In the opening scene of the movie, the camera sweeps across a series of newspaper clippings showcasing Dirk Pitt's accomplishments. If you watch closely you'll see two articles of note. One is an article about the raising of the Titanic. This is in reference to the Clive Cussler novel Raise the Titanic (1980) where Dirk Pitt brings the ship up (it was written several years before the real Titanic was found to be shattered beyond reach on the bottom of the ocean). The second article is about the discovery of the Oiseau Blanc. This plane was of French origin and was attempting to be the first plane to make a non-stop Paris to New York flight just weeks before Charles A. Lindbergh's successful journey. The plane left France and was never seen again, but several people in northern Maine claimed to have heard an airplane above the cloud cover at about the right time. Interestingly, in Cussler's "Sea Hunters II", he describes how he and his real-life NUMA team of volunteers went searching for the Oiseau Blanc in the forests of Maine, but were unable to find it. He suggests that it likely went down in a large bog. Note that Lindbergh's flight is often mistaken for the first transatlantic flight, his was the first 'solo' transatlantic flight and the first flight from New York to Paris non-stop, but the first transatlantic flight was Alcock and Brown in a WWI Vickers Vimy bomber in 1919, almost eight years before. A flight from Newfoundland to Ireland.
To hawk the movie, Matthew McConaughey crossed the country in his Ford pickup, hauling an Airstream trailer with Sahara (2005) advertising. He stayed at trailer campsites and visited baseball stadiums during spring training.
The dictator's antique car is a fiberglass replica of a 1936 C28 Avions Voisin built by D Tessier in Tours, France. Tessier is a well known restorer of Avions Voisin automobiles. Clive Cussler has a genuine 1936 Avions-Voisin, similar to the C28 that inspired the replica, in his Colorado museum. The chassis is 4WD with a 4.2 Jaguar engine and Rover gear box. It was designed by Steve Lamonby. The replica was completed in four months.
The ship used to portray the Martha Ann was one of the vessels Robert Ballard used to find the Titanic. The original Dirk Pitt film, Raise the Titanic (1980), was about finding and raising the behemoth cruise liner.
[Falling, swooping objects]
This occurs several times throughout the film - during the well scene with Eva Rojas's chemical flare and her associate's hat, as well as the helicopter landing pad light during the fistfight atop Massarde's solar energy plant.