ninth symphony films - movie reviews

LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (2001)


DIRECTOR  -  simon west

RATED  -  pg-13

GENRE  -  action

LENGTH  -  100 minutes

RELEASED  -  15 july 2001

DISTRIBUTOR  -  paramount pictures

OFFICIAL SITE  -  tomb raider

ESTIMATED BUDGET  -  $80,000,000
lara croft: tomb raider - a shot from the film

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SYNOPSIS:
video game adventurer lara croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artifacts.




MOVIE FACT:
in the movie, angelina jolie sleeps with a knife. she also does this in real life.


MOVIE FOTOS:

picture from lara croft: tomb raider

picture from lara croft: tomb raider

picture from lara croft: tomb raider



RATING:


two out of four possible stars

Although it is filled with fantastic action sequences and exotic locales, Tomb Raider runs a little long on good looks and is a little complicated in its motivation. It strikes a good balance between the interesting history of the characters, but it the plot was just a little too complicated. I almost felt like I needed a Star Wars-like preamble with scrolling text before the movie to understand everything. But what saves this movie is a terrific performance by Angelina Jolie.

The supporting characters of the film are really not that interesting, but Jolie's character is fascinating. Her portrayl of a female Indiana Jones gives this otherwise standard "quest" movie a new slant and is an intersting twist on a familiar formula. But the involved and over-complicated plot made the movie drag much more than it would have if the filmmakers had given lara croft a simple goal. There are several scenes where there is a large amount of dialogue spent on explaining the resident evil that's afoot and these places in the film make the pace slow to a crawl.

If you're going to give the protagonist a complicated series of adventures to conquer, do it with concise dialogue and words through events. Or, even better, merge scenes of static activity with scenes of intense activity to produce a "happy medium." The filmmakers did not do this in Tomb Raider. Instead, they chopped the film up into unconnected bits and pieces that seemed jarring. I think the filmmakers were trying to add a little bit of a "thinker" element to the story by making it complicated and involved. But as an audience member, I really don't care about the particulars of the plot. I want to know about the characters and what they're going through.

And for the most part, the filmmakers tried to make the characters' problems part of the story, but there still was too much emphasis put on the plot. And the characters supporting Angelina's character could not compensate for the disjointed story and convuluted plot. And why did the filmmakers feel it necessary to fill up the movie with unimportant specifics about the plot? Did they feel that the supporting characters were not strong enough to hold the story? It's the interactions between these characters that would have been more exciting to see rather than long, drawn out sequences of exposition.

Perhaps it was the filmmaker's need to make the character of Lara Croft in the film as close to her character in the video game as possible. But making the movie just like the video game (I've been told that the movie follows the plot of the game fairly closely) proved to make the film over-loaded and heavy. I suppose that I now have to spend a paragraph or two on Angelina's breasts. Yes, you read that right. And why would I spend an entire paragraph devoted to Angelina's womanly parts? Because they mutate a film seemingly devoted to girl power and turn it into a picture more suited to the centerfold of a playboy magazine.

Tomb Raider seems to be nothing more than a babe-fest cloaked in a blanket of feminism. Angelina actually wore a padded bra to boost her already ample bosom from a C to a D. Of course, the actual computer woman, "Lara Croft," has a double D. I suppose that stems from the fact that the game was designed by two men. But it's easy to see the strategy that the producers had in mind when the made this film. They want a film that's appealing to both sexes. Because hey, there's nothing better than seeing your demographics cover everybody aged between 1 and 90. So I suppose you've got to give the filmmakers a hand there. Those sneaky, underhanded fiends.

But what they did right was cast Angelina in the lead role. Her defining characterstics aside (why is she always wearing a skin tight t-shirt . . . even in Iceland?), she is able to carry the lead role of the film very easily. She has a strong personality and makes up for the lack of dynamic actors in the minor roles. But not all of the supporting cast is so weak. Angelina's real-life father, Jon Voight, plays her long dead father in the film in a series of flashbacks and paranormal experiences.

Even though his time on the screen was limited, voight's character of "Lord Croft" added a needed ensemble element that the other supporting characters just didn't have. So although the film lacks a coherent plot and the usual strong ensemble cast that action thrillers have, Angelina Jolie is able to carry the film to its completion and turns a lackluster journey into something worth seeing. (at least for the matinee, anyway . . .)

Review by Kelsey Wyatt.


content 2000 - - ninth symphony films - photographs paramount pictures 2001
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