Director: Simon West
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voigt, Iain Glen, Daniel Craig
Series: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Length: 100 Minutes
As the fires of the Tomb Raider franchise burned brightest, and the frenzy for all things Lara reached a Beatlemania high, some Hollywood bigwigs in a burst of creative brilliance found something that people liked that they could turn to profit. Throw in a blossoming, beautiful American actress and a pair of shiny pistols and the Tomb Raider train was ready for it’s big screen premiere.
The film follows the famous archaeologist as she searches for the Triangle of Light, which her departed father left her several clues for. In between mourning her loss and being all smart and sexy, Lara finds herself sucked into a plot featuring the world’s oldest ne’er do wells, the Illuminati. Aided by an ex-lover, played by James Bond… I mean Daniel Craig, Lara turns the tables on the Illuminati and soon they are working side by side to uncover the mysteries of an ancient civilization.
Where this film fundamentally fails in in it’s leading lady. I’m not knocking Angleina Jolie, but her Lara is a vastly different creature from the beloved game icon. Firstly, the film’s Lara is a cold, cool bad girl. Many of the film’s ridiculous driving scenes follow Lara as she weaves through midday London traffic on her streetbike at 90 m.p.h. In one instance she drives through a jungle like an angry New Yorker. Her attitudes seem like a bad choice made by the director in a vain attempt to make Lara hip, but the filmmakers seem to have forgotten that Lara is already the baddest on the block.
Gamers fell in love with the brilliant adventurer, who blended high living and class with gritty crusades for truth. This bad girl Lara just seems like a maladjusted teenager, causing trouble and making the stuffed shirts grumble. Jolie does seem to have fun with the role, and her many animal like sneers and smirks are appropriately sexy and seem genuine. However, the film’s take on Lara muddies her performance. Also, I’d like to point out that they chose an American actress to play a British Lady. Which is funny because her lover in the film, James Bond, is a Brit playing an American (which leads to some hilariously bad overdubbing).
The film’s villain, an Illuminati member by the name of Manfred Powell (played by Iain Glen of Game of Thrones fame) is a pretty cookie cutter bored sociopath. The actual Illuminati takes a backseat to his scheming, which is silly to me because at the beginning of the film he seems to be little more than an errand boy. Quickly the film forgets how powerful it made the shady organization, when Powell successfully attempt a coup in his quest for power.
The action scenes are the most fun you’ll have watching this movie. Lara’s trademark blasting away with over sized dual pistols makes an appearance in almost every high tension scene. This is as close as the game gets to being Tomb Raider, with a battle inside a tomb in Cambodia being the highlight.
However, this cannot save this film, and as soon as the action is over you’ll find yourself rolling your eyes again. No scene deserves the most eye rolling as the ludicrous last fifteen minutes. I’ve never seen such a vague attempt at tying things together. It’s like the writers suddenly remembered that the end had come and they needed to find something passable.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a bland take on the Tomb Raider franchise. With a sour plot, crappy faked accents, and the worst possible re imagining of Lady Croft, this film fails spectacularly. The action might keep you on board throughout the hour and forty minute escapade, but that’s all that glitters in this dusty dank crypt.