I looking through the various movie trailers on Apple.com, and saw one called Sahara. I was slightly intrigued, since Clive Cussler had written a Dirk Pitt novel with the same name.
I devoured Cussler’s nautical adventure books as a kid–I read Raise the Titanic when I was in 5th grade, and didn’t stop reading his books until right around college. They were two-fisted pulp adventures, combining spycraft and raw heroism with just the right touch of the exotic in the form of underwater quests.
The hero of these books, Dirk Pitt, was a man’s man — sharp-featured, green eyed, black haired, utterly fearless, and always able to get both the villain and the girl. I stopped reading the books after Dragon (probably around 1995ish) — after the pinnacle which was Cyclops (featuring a private moon colony and the quasi-liberation of Cuba — yeah, the proto-libertrarian in me loved that book).
So I watched the Sahara trailer, and while it’s been a while since I read it, the trailer didn’t seem to have much, if any, connection to Dirk Pitt. Still, I was curious, and did a little searching and found a Web site called The Unofficial Raise the Titanic! Home Page dedicated to the book and movie of the same name. It had a page called the Unofficial Sahara Movie Production News Page which confirmed what I’d already guessed: that the movie is based on the novel, but that it looks increasingly like it is only “inspired by” the novel. Which means Hollywood has once again managed to take a book, gut everything that worked in it, and film the remaining dretch.
The role of Dirk Pitt went to Matthew McConaughhey, and while I have nothing against the guy, I just can’t imagine him as being Dirk Pitt. Part of it is that they decided to go with his standard charasmatic/flowing blond hair/nice guy look, rather than say, something a little more realistic (like in Reign of Fire). He doesn’t look like Pitt, and from the trailer, he doesn’t act like Pitt. But then again, the trailer had very little resembling acting in it, having defaulted to the standard over-the-top explosions and guns approuch to promoting an aventure movie.
I did view the second trailer on the official Sahara movie Web site, which was slightly better, and gives a better idea of what the movie’s actually about. That said, it still seems to be a generic adventure flick, and one that doesn’t capitalize on what made Cussler’s books so different — namely that “nautical” element.
I’ll still probably end up seeing the film, for the same reason I saw Raise the Titanic all those years ago: because despite knowing that it’s going to be god-awful, I just can’t help wanting to see some form of Dirk Pitt make it to the big screen.