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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
UK / English
"Who Is Lara Croft? "
Video game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artifacts.
Angelina Jolie Lara Croft
Jon Voight Lord Richard Croft
Iain Glen Manfred Powell
Noah Taylor Bryce
Daniel Craig Alex West
Richard Johnson Distinguished Gentleman
Chris Barrie Hillary (as Christopher Barrie)
Julian Rhind-Tutt Mr. Pimms
Leslie Phillips Wilson
Robert Phillips Julius, Assault Team Leader
Rachel Appleton Young Lara
Henry Wyndham Boothby's Auctioneer
David Cheung Head Laborer (as David Y. Cheung)
David K.S. Tse Head Laborer
Ozzie Yue Aged Buddhist Monk
Director: Simon West
Producer: Lawrence Gordon,Lloyd Levin,Colin Wilson
Writer: Sara B. Cooper,Mike Werb
The Best "Video Game Movies" to Date
Final Score: 7.4 (out of 10)

Hack writer/director Paul "W.S." Anderson seems to have cornered the market on making lame movies from video games - some promising (Resident Evil) some dead-ends to begin with (Mortal Kombat). And he just won't stop. Fortunately, 'Tomb Raider' (a frustrating and dull video game series) has escaped him. Now we can see what can happen when put in the hands of some talent. With it, it also seems that director Simon West (previously of the atrociously trash 'Con Air' and 'The General's Daughter') has found his niche. He and star Angelina Jolie are what make this - a potential disaster - work so smashing. Jolie is the perfect physical embodiment of Lara Croft. Typically, I don't find Angelina Jolie sexy in the slightest bit, but Angelina Jolie as the strong, confident, slick Lara Croft...well, that's entirely different. I waste time mentioning this because it's part of the movie's giddy prepubescent tone. This is a guilty pleasure first and foremost. And a good one at that. TR manages to be sexy despite being completely sexless - after all if someone where to end up in bed with Lara she would loose that unatainable goddess quality.

Naturally, everybody would like to compare this movie to Indiana Jones. This is a simple-minded knee-jerk reaction. Everything has to be compared to something. They both explore caves, right? So they must be exactly the same. Strangely enough, what surprised me about 'Tomb Raider' was how original it was and how completely different it is from the Indiana Jones series. It's more playful and exists in a world of pure fantasy. It also exists independent of the game which is nice. The plot - involving a device that controls time - is completely absurd, the script is silly, the acting (from anyone who isn't Jolie) is campy. All of this I enjoyed. This is a B-movie all the way around. But it's a B-movie with A-talent behind the camera and a sense of itself where not much is taken to seriously. West's crisp visual style does wonders for the flick when it kicks into a few eye-popping and fun action set pieces. (I love the stone warrior statues). He avoids the ADD editing style of other directors and the movie has a strange beauty to it's action scenes (but not in the slow motion/white dove John Woo sense). The special effects are creative and deliver something strange and new around every corner. The soundtrack is top-notch. The score is effective and the techno music from "Galaxy Bounce" to the ending credit's "Where's Your Head At" and U2's "Elevation" remix all helps pump up the fun.

Now, I did say that "not much" is taken to seriously. It's those moments where the movie does try to give us some depth that it falls flat. There is a cumbersome and unnecessary subplot about Lara's father. There is also long moments without action - this is one of the talkiest summer movies I've seen. Had it dropped all the presupposition of character development and gone all out in it's pure mindless entertainment it would have been better. It also has another one of those scenes where a character is in the shower, hears a noise and gets out, wandering around naked looking for the disturbance. Who does that? However, in the end despite it's dragging pace, and because of it's fanciful absurdity I went along for the ride and can't wait to see more.

Would make a good double feature with 2001's other absurd guilty pleasure 'Swordfish'.

Seen it:Ja
Nr of disks/tapes:1
Storage device:Divx 4
Imdb rating: 5.2
Musician: Graeme Revell
Running time: 100 min
Everything else:
Last modified: 2007-07-19 20:27:3