Sahara is a terrible action adventure film
which was released in the spring of 2005 by Paramount
Novelist Clive Cussler
wrote a book called Sahara, from whom this film is very loosely based, and he had attempted to sue to have the film stopped, after rejecting many previous drafts of the screenplay. Yes, there were multiple drafts of this film, and the end result was the culmination of those efforts. You'd think they woulda gotten it right after a few tries. Had the judge been able to SEE the film before deciding in favor of Hollywood
, the world would have been spared this treacherously pathetic attempt at an action adventure movie. Unfortunately that was not the case and I personally believe myself to be permanently scarred and traumatized by this slimly passable example of cinematic effort. Perhaps if I could get a lawyer, I could sue Paramount for mental anguish. I certainly could use the money.
Sahara has everything necessary for a successful blockbuster
. This explains why Sahara was number one in the box office its first weekend, with close to twenty million dollars in returns after being shown on well over three thousand screens nationwide. To wit: we moviegoers are pavlovian dogs
. We will go see any trite crap Hollywood throws at us, provided something blows up at least once every ten minutes. Cool looking vehicles going real fast and people shooting at one another helps too. If we can't get senseless acts of sex in our mainstream media
, we'll settle for senseless violence
. We suck. After watching this film, I'm beginning to reconsider my opinion about pornography
: could it be that the porn genre is preferable in quality to action adventure? I mean the porn industry
makes no bones about their plots existing solely to get people naked and on top of one another. In retrospect, I find I respect that attitude better than having a plot solely to get people trying to kill each other
Yet despite my own questionable taste in whether sex is better for humanity than violence
, the consumers
have spoken: Sahara is a film more worthy of their disposable income
than Guess Who
, Fever Pitch
, Beauty Shop
, or Miss Congeniality Two Armed and Fabulous
. This of course means nothing. I've seen home movies more worthy of spending disposable income than Sahara. However, how can Sahara possibly fail? It has Matthew McConaughey
as Dirk Pitt
(and what a name is that for your stereotypical leading man
huh?), a cross between Indiana Jones
and Randal Graves
, appearing to perform death-defying stunts and otherwise ignoring the laws of physics
while after treasure
, inadvertently saving the world in the process. It has Steve Zahn
as the predictably sarcastic and laconic sidekick
that doesn't know he's a sidekick. It has Penélope Cruz
who is admittedly masterful at pretending to be intelligent while gorgeous. It has the award-winning William H. Macy
, who spends what little screen time he has in this film looking as if he lost a bet. Directed by Breck Eisner
, son of Will Eisner
, this film was put together with training wheels
, and someone forgot to take them off before releasing the film.
This is cookie cutter cinema
. You got your girl. You got your gold. You got your chase scenes. You got your kickass soundtrack. You got your bad guys, who are so predictably greedy and power-hungry that I find myself bored even attempting to describe them. You got all these beautiful locations where the stories take place mostly because they're beautiful. You got all these soulful, suffering, innocent extras mulling about making you feel sorry for them. You got more one-liner
s and obvious jokes than a Jay Leno monologue
You got all these plot elements
which we've seen in countless other films including but not limited to the following:
1. a disease that will kill everybody unless you're wearing surgical gloves and a hospital mask (except for closeups because it obscures the well-paid Cruz's beautiful face),
2. a father-figure looking guy (Glynn Turman
) whose sole purpose in the film is to stand by the lead female ingenue (Cruz) until the writer decides he has to die to prove to the audience that the bad guys mean business.
3. a lost treasure which is vaguely researched for historical significance making one wonder blandly throughout the film how the American Civil War
has anything to do with the rest of the film: answer? Not much.
4. a lot of chase scenes, including one with boats. (!)
5. lots of things blowing up.
6. lots and lots of guns because they're so cool.
7. a romantic subplot
so unbelievably predictable it's insulting.
8. a train, because action movies should always have a train.
9. the bad guy's lair, complete with plenty of hiding places for the good guys and plenty of drug-induced comas for the contract-labor bad guy henchmen
10. a connect-the-dot linear plot structure
whose sole purpose is to keep the characters moving from one insanely predictable dillema to the next.
Of course the lead good guy knows how to fight in dramatic ways that make him look good without breaking a sweat. Of course the lead good guy puts together obscure clues and reaches for conclusions in much the same way as Batman and Robin
did in their sixties sitcom days. Of course the lead good guy is perfectly capable and ready for anything the bad guys throw at him, as if the bad guys were perfectly chosen to be just a little worse at everything than the lead good guy. Of course the lead good gal falls instantly in love with the lead good guy, but plays coy cuz she's got important saving-the-world-from-this-disease stuff to attend to, but we all know they'll eventually run to Monterey's Coast
and have lots of sex
after the film's over. Of course the lead good gal should be capable of saving herself because women are no longer damsels in distress
, but she lets the lead good guy save her repeatedly anyway because she wants him to think he's doing well.
Of course the lead good guy is financed by an insanely wealthy dude who still gets just a little upset when the lead good guy blows up his boat. Of course the sidekick who doesn't know he's a sidekick keeps losing his hat and isn't that funny not really. Of course the sidekick just happens to follow a ball he was kicking around until it just happens to stop bouncing when it lands where the script wanted the sidekick to end up. Of course the idea that an old boat loosely based off some Civil War historical references would end up in the middle of the Sahara and still have functionable weaponry and armor some hundred and fifty years later is completely unbelievable. This movie is intended to be brain-dead entertainment for the masses, so the people making the movie will make a lot of money. It's not supposed to make sense, that wouldn't be any fun would it?
So if you want your entertainment with a side order of a frontal lobotomy
, by all means check this one out. It's fun. It's also stupid. It's stupid fun
. Personally, I prefer my entertainment with a side order of at least veiled intelligence. Sahara wants to be the Romancing The Stone
of the 21st century, but barely qualifies for a Road Runner
cartoon. I would hesitate to not ruin the film for you, but the film ruined itself already so there's little more I can do here. Let me just end with this: one of the bad guys gets blown up in a helicopter, another bad guy falls off a cliff screaming to his death, and the third bad guy.. Well I honestly can't remember what happened to him but it was probably in some manner that would allow him to return for the sequel
. And God help us, there may very well be a sequel to Sahara, because it did make almost twenty million dollars its first weekend, and Hollywood is nothing if not tasteless