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Angelina Jolie - Tomb Raider - Buy the posters now!

Written by John Zinman, Michael Colleary, Michael Werb and Patrick Massett.
Directed by Simon West

Running Time: 1:40

Rated PG-13
for action violence and some sensuality.

Angelina Jolie as
Lara Croft

Daniel Craig as
Alex Marrs

Leslie Phillips as

Rachel Appleton as
Young Lara

Chris Barrie as
Hilary the butler

Iain Glen as
Manfred Powell

Julian Rhind-Tutt as

Noah Taylor as

Jon Voight as
Lord Croft

Mark Collie as

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Double Sided Original Movie Poster

Buy Lara Croft: Tomb Raider at
Tomb Raider

I had such high hopes for Tomb Raider. I should have known better once I realized that it took 4 people to write the script. While Angelina Jolie kicks some serious ass, the rest of the movie was rather pedestrian and not gripping.

Angelina Jolie stars as Lady Lara Croft. Lara is a independently wealthy thrill seeker who enjoys being attacked by large robots in her own home. Nothing is said about how she got to be so rich, but she lives in a rather large house with a butler and a computer expert. The following is taken from, although from the movie I'm not sure how they know all this:

The daughter of famed archaeologist Lord Henshingly Croft, Lara was brought up in the secure world of the British aristocracy - surrounded by tennis, butlers and corgis (for those uninformed, a corgi is a type of dog.) Tragedy struck Lara early in her life when her father mysteriously disappeared while on a remote expedition. Deeply saddened by his absence, her years at Wimbledon High School for girls were mostly quiet. This was to change though as she grew older.

Moving on to the Gordonstoun school rekindled the interest in archaeology she showed before her father's death. The nearby Scottish Highlands also became an ideal place for her to explore and train as she became obsessed with discovering ancient artifacts and forgotten civilizations.

Later, at her Swiss finishing school, she took to the art of extreme skiing. Searching for more challenging terrain, Lara decided to take a holiday in the Himalayas. On her return trip, however, the plane crashed deep within the mountains. Lara was the sole survivor. Escaping this adversity was one of the most harrowing experiences of her young life. It contributed to the extremely high confidence she carries with her today.

The dramatic events that took place in her young life lead Lara to largely reject the suffocating atmosphere of upper-class British society. She came to the realization that she was only truly alive when she was working and travelling alone. As a "Tomb Raider", she found a way of life, not a profession. She rarely works on commission, preferring the art of collecting and making new discoveries to pillaging the remnants of long lost civilizations for profit.

To fund her adventurous lifestyle though, Lara works as a professional photojournalist. She has made a name for herself in the field by winning a number of Pulitzer prizes.

As you can see, her father (Jon Voight) died years earlier, and all Lara wants is the chance to spend some more time with him. One day, a week before a celestial event where all 9 planets are in perfect alignment, Lara finds a strange clock in the bowels of her home. She comes to learn that the clock is the key to finding two pieces of an ancient symbol that has the power to allow the holder to move backwards in time. But at the same time, a group called The Illuminati is also after this symbol, and one of their members (Iain Glen) wants it for his own evil purposes. Lara's father left her a note saying that she must destroy the symbol, but Lara has other ideas.

While there was certainly a lot of action and special effects, there just wasn't anything special about the movie. The only real difference between this movie and any other action-adventure film is that the lead was a woman instead of a man. Now granted, Angelina Jolie was great in the movie, and without her this wouldn't have been any good. But the story, effects and action sequences didn't live up to her capabilities. A friend of mine was with me, and he made the observation that she never looked like she was ever in any real danger. It was like she was almost too cool under pressure. When a dozen military men invade her house, she managed to survive without ruining her hair or breaking a sweat. When strange monkey-like stone creatures come to life, she starting kicking and punching like she's seen it all before. There just wasn't any sense of danger and therefore no suspense. The action sequences weren't anything that hasn't been done before. Maybe the problem is that something that looks cool and is probably very hard to do, isn't what it takes anymore. The choreography of her fight scene against the military men looked very hard to do, yet the feel of it was I've seen it all before, so show me something new. The special effects also had a been there, done that feel to them. I did enjoy the different locales they filmed in, including Cambodia and Iceland. And the music had the right tone for the film, with a lot of electronic pulse pounding music.

The characters outside of Lara Croft I also thought were uninteresting and badly cast. The villians didn't seem like villians. The good guys weren't used for their humor as they should have been. Everyone just seemed off, like they knew Angelina was the star of the film, so they just hung back and let her do her thing. Again, Angelina showed that women can certainly carry an action movie, and I think her casting was the case of the perfect person for the role. I'm not sure there is another woman in Hollywood that could have carried this particular film as well as she did, and without her, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed this movie at all. And I don't think there's anything wrong with the premise of the movie, I just think that it wasn't well written. Hopefully in the sure-to-be sequel they can come up with a more interesting plot and define the Lara Croft character a little better, so we get a more true sense of her, and where she's coming from.

So overall Tomb Raider wasn't a bad movie, but it certainly doesn't live up to its hype. I was disappointed in the story and the action. Angelina Jolie manages to shine even with the problems, and saves what otherwise would be a run of the mill action/special effects film.

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reviewed 06/17/01

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