I don't mind a bit of Cussler now and again. He writes entertaining if undemanding page-turners, that are perfect fare for a long flight or lounging around on a beach.
I was therefore curious to see how this Cussler yarn transferred to the big screen.
Well, Sahara is certainly undemanding - the goodies and boo-hiss baddies are all very clearly demarcated early on. It has to be said though that Matthew McConaughey as our hero Dirk Pitt, bears only a passing resemblance to Cussler's creation. In the novels, Pitt comes over as far more mature and with a hint of military or secret agent about him. Let's face it, Pitt is James Bond-lite. The designer-stubbled, longish haired medallion man that McConaughey gives us, simply didn't feel like Pitt and will probably annoy the Cussler purists no end!
No matter! Let's discuss the plot in some detail now. Pitt saves the world from environmental disaster, discovers a hoard of Civil War gold and gets the girl. Errrm ... that's about it!
Doesn't sound like much does it? And yet, the movie still kinda works, if you're in the right frame of mind. Just go with the flow and you will have to acknowledge that Sahara is beautifully filmed, amidst spectacular landscapes and with expertly selected dynamic camera angles. The high-speed boat pursuit and the action atop the solar tower, although somewhat derivative, were undeniably spectacular. The improbability of some of the stunts is such that they would probably make Indiana Jones gulp with disbelief! What the hell though - this has no pretensions to be oscar material and the 110 minutes flew past in a blur of sumptuous colours, action and amiable camaraderie between McConaughey and his wisecracking sidekick Steve Zahn.
Great rocking soundtrack too! Oh and Ms Cruz is certainly rather decorative!
If you don't expect too much, you may well be pleasantly surprised.