.

Sahara

Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz, William H Macy, Steve Zahn, Lambert Wilson

Directed by Breck Eisner
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 2
Community: star rating
5 2 0
April 7, 2005

An ironclad battleship, lost since the Civil War, is found in the Sahara desert by explorer Dirk Pitt (Matthew McConaughey), who uses the ship's ancient cannons to defend himself, his Italian buddy Al Giordino (Steve Zahn) and Dr. Eva Rojas (Penelope Cruz), the babe scientist they just happen to have on board. The enemy is the African dictator (Lennie James) who is now strafing them from his chopper.

That cool scene and others like it — a nifty chase in a high-tech speedboat that Pitt borrows from an admiral (William H. Macy) — persuades you to cut Sahara some slack. First-time director Breck Eisner — yes, he is the son of Disney chairman Michael Eisner — keeps the pace zippy, the lulls short and the actors from bumping into each other. OK, you could wish for the sly wit of Raiders of the Lost Ark and dialogue that doesn't give you Indy-gestion. Fans of novelist Clive Cussler — Sahara is the eleventh of his eighteen Pitt best sellers — are bound to be wary. Cussler, 73, is still miffed that Hollywood botched Raise the Titanic, the 1980 film flop with Richard Jordan as Pitt.

McConaughey, despite alarmingly orange makeup, does justice to the role, a hard-drinking, shipwreck- hunting senator's son with a 007 way with the ladies. There's a lot of Pitt in Cussler, who has discovered more than sixty shipwrecks and ted the National Underwater and Marine Agency, the nonprofit group that Pitt works with in the movie. Zahn, despite looking and sounding more like a surfer dude than the book's brawny Italian stallion, pushes for laughs and gets them. And Cruz, despite her still-indecipherable English, gets in more fem-warrior licks than Cussler ever wrote for the doc. Subplots abound involving slavery, gold and nuclear-waste pollution on its way to the U.S. But there's no disguising the fact that Sahara has all the heft of marshmallow.

prev
Movie Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Whoomp! (There It Is)”

    Tag Team | 1993

    Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com