now I admit that most
things are quite shallow, but if you mix all of the above mentioned
ingredients with a decent story, good action sequences and throw in the
fact that there isn't one nanosecond of corniness in this movie, you
inevitably end up with a crowd pleasing blockbuster.
7,25 out of 10
I have watched this movie at least 5 times since it was released on video. It is one of the movies that is constantly entertaining. The soundtrack is great and I also agree that the chemistry between the actors was perfect. I would watch this duo again in another film. I'll put this movie on when I am cleaning the house or doing laundry. Every time I end up sitting down and watching most of it. As another viewer commented it is a lot like National Treasure(which I also give high mark). They are both easy to watch, they wrap things up nicely and leave you feeling like you went on the adventure! What else could you ask from a movie...
Sahara was a pretty good action movie in the same mold as Indiana
Jones, Tomb Raider & National Treasure. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it
probably would not have worked as well without the comedic duo of
Matthew McConaughey and Steve Zahn. Penélope Cruz pulled her weight as
well. She reminded me so much of Salma Hayek that I would swear they
Treasure Hunters Dirk Pitt and Al Giordino (McConaughey & Zahn) manage to get their hands on a rare confederate coin, apparently which only 5 were made. It would have made quite a collector's item. Dirk has a hunch on where the ship it had originated from is now and also has a theory on how it got there, in the middle of the desert. Dirk manages to convince his boss, Admiral Jim Sandecker (William H. Macy), to loan him his boat for 3 days to search for the missing ship.
Before they get going, they run into two W.H.O. workers, one of who was the beautiful Eva Rojas (Penélope Cruz). They need a ride and manage to get on board with Dirk and Al, but by doing so, they get the attention of an African dictator, who wants to stop them before they get too close.
There are quite a few action scenes and for what it was, I was entertained throughout the movie. More so than I would have though, which is why I waited so long to see it. Like I mentioned above, I do not think I would have enjoyed it as much without McConaughey. He added sort of a friendly charm to the movie and if that is not enough, Penélope Cruz should make up the difference.
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