A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
Clive Cussler, who wrote the novel that inspired "Sahara," is said to have rejected untold drafts of the screenplay and sued Paramount over this one. One wonders not so much what Cussler would have left out as what else could have gone in. "Sahara" obviously contains everything that could possibly be included in such a screenplay, and more. It's like a fire sale at the action movie discount outlet.
Do not assume I mean to be negative. I treasure the movie's preposterous plot. It's so completely over the top, it can see reality only in its rear-view mirror. What can you say about a movie based on the premise that a Confederate ironclad ship from the Civil War is buried beneath the sands of the Sahara, having ventured there 150 years ago when the region was, obviously, damper than it is now?
Matthew McConaughey plays Dirk Pitt, the movie's hero, who is searching for the legendary ship. Dirk Pitt. Now that is a name. Dirk Pitt. Or Pitt, Dirk. Makes Brad Pitt sound like William Pitt. Dirk has a thing about long-lost ships; readers may recall that he was also the hero of "Raise the Titanic" (1980), a movie so expensive that its producer, Lord Lew Grade, observed, "It would have been cheaper to lower the ocean."
Dirk has a sidekick named Al Giordino, played by Steve Zahn in the time-honored Movie Sidekick mode. Was it Walter Huston who explained that movie heroes need sidekicks "because somebody has to do the dance." You know, the dance where the sidekick throws his hat down on the ground and stomps on it in joy or anger? You can't have your hero losing his cool like that.