Pros: Angelina Jolie does stuff and looks good doing it
Cons: Where should I start?
The Bottom Line: It's not as good as the video game. And the video game is terrible.
There are many times when the logic used by movie producers escapes me. Video games-based movies, for instance. If good games like Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter II, and Final Fantasy can't be made into decent movies, then why would producers even bother trying to make bad games like Mortal Kombat and Tomb Raider into movies? Especially when very, very few of those adaptations are grossing enough box office returns to pay the grips, let alone the special effects people.
Here we have Tomb Raider, in which the stupid logic of movie producers is very very obvious. I'll admit the movie made money, but boy does it ever suck. Not only do they base this particular adaptation on a lousy video game, but they decided to bring in the only working director worse than Michael Bay to get the job done right. Given the fairly simple task of making a computerized, heavy metal T and A version of Raiders of the Lost Ark for the horny teenage male crowd, director Simon West is happy to just flash Angelina Jolie around for two hours without creating any the other movie's excitment. Not that there's anything wrong with flashing Angelina Jolie around for two hours, but I do wish producers and directors would just be more honest about it. I'm paying eight bucks a pop for movie tickets these days. They owe me that much at the very least.
Angelina Jolie was really all this thing needed. Dressed up in whatever outfit works to accentuate her enormous breasts, Jolie suggestively smirks and winks her way through the worst performance of her career. When she speaks, she employs a godawful British accent which is completely lacking in any conviction. Jolie knows her job in Tomb Raider is to just look hot and collect her paycheck, and she succeeds admirably in the first task. I'm sure she performed the second task equally as well too. But her accent is weak, and comes off more comparable to Gwenyth Paltrow's overrated performance in Shakespeare in Love than to anything Meryl Streep would be capable of. Fortunately, you'll be too busy gawking to notice. Jolie wears the accent and not much else, and that's all we really ask of her considering the weak script.
Tomb Raider is about a globetrotting archeologist who races the Nazis to an ancient artifact that could destroy the world should it fall into the wrong hands. The bad guys have employed the services of a rival archeologist of the main character. Oh wait, my bad. I'm thinking of Raiders of the Lost Ark here. Tomb Raider is actually about a globetrotting archeologist who races the Illuminati to an ancient artifact that could destroy the world should it fall into the wrong hands. The bad guys have employed the services of a rival archeologist of the main character. Forgive me for the mistake. Can you blame me? Even the titles share the word raider for crying out loud. Tomb Raider goes through a plot gimmick involving a relic clock, the alignment of the planets, two halves of a triangle, and the ability to control time.
Jolie's character, Lara Croft, is an archeologist who is loaded in every sense of the word. A second-generation archeologist to the great Richard Croft, Lara is carrying the pain of having lost her dad when she was very young. And let me say right now, I had no idea archeologists made so much money. Lara lives in a manor for which the word palace might be a better description. She has a butler and a personal techno-geek named Bryce who helps her out on her quest. One day she gets hold of an ancient clock which proves to be an essential clue in her - and the Illuminati's - quest to control time. I really didn't get why she had to go through the race here. Shouldn't she just have destroyed the clock and foiled the Illuminati's plans that way? I suppose so, but then she wouldn't have motivation to get that scene near the end where she meets her father in a crossing of the past and the present. I know, I didn't get it either.
The Illuminati has brought in Alex, who seemed to be Lara's ex-lover and who Lara still had strong enough feelings for to prevent his death at the end of the movie. You can tell Alex is scum because when he tells his boss about Lara, he says she's good but in archeology for all the wrong reasons. She's in it for the glory, you see. He's pure for getting into archeology for the right reasons - the money, baby! No sale here - even Belloq, Indiana Jones's foe in Raiders, had archeological curiosity which he cleverly used to disarm Indy for the climax. As if that wasn't stupid enough, Lara actually teams up with the bad guys she's supposed to be stealing her artifacts from. Though the relationship is meant to be strained at best, I didn't understand why she would even try it at all. Of course, that Lara has no apparent means of getting anyplace the bad guys are going may explain this. But then the writers would have to explain why she would do that in spite of her vast wealth.
Tomb Raider fails as an action movie because there's not a lot of memorable action in it. There's a cool scene in which everyone does battle with a bunch of angry rock monsters, but even that jumps your nerves because these big rocks fall at the behest of a few bullets each. The climax is also very ridiculous. It features a scale model solar system which goes round and round and crushes bad guys who are trying to climb to the top. Action in general is few and far between, but even this doesn't rescue you from the poor direction of Simon West. We spend a lot of time in flashbacks with Jolie's real-life father, Jon Voight, who plays Richard. Voight hasn't given a decent performance since Heat back in 1995. The daddy's-little-girl-misses-her-daddy side plot does little for the development of Croft and seems strained especially considering everything that's happened between Voight and Jolie since then.
The only thing I can really say I liked about Tomb Raider is a particular scene during the climax. The main Illuminati honcho, about to see his dreams of controlling time turn to reality, begins putting the triangle halves together. As he does, he performs the typical bad guy pronouncement of all that he will become. Well, someone gets fed up and shoots him during the speech. That was fun! Other than that, Tomb Raider will do nothing to make you forget a certain classic title with the word raider in its title.
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Nicholas Croston (BaronSamedi3)
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial. Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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Angelina Jolie stars as Lara Croft, a tough, sexy, heavily armed adventurer, in this action film based on the wildly popular video game series of the same name. When mercenaries invade her cavernous, hi-tech mansion and steal an ancient relic, Lara journeys to various international locations, including Cambodia, Italy, and the Arctic Circle, to retrieve the strange object and discover its mysterious properties. As Lara's quest becomes increasingly dangerous, it begins to shed light on the life of her deceased father, Lord Croft (Jon Voight, Jolie's real-life father), and a secretive group known as the Illuminati.
Director Simon West's film boasts an energetic techno soundtrack and a charming performance by Jolie, who blasts her way past various monsters, villains, and pitfalls, smirking all the while. (In one of the film's most memorable sequences, she battles dozens of deadly assassins while suspended from a bungee cord in her pajamas.) Perfectly cast as the voluptuous heroine (and sporting ...