DVD Reviews | Sep 5th, 2005

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Starring Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, Penelope Cruz, William H Macy, Delroy Lindo, Lambert Wilson, Glynn Turman, Rainn Wilson
Written By: Clive Cussler (novel), Thomas Dean Donnelly
Directed By: Breck Eisner
Studio: Paramount
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Based on the Novels of Clive Cussler, Matthew McConaughey stars as Dirk Pitt, the treasure hunting former Navy thrill seeker, who is on the hunt for a shipwrecked submarine in Northern Africa. There, he meets a WHO “World Health Organization” doctor/scientist (Penelope Cruz) Eva Rojas who is out to find the cause of an epidemic spreading across the region. With the help of Dirk’s friends Al (Steve Zahn) and Rudi (Zainn Wilson ‘The Office’), they end up on the ride of their lives as they move across Northern Africa on one wild, dangerous adventure.

Dirk Pitt, a former Navy serviceman, who loves adventure and thrill seeking, is on a life long mission to find an ancient submarine that was lost over a hundred years ago. In the meantime, Dirk and his friends Al and Rudi spend their time working with NUMA (National Underwater and Marine Agency.) There, they come into meeting with a WHO scientist, who is on track of what is causing an epidemic in the area. Serious indeed, Dirk agrees to help out the Doctor journey up the Niger river to where the epidemic might have originated. Dirk then discovers he has problems of his own, as Dirk and his buddies come under fire from troops in the region, which may belong to a West African warlord. Drawn back into helping out the Doctor and her colleague, Dirk and the gang end up on a world saving mission. Without even thinking twice, Dirk Pitt is drawn to the danger and severity of the situation. He knows what is right and what needs to be done, plus the Doctor is quite a looker. Not necessarily Indiana Jones, Dirk Pitt is a fun adventure type of movie character that is a pleasure to watch. It’s not exactly an Oscar caliber type film but it’s definitely a lot of fun to watch.

Extras on the disc featured a few good items. First you can check out Commentaries by first time Director Breck Eisner and Actor/Executive Producer Matthew McConaughey. Hear the typical as you listen and watch this commentary along with the film. Also check out 3 featurettes, Across the Sands of Sahara, Visualizing Sahara, and Cast and Crew Wrap Film. All three are very good insights into the film, and not too long which can be good and bad. The first featurette shows mostly cast and crew interviews and some on set footage. Visualizing Sahara is mostly about how the film was shot and storyboarded. From there, set up on the set and made it easier to plan the action sequences. Interesting and fun to see how they did certain effects and production elements. Last, Cast and Crew wrap film is a fun look all the people involved in the shoot and show how great it was on set, with the usual antics and problems with foreign locales like shooting in the desert. Plus, a few deleted scenes are included in special features to tide you over.

Matthew McConaughey is great as Dirk Pitt. He is compared to Indiana Jones because of his looks and the type of adventure/trouble he gets himself into. Not as strong as the Indiana Jones films but certainly is a fun film to check out. Steve Zahn also was a surprise in a different kind of role for him. To me, he is considered a scene stealer. Penelope Cruz was pretty much there to look good. Other than that, I was wasn’t too impressed. Breck Eisner, director for the first time, had me pleased. If he can make more popcorn flicks like this, then I will have no problem checking out his other future films. Sahara is a great Sunday afternoon film to take your mind away as you prepare to go back to that dreadful 9-5 job.

Commentary by Director Breck Eisner and Actor/Executive Producer Matthew McConaughey
3 Featurettes:
– Across the Sands of Sahara
– Visualizing Sahara
– Cast & Crew Wrap Film
Deleted Scenes (with Optional Commentary)

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 CC
ENGLISH: Dolby Digital Surround CC
FRENCH: Dolby Digital Surround

Widescreen 1.85:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish

Favorite Scenes: Boating on the Niger, Sailing across the desert, Ironclad in the sand.
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 123 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: