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|Index||316 reviews in total|
In 2001, fan boys and gamers alike were able to get their eye full with
Angelina Jolie in the lead role as Lara Croft. It may not have been a
success in critics' eyes but it did well at the box office and fans
wanted a sequel. So as a follow up, this movie doesn't perform badly at
all. But it does lack a few details that keep it from being as good as
the first. The majority of these flaws lie in the writing as well as
some character development.
In this story, Croft is set on the quest to find Pandora's Box and keep an evil money mogul from getting his hands on it and causing countless deaths around the world. So to accomplish this task, she once again calls on her friends and companions at home and around the world to assist her. The two important ones that most fans like are Hillary (Chris Barrie) and Bryce (Noah Taylor). I was happy to see them reprise their roles - their presence in the first added comedic relief to various situations, as do they in this installment.
Of course, Jolie as Croft is still a great choice. Her athletic and flexibility abilities are still impressive and are similar if not the same as the moves that Lara Croft does in the video game. And I don't know if it's just me but I found Jolie to be even more attractive in this picture. Her face is different. Playing the evil money mogul is Ciarán Hinds. Hinds also puts in a good performance. He may not be the most sinister of villains but he's no fresh apple either.
Accompanying Croft in her journey across the globe is an ex-boyfriend named Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler) who is good with guns and I agree, he is. I also found him to have a funny sense of humor with his Scottish accent. What upset me about though was that writer Dean Georgaris wrote his character to be untrusted and unpredictable. That caused the character development between Sheridan and Croft to whither. They had good chemistry but they were always up and down. Like a love-hate relationship. Can we just pick a single tone for these two? I also didn't like how Georgaris did not explain what happened to Alex West (Daniel Craig) from the first movie. Craig's character did not die so why wasn't it at least explained where he was or why he left? Continuity people! But that's really all I have to nit-pick about. I enjoyed the action which felt solid. The director, Jan de Bont, who also directed the megahit Speed (1994) seems to have a good idea what an action movie needs even though his profession lies in cinematography. I also felt that the musical score provided by Alan Silvestri instead of Graeme Revell was an improvement. It expressed action, tension and feeling at the right moments. Although it's not as great as the first, I still liked it.
Its writing is a little off with character development and continuity but it still holds up strong. The characters are still fun to watch as well as the action and improved musical score.
The first Lara Croft film was a gigantic mess. The follow-up, directed
by Jan De Bont (Twister), isn't as bad... and that's about the best
thing you can say about it.
It has the problem common to all video game adaptations: In a video game, the story is a hair-thin device to get to all the interactive action. Who cares if its preposterous nonsense, as long as the game itself is fun and playable? Film, on the other hand, has no interaction. It relies entirely on hooking the audience with characters and plots.
So... a film adaptation of a video game will almost certainly be an empty affair unless the script-writer fills it out somewhat... but of course, that's usually verboten. The copyright holders don't like it, and the fans don't like it. The result: empty unwatchable rubbish.
Which brings me to the pompously named Lara Croft II: The Cradle of Life. It tries hard to be an action film, but fails because its action scenes aren't all that well done (despite some decent stunts). It has no drama -- except for one moment near the end where, quite unexpectedly, the script develops a soul and Lara makes a difficult choice.
The story revolves around the race to find (as you probably guessed from the title) "The Cradle of Life" before the baddies get hold of it and use it to take over the world. Yes, its a lame rip-off of 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' with a hot-chick in the lead role, but then so was the video game. But Jon De Bont is not Spielberg and Angelina Jolie, for all her hotness, isn't as nearly as watchable as Harrison Ford.
If "not as bad as the first film" is enough recommendation for you to see it, then go for it... but otherwise I'd avoid paying to see it. It might provide a mild diversion on a rainy day when its shown on TV.
Tomb Raider in terms of technical things, such as special effect,
cinematography, music, camera (no shaking), location, action adventure,
costume designs, is near perfect. The problem is the story fails badly
on three things:
1. Casting 2. Editing 3. Story
Casting. Terry Sheridan - what chemistry? Rust chemistry. Too much relationship overtones terrible mix. He talks too much without any meanings, undertones. In other words the script relates nothing to the pace of the story. Oh yes, all Directors understand the pace of the story, but the don't understand that the script MUST MATCH THE PACE OF THE STORY. If the script aren't razor tight concise, to the plot or the story, then cut it out from the story. I can name 90% of the script to remove, and most of it is Terry Sheridan. His accent is too thick, too obnoxious, talks too much. It irritates the viewers. The biggest mistake a script can make is when the script or the character irritates the viewers. It can really turn off the movie and by god, I bought this movie for a year and have struggled so badly to finish movie at least 10 times. I just went to sleep after 15 minutes. Something is seriously wrong with the movie!!!
The second casting: the scientist. This scientist doesn't convince you much about why he does what he does. It falls flat on believability as to why he does what he does. Even the looking of the watch was not even convincing. The entire plane scene can be edited OUT! Give the guy more mystery like James Bond Spector.
The third casting: Shen Lo. What? Who? Why? Enemies if they don't appear evil enough should not be cast. Somehow this enemy is not convincing. Compare the enemies of Robocop 1. Wow! How about the bad guys from the Joker in Batman. Wow!
To solve this casting issue, I suggest a convincing screen play that you use the Joker, Two faced in Batman or something as a starting point. If it is not better than I suggest you redo it until you can come up with a truly evil bad guy making it entertaining to watch.
All actors are "washed out" lacked unique characters. Now look at the uniqueness of character in Minority Report - wow!
2. Editing. Half of the story can be edited because the script spoils the pace of the story. This is especially true in the first 30 minutes of the movie.
3. Story. People expect Tomb Raider to do one thing and one thing only. Tomb Raiding. Where is that? Flying over Hong Kong? Flying in Stealth Plane over China? Motorcycling?
Pandora's Box - good concept. But why? The story has little weight in why we need to pursue them. YOU need solid reason why you need to pursue them, without it, forget it. Now look at Dr. Strangelove. There was a solid reason why this incident can and should happen. The plot reveals it quite clearly. But where is the weight in pursuing Pandora's box? Is there such thing as peekaboo into a Pandora's Box?
The script should closely follow the plot. It doesn't. The word should be memorable or stick in the head. It doesn't. If you want a good story, one writer should write the plot and story board and another one should write the memorable words and script that makes the story work. Apparently it is messy on two counts.
I am a big fan of Angelina Jolie and Tomb Raider and still think Cyborg 2 is a wonderful movie, but all her later films are just flops. I can't blame the actress, we just have a bad writer who don't know the power of words and a convincing story line and the director who doesn't seem to read the scripts.
The second Lara Croft movie, directed by Jan de Bont, dwells less on
Angelina Jolie's physical assets and concentrates more on bludgeoning
the audience's senses with all manner of digital trickery, cartoonish
stunts and cool shots to impress the kids which, for a male viewer with
only a passing interest in blockbuster action movies, isn't necessarily
a good thing. The wonderful body of Angelina in black top and khaki
shorts at least stopped me from getting bored while watching the first
flick. She still looks great in this one, but her physique is displayed
just long enough for the boys in publicity to get their shots before we
get down to the serious business of saving the world.
Mega-villain deadly weapon rule the world you know the drill.
The movie starts with a wedding on a Greek cliff-top so that de Bont can follow some rocks falling into the ocean then throw them at the screen as the movie's title. Then Lara punches a shark in the face and makes him give her a lift back to her boat. It doesn't get any better after that, but de Bont hurls explosions and stunts and action set-pieces at the screen with the same frenetic pace with which he hurled those rocks so that it takes a while for you to realise how completely and utterly unexciting it all is. Croft is a heroine with no emotional resonance whatsoever; James Bond was the same, but at least he had a character to fall back on while Croft is just this sort of pretty action robot programmed to speak not-very-funny one-liners and never get seriously hurt. There's no way in the world she is ever going to come to any harm, and the movie seems to go out of its way to reinforce the fact rather than tricking you into forgetting it the way the good super-hero films do. It does improve as it goes along although not by much and there's a surprisingly tragic incident near the end, but Croft almost immediately shrugs it off with another of those not-very-funny one-liners.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Having seen the first Lara Croft movie, I was already expecting the
characters to be one dimensional and unengaging, but at least there
were some slightly interesting secondary characters in that one. Not so
here. The amusing assistant has been replaced by a couple of teenage
computer geeks with no personality whatsoever. And the bad guy...oh
jeez. He reminded me of a corporate middle-manager with a slight case
of constipation, which is to say, a tad cranky.
But how about the story? Well, I really don't think there is one. Lara finds a sphere, which is promptly stolen by the boring bad guy. She tries to get it back and there's a gigantic shootout with lots of gymnastics and high flying junk, I'm sure you know the drill. She tries again to get it back, and we have the same gigantic shootout yadda yadda yadda. Then there's a big sword fight that seems nothing but an excuse to break a bunch of statues apart. Then there's the attack of the killer CGI thingies. They eventually dissolve in a tornado of pixels. I mean, were they even trying AT ALL to make these things look like something other than a computer generated special effect?
But how about the scenery? The original at least had lots of interesting locations. Not here. At one point in the movie, they go to "The most remote mountain range in all of China". And guess what? There's a delivery truck parked out front. I mean, come on. They wind up on the Serengeti plains, which look like nothing more than a dry wasteland. They go to some Asian city, which looks no different than any other large city on the face of the earth.
And just to add insult to injury, it didn't appear to me that Jolie was even wearing her gigantic padded bra through most of this film.
Overall, if you're interested in seeing this, just rent the original and watch it again.
Whenever stars are selling sequels, they always brush off the original.
'Okay the first one sucked, but this one is actually good.' I actually
liked the first one, and I really wanted to see this one, but I still
went in somewhat skeptical. In this case it actually did turn out to be
better than the original. The first Tomb Raider was a well-made action
movie, but I would not put it on the level of The Matrix or
Hard-Boiled. The Cradle of Life actually does stand with those movies,
dramatic with good characters.
The story was fascinating, and Angelina was great as usual, as was every outfit she wore, especially the silver wet suit. I'd been following Gerard Butler's career for a few years, since his turn in the mostly forgettable Dracula 2000. He almost steals the show as the Han Solo figure. His character is in every way equal to Lara Croft. They work perfectly off of each other, and their fate is just the cathartic ending I look for in any movie. And I love the soundtrack.
OK, I have never played the games so I have no idea how they compare to the films, but I have seen the first one and I can tell you that compared to it this one is just bad. I am a huge fan of Angelina Jolie, so having to watch her wasn't what was painful about this movie, it was the direction and screen play that had me clenching my fists. A lot of times I caught myself yawning when I'm sure the director intended us to be entertained. Not to mention the bad CGI...I guess it's safe to say I'm not a fan of this modern technological advancement many Director's choose to use in their movies. If it wasn't so obvious looking I just might enjoy it as much as the next Digital Media major, but it is and thats my problem. Unless a film is composed entirely of CGI (IE: Ice Age, Toy Story) then I can't help but feel like I'm watching part real life and part cartoon. Perhaps in the future CGI will advance even more than it has now, making us TRULY believe the Hulk really does look that way. Until those happy days come I guess I'll just have to deal with what we've got now...yay...5/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Angelina Jolie is back as computer game heroine Lara Croft, complete
with her Liz Hurley-esque accent and extremely fine physique.
This time our Tomb Raider is asked by MI6 (on behalf of her majesty no less!) to get hold of Pandora's Box before the nasty bad guy gets it and uses it to wipe out all of the useless members of society (hopefully starting with Jan De Bont). As Lara was already involved on this quest anyway she agrees, and uses MI6 to free her ex boyfriend who also happens to be a traitorous and mercenary ex marine.
It is a rare experience to go into a cinema with such low expectations and still come out disappointed: but that's exactly what I did. I have been so traumatised from watching this film that is hard to find any redeeming points at all, except that it makes the first film seem fantastically entertaining. At least that had the action packed robot battle and that balletic mansion defence scene which, thinking back, were both pretty damn stunning. In comparison the action scenes in the sequel are unimaginative and stale. It seems as though the powers that be decided to take several costume ideas from the computer game, and then tried to come up with reasons to use them, all the while trying to visit as many global locations as possible.
The cast try hard, but the material is crap. The plot is a little too imitative of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (a far superior film is so many ways but don't get me started on that) Chris Barrie is horribly underused, the villains have no charisma and no matter how much danger Lara gets herself in we know she, and her two assistants, will not die. After the amount of times I have thrown Lara off of a cliff just to hear her scream in the computer game, I am sure her death on screen really wouldn't bother me either. Particularly when, in one nauseating scene, Lara punches an attacking shark on the nose and actually makes it back up in shock!!! Which highlights yet another problem I have with this monstrosity, it never lets you forget you are watching a film. Almost every scene has a stupidly unbelievable event or has shoddy CGI that screams THIS IS NOT REAL. Combined with the dodgy plot, uninspired and un-engaging direction, and what is still an underdeveloped two dimensional leading lady (although Jolie plays that role far better than any other actress could) you have a film that must be avoided at all costs.
If Pirates of the Caribbean can be an entertaining and fun film even though it is based on a ride, then there is no excuse for this computer game inspired film to be the piece of crap that it is. I still have faith in the series however, and can't wait for them to actually get it right. The cast are spot on, it just needs some creative talent involved in all aspects of the production process.
A horribly disappointing film that may well kill off the franchise for good.
Can we just all agree that video games don't make good movies?
Hollywood keeps trying, but the source material inevitably loses
something once the audience is forced to put down the controller and be
expected to sit and watch. Case in point: "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The
Cradle of Life," the second (and we can only hope, final) film
featuring Angelina Jolie as the world's most famous pixelated babe.
Jolie's appeal in the eyes of the world remains a mystery to me--probably because I could care less how she fills out a wetsuit. In her hands, Lara is basically a less interesting version of Indiana Jones, traipsing across the globe in search of treasures because...well, because they're there, I guess. In the opening scenes she's in an underwater temple, ogling a glowing bocce ball which is promptly stolen by Asian mercenaries. The ball, we learn, is the key to finding the legendary Pandora's Box, and the mercenaries are in the employ of a bioterrorist (Ciaran Hinds, trying to imitate Alan Rickman) who wants to open the box and unleash the plague within, sparing only the "best and brightest" (from his dialogue, I gather he defines this as anyone with power and/or money). Lara sets off to stop him, dragging along (for reasons I won't bother to explain) an ex-con named Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler, trying to imitate Russel Crowe and/or Hugh Jackman). Lara and Terry apparently have a history, a plot point which I might believe if the actors displayed any chemistry on screen.
But let's leave off the hole-riddled plot, pedestrian acting, and logical loopholes for the moment. After all, nobody comes into a film like this expecting "Amelie." "Cradle of Life" commits the one sin which is unforgivable in an adventure movie: nothing that happens on screen is in any way fun or exciting. This is one of those movies where action sequences occur not because they have anything (however slight) to do with the characters or story, but because someone thought they looked cool. Fights are photographed in a very uninvolving manner, with blurry bodies, countless shots of glass shattering and scenery getting destroyed, and excessive amounts of slow-motion. The result is something that looks like a cross between a travelogue and the X-Games, only harder to watch.
"Some things are meant to stay lost," Lara muses towards the long-awaited ending, by which point it's very clear that this movie is one of them.
If Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was "the first post-content movie", as director
Simon West claimed, then this must count as post-post-content. The script is
as thin as Lara's wetsuit, but with nothing remotely as interesting
Just as there is no reason to keep watching the first film after the shootout in the garage, there is almost no reason to keep watching this one after she punches the shark. There are no good jokes, the CGI is mostly of video-game quality, the fight scenes are copied from better movies, and the only thing it has to offer as compensation are some impressive monsters, a bundle of cool gadgets, and some pretty scenery - and I don't mean Angelina. Once you've seen her in the bikini and the wetsuit, to quote a much better movie, "you got all you gonna get".
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