Eye For Film >> Movies >> Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001) Film Review
Lara Croft Tomb Raider
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
Video games don't beget decent movies. They tend to be stillborn.
Angelina Jolie wears tight T-shirts, which make her look top heavy. Her lips would have driven Salvador Dali wild. She walks in a self-conscious manner, with shoulders high and arms hanging down like a milk maid. She does not appear naturally athletic. In fact, any one of Charlie's Angels would have been more convincing. She's worked on her pistol twirls and they're fine. Trouble is, she can't stop doing them.
She is portraying an animated character, which means she can be as wooden as you like and it doesn't matter. Except it does. If you don't care about Lara, why bother? The supporting cast has more personality, with the exception of Iain Glen, who left his in The Blue Room. Also, the plot is a load of rubbish.
Lara is a member of the English aristocracy. Naturally, she's played by an American. Alex West, an Indiana Jones type archeologist and possible love interest for her ladyship, is American. Naturally, he's played by an English actor, Daniel Craig. Bryce is the techy nerd and comic relief, who talks Souff London and builds robots in a caravan ("Why don't you stay in the house?" Lara asks. "We have 83 rooms"). Naturally, he's played by an Aussie, Noah Taylor.
She has a butler (Chris Barrie), who is frightfully proper and not a little camp. "I am only trying to turn you into a lady," he remonstrates. "And a lady should be modest." Some hope!
Her stately home has too much stained glass and a stone staircase that would appeal to Count Dracula. Her stunt double rides a motor bike like an Isle of Man racer, but not as daring as Tom Cruise in Mi2.
The story is nonsensical and somehow concerns an eclipse. A secret society meets in Venice to discover whether a dubious lawyer (Glen) has unravelled the puzzle of absolute power, which involves a clock in Croft's attic, a trip to Cambodia, another to The Dead Zone (Iceland) and some cheesy special effects. Glen talks slow and never smiles, which indicates a certain seriousness, as if the role deserves it.
Lara has a thing about her father, who was murdered when she was eight. "I miss you, Daddy," she talks to thin air. "I wish we could get back the time that was stolen from us." Being a magic realism kind of flick, they meet again and he turns out to Jolie's real dad, Jon Voight.
The director is an Englishman, Simon West, who honed his skills on the BBC, before winning awards for commercials, going to California, making Con Air with Nic Cage and The General's Daughter with Travolta. He doesn't have the style of John Woo, or the imagination of a Madonna concert.Reviewed on: 05 Jul 2001