By: The Dweeb



DVD Features

Video: 2.40:1 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1

Commentary by Director Breck Eisner
Commentary by Director Breck Eisner and Actor/Executive Producer Matthew McConaughey
3 Featurettes
Deleted Scenes

Theatrical release: 4/04/2005
DVD released on 8/30/2005 by Paramount Pictures
Running time of 123 minutes

Starring: Penelope Cruz, Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn

Director: Breck Eisner

Plot: Master explorer Dirk Pitt goes on the adventure of a lifetime of seeking out a lost Civil War battleship known as the “Ship of Death” in the deserts of West Africa while helping a UN doctor being hounded by a ruthless dictator.



Wow, before you know it, the ride comes to an end, leaving one breathless. Where am I? Hold on a sec, let me catch my breath. Okay, I’m done now. Sahara, sounds pretty hot and dry there doesn’t it? I think have some sand in my shoes somewhere. Oh wait, we’re talking about the movie right? Almost forgot, on topic then. Sahara, as the ad copy might say on the posters “Is a WILD THRILL A MINUTE RIDE”. Yes, yes it is. The Clive Cussler Dirk Pitt adventure starring Matthew McConaughey is indeed quite the action/adventure film with this Indiana Jones like quality.

I was expecting another dud like National Treasure but this flick is pretty good surprisingly. Aside from the ridiculous premise about some polluting French business man ( played by Lambert Wilson) the story is quite compelling. Maybe they could have cut out that side story and focused on the Civil War treasure hunt the whole time, forget trying to make some sort of political statement on global pollution or whatever. Of course then there would be no role for Penelope Cruz, there has to be a girl in the film right? Her role is somewhat diminished and I think she served originally as someone to kiss at the end of the film.

I think what makes the film enjoyable, besides the constant clobbering of the bad guys is the witty banter between Dirk (Matthew McConaughey) and his pal Al (Steve Zahn). Obviously they had great chemistry to begin with so the constant zinging seemed a natural part of the daily conversation. While being shot at, they still manage some wisecracks driving 80 mph through the desert. “What took you so long?” “I stopped for coffee!” “Did you get a receipt?” “Yeah I got a receipt!” You just don’t see this kind of stuff much anymore. I smiled often during the film, something I don’t do much of usually.

The film is setup in such a way to give the appearance that this kind of thing happens all the time in Dirk Pitts life. How often does one go looking for a civil war era iron clad in the middle of the Sahara right? The action was almost non stop, and the best was the speed boat chase down the river. Dirk must get into trouble often with his boss Admiral Sandecker (William H Macy) for destroying his things, much like James Bond and Q . There is probably a good backstory in there somewhere.

The DVD package put out by Paramount contains no surprises. It is the standard single disc release with a decent transfer. Picture and sound are good, and I like the use of the classic rock to give it this vibe that no orchestral score could create. There are two commentary tracks and the usual assorted fluff documentaries on how they made the film as well as deleted scenes. From all the joking around it seemed more like a high school reunion than a huge movie production. Nothing else really noteworthy as I said, just the standard fare.

Yes, I am as surprised as you are that I like the film as much as I do. For this, I will have to say give it a rent and break out the popcorn.

Reviewer’s Opinion: RENT IT!!

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