Urban Cinefile
"I just sort of vomited or something . a discharge... an expulsion... excretion. It was terribly painful."  -Bob Ellis on writing the script of The Nostradamus Kid
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Wednesday, October 18, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER

SYNOPSIS:
Lady Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) travels to exotic and dangerous locales in search of tombs and relics of lost civilizations. As the first interplanetary alignment in 5000 years approaches, Lara Croft faces her greatest challenge. Her mission is to recover two halves of an ancient metallic triangle hidden in underground chambers in Cambodia and Siberia. With the guidance of letters written by her late father, Lord Croft (Jon Voight), Lara sets out to recover the artifact which grants its holder the power to rule time. Along the way she faces dangerous opposition from of Manfred Powell (Iain Glen), an agent in the employ of The Illuminata, a sinister secret society determined top possess the artifact at any cost. And not even Bryce (Noah Taylor), Lara’s erstwhile electronics assistant can help when the ancient forces are unleashed.

"Based on the phenomenally popular interactive video game, but not only for the fans, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a wonderfully visual, fantastic action-packed entertainment, full of amazing effects and a stunning, sensual super-heroine that really packs a punch.

A fast-paced adventure in the vein of Indiana Jones and The Mummy, Lara is The Terminator's Sarah Connor of the 21st Century. She is everything you could wish her to be – cool, but oh so hot and totally in control, ready to save the universe. Her soft whimsical sighs reinforce her femininity and vulnerability. She is her own woman: sexy, confident, a dare devil and a tomboy but still a lady, in essence as well as name. And Angelina Jolie embodies the cartoon-like character with curvaceous abandon and extraordinary grace, athleticism, style and charisma. She is fabulous to watch – sexy, sassy and without question, all woman.

The story speeds along faster than a speeding bullet, with slick editing, classy production design and superb cinematography from Australian Peter Menzies Jnr that showcases striking locations in Cambodia and Iceland. One of my favourite sequences shows Lara on a husky-drawn sleigh on a spectacular Icelandic skyline when the sun, the moon and the world seem to merge. Graeme Revell's score is wonderfully diverse and the script is well paced, never running out of ideas. There's a predictable butler (whose silver tray reveals some surprises), a nerdy in-house technology expert (Noah Taylor is fabulous) and a power-hungry villain who wants to control time. But of course, it's that special casting of Jolie's real-life father Jon Voight that adds an extra dimension. The violence is comic-book and the worst profanity uttered is 'bugger'. In every sense, there's more to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider than meets the eye; it's action plus and a spine-tingling, dashing escapist fantasy set to thrill."
Louise Keller

"Driven by adrenaline and libido in equal measure, Lara Croft’s first big screen adventure is a triumph for Angelina Jolie, who not just fits the role but assumes it with authority. And of course, Lady Croft is the embodiment of a heroine for an electronic age. Not because she is so high tech herself but because she is playful in war, tackling mysteries with a naïve bravado. Just like us and computers. The millions of existing fans may or may not find Lara a perfect fit for their individual fantasies, but they can hardly complain about her performance. She shoots those hefty sidearms with the enthusiasm of a … game heroine….And she flies, flips, fences and fells the fellas in a fighting package that is both lithesome and lethal. (She also induces alliterations.) Just not sure about her nipple-free breasts, though. The plot is pretty well off the mega-adventure-with-mystic-overtones shelf, but the personality of the heroine is what matters; like with Indiana Jones, we want our hero or heroine challenged and endangered, always looking sexy and relaxed in the tightest spots, cool but vulnerable, and preferably with a soft spot for Dad. Well, here she is. Not counting its weak and phutty ending, the film is highly competently made, and boasts two significant Australian elements: Peter Menzies jnr on the camera, and Noah Taylor as a gizmo creating electronics nerd. They both do Australia proud."
Andrew L. Urban

"Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is the best movie yet made from a video game. That's not really saying much when you consider this small sub-genre is littered with atrocities such as Super Mario Brothers and Mortal Kombat but at least it has an A-budget and some star power to kick it along. The critical task of casting the world's most famous virtual character (1000 internet fan sites, 200 magazine covers and $US 500 million in merchandising sales) has been carried off successfully in the form of Angelina Jolie. Convincing with weaponry and in combat and bodacious at all times, Jolie fits the role perfectly and looks like she's enjoying it to boot. She fares much better than most of the males around her including dull villain Manfred Powell (Iain Glen) and inconsequential rival tomb raider Alex West (Daniel Craig). Art-directed to the hilt and shot in some truly breathtaking locations - particularly around Angkor Wat in Cambodia (the first major film to shoot there since Lord Jim in 1964) - Tomb Raider is a perfectly acceptable female variation on Indiana Jones and James Bond without being an inspired one. After an impressive opening set-piece in which Ms Croft takes on a contraption that looks like a left-over from RoboCop, the script fiddles and fumbles around for half an hour with Lara's back-story before anything exciting happens. While it's admirable to see some attempt at characterisations being made, it does drag on for rather too long before we know what she's looking for and who she's up against. Once we arrive in Cambodia and later Siberia there's plenty of destruction and narrow escapes to keep us amused but not the sense of excitement and tension we expect from what's still and an old-fashioned cliffhanger adventure, regardless of the source material's cyber-age connections. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is better than you might have expected but doesn't quite set the pulse pounding as it should. If more inventive ideas and livelier direction than offered here by Simon West can be found for the inevitable sequels this series could really take off because Jolie has the goods. For now, this'll do - just."
Richard Kuipers

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

ANGELINA JOLIE

interview by Jenny Cooney Carrillo

PETER MENZIES JNR interview by Andrew L. Urban

LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER (M)
(US)

CAST: Angelina Jolie, Iain Glen, Daniel Craig, Noah Taylor, Leslie Phillips, Mark Collie and Jon Voight

DIRECTOR: Simon West

PRODUCER: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Colin Wilson

SCRIPT: Patrick Massett, Simon West, John Zinman

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter Menzies Jr.

EDITOR: Glen Scantlebury

MUSIC: Bono, Adam Clayton, Michael Kamen, Larry Mullen Jr., The Edge (song)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Kirk M. Petruccelli

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: June 21, 2001

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount Home Entertainment

VIDEO RELEASE: December 14, 2001 (rental); April 12, 2002 (sell-thru)







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017