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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Adventure > Sahara (HD-DVD)

Sahara (2005/HD-DVD)


Picture: B     Sound: B     Extras: C-     Film: D



After so many one-shot disasters that have usually bombed, Paramount took Matthew McConaughey and cast him into a would-be franchise based on Clive Cossler’s Dirt Pitt (what a name) character, but Sahara (2005) is so bad that it make all the Indiana Jones’ imitators of the 1980s look ambitious.  After watching this, someone owes Tom Selleck an apology about something in this area.  Unlike those imitators of the past that at least tried to have some ambition and energy, this turkey directed by Breck Eisner has such a lack of energy that its action sequences seem constantly forced.


Pitt is joined by the wiseguy buddy (Steve Zahn) who you are supposed to like but will want to see him get crushed by a camel instead.  Then there is “the girl” (Penelope Cruz) who is supposed to be a doctor, but is eventually relegated to the same “bimbo” status without acting like one.  In the desert, you can get quickly dehydrated and the script (by no less than five writers) is so empty of heart, soul and ideas that “drought” is the only word to describe it.  McConaughey could and should do better, but he just keeps getting stuck in these awful package deals.  Needless to say, no sequel as been announced.  If anyone tells you this film is good, just tell them they are suffering a mirage!


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image is not bad, but the look by cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, A.S.C., is often absurd and tries to make Lawrence Of Arabia look like (along with the bad editing and digital manipulation) the worst possible combination of a video game and Music Video.  It constantly amazes me how phony the location shooting is and how the digital makes the open space look fake.  The Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes are also on the gimmicky side, with very little imagination in the design, but plenty of nonsensical explosions and gunshots on occasion with Clint Mansell’s “this is an adventure blockbuster” score.  The combination is better than the standard DVD, but ironically, the fidelity actually brings out more of the fakeness of this mess.  Extras include the trailer in HD, two rambling full-length audio commentaries, six featurettes and deleted scenes with the option of more rambling audio commentaries.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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