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Number of Reviews on MG: 1523
Deborah J Monshin
2005 - 3/5 - 127 Mins.
Director: Breck Eisner
Producer: Mark Abela, Stephanie Austin, Matthew McConaughey
Written By: Clive Cussler (Novel), Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, John C. Richards, James V. Hart
Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, Penelope Cruz, Lambert Wilson, William H. Macy, Delroy Lindo
Review by:
Official Site: www.saharamovie.com
   
This 2 hr epic adventure combines elements of Indiana Jones, James Bond and McGyver.

‘SAHARA’ opened with an explosive, high-octane beginning that fired you up for the rest of the film.
It starts with Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey) on a search for the mythical treasure onboard a Civil War iron clad ship that disappeared into thin air about 150 years before. Very ‘National Treasure,’ fine so far, I thought, looking forward to a good exploration/ adventure yarn.

Then, thanks to Dr Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz) and her co-worker Dr Hopper (Glynn Turman), we somehow find ourselves in the middle of an environmental moral message about the pollution of poor countries to benefit the ‘civilised’ western world. Ironically solar energy becomes the enemy when in the hands of greedy French businessman Massarde (Lambert Wilson), who incidentally does a very good turn as a bad guy whose is too emotionally weak to act on his tiny conscience.
So now Dirk & friends are off on a crusade to save the African nation single handed (well almost).

With more twists and turns than the Serpentine, this movie starts as a good adventure and then branches off in three different directions leaving you to ponder the tenuous links between the ludicrous storylines. The iron clad boat adventure takes a back seat, whilst the moral crusade rages: hints are made about the ‘death ship’ but like every good red herring, they come to nothing.

Cliché after cliché in the relationship between McConaughey and Cruz left the viewers in my screening laughing aloud. Someone should tell the director that the days of the helpless bimbo needing to be rescued at every turn are long gone. It was a tad disturbing to note how McConaughey’s character lifted Cruz up by the armpits as one might an 8-year-old child. If fact poor Penelope was treated as a headstrong child throughout most of the film, despite the fact that she was supposed to be a Doctor for the World Health Organisation-these women are made of sterner stuff! They do not require a beach bronzed, muscle bound diver to get them out of trouble. I’m all for a bit of romance, but this was a father daughter relationship, not one of equal lovers!

The effects were dynamic and beautifully executed. The windsurfing across the Sahara was a diamond of genius. The speedboat scenes beat any Bond stunt and there is a continuous element of surprise and ingenuity with the special effects throughout the movie.

This film could easily have cut half an hour without losing any relevant information. In particular the introduction to Dirk Pitt: although a good way to introduce the character and his friends without a lot of confusing dialogue, this quickly became boring and was unnecessary.

All in all the actors and Cruz turned out a good performance, especially Steve Zhan as the amusing sidekick. He certainly had the best lines. There is a very good working chemistry between Zhan and McConaughey that I would like to see further explored in a sequel.

Due to the level of shooting and general violence I felt this should really have been a 15 certificate.

If you like your adventures unchallenging and aren’t bothered about realistic plot lines, then this is an enjoyable romp through the desert.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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