While the trailer for "SAHARA" had the feel of "NATIONAL TREASURE", the actual film lacks the pacing that made "NT" so much fun. Sure, there are some really fun moments, but they're few and far between. A cast featuring William H. Macy, Matthew McConaughey and Steve Zahn deserves a better script! McConaughey stars as Dirk Pitt, a hero created by Clive Cussler, and probably best known for "RAISE THE TITANIC".
Pitt is a global adventurer, looking for hard-to-find, priceless treasure. This time out, Pitt is looking for a famous ship from the Civil War that has seemed to resurface somewhere in the desert. The plot widens to include the WHO investigating a plague with the potential of wiping out Africa, so that Penelope Cruz can join in on the adventure. She's ok, but ultimately just "ok". This part is serviceable by any actress and there are plenty others that would've been better than she is here.
Perhaps most frustrating, is the fact that "SAHARA" has moments that are great and then longer moments where nothing seems to happen. It really needed some editing to be a much better film. Still, even with its uneven pacing, it's far better than most adventure films of the past year.
PARAMOUNT has preserved the film's 2.35:1(16:9) aspect ratio. Colors are solid and often vibrant. It's a great transfer. The exotic locations, and even the sand, offer great detail. Contrast is perfect.
PARAMOUNT has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. It's an aggressive mix with numerous panning/discrete effects. While there are moments wherein the effects can overshadow dialogue, it's ultimately an impressive mix. Bass is used effectively during explosion scenes, of which there are many.
There are two commentaries offered, one with the film's director, Eisner, and another with the director and McConaughey. The 2nd is preferred, offering better reflection and insight. Eisner becomes long winded quickly.
Several featurettes are also included, along with some deleted scenes.