Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Directed by Simon West
Starring Angelina Jolie, Iain Glen, Daniel Craig, Noah Taylor, Chris Barrie, and Jon Voight.
This is the one summer blockbuster I was looking forward to all year. Imagine my horror, then, as day after day went by and I missed opportunity after opportunity to see it. Imagine my even greater horror when the reviews started coming in, and they weren’t that good. Imagine my complete and utter horror when even my friends said it wasn’t that good. Hopes were high for Tomb Raider. The track record for movies based on video games hasn’t been very good, but since Lara Croft had a well-developed back story, people were hoping that Tomb Raider would be the first great one. And now, a month and half after its release, I’d be able to see for myself.
We catch up with Lara Croft (Jolie) at home, and she’s feeling rather depressed. She’s between adventures right now, but besides that, it’s the anniversary of her father’s death. It’s coinciding with a rare planetary alignment that her father would have loved to have seen. Then, one night, Lara discovers an old artifact in a hidden room in her stately mansion. It’s a clock of some kind, and it’s ticking down to something. She’s pointed to an expert named Powell (Glen), who claims to know nothing about the clock. But, when the clock is stolen from her that night, an old letter from her father is delivered to her. The clock is the key to an artifact called the Clock of Ages, that has the ability to control time. Powell is with a secret society called the Illuminate, which needs the Clock of Ages for its own dark designs. The race is on then between Lara and Powell to find the two halves of the Clock, which were hidden at opposite ends of the Earth. Making things more dangerous is the fact that Powell has teamed up with Lara’s old rival, Alex West (Craig). Lara has her allies too, though: her faithful butler Hillary (Barrie), and her resident tech-head Bryce (Taylor). Who will find the two halves first, Croft or Powell? Or will the two even have to form an alliance to get it in time? And what’s the connection between the Illuminate and Lara’s father?
When I first heard that this movie was in development, my initial thought was “The best we can hope for is a lame Indiana Jones clone.” Guess what? It’s not that lame. Similarities to Indy are there, but since Indy established this genre 20 years ago, it can be forgiven. True, Indy did have the better plot and the better director, but that was because Spielberg and Lucas were behind the camera. This time around, we’ve got the director of Con Air. There were some odd things in the movie, like why did we have to show the giant CGI monsters in slow motion? No wonder someone told me about odd editing choices. It was a bit slow to start, but it did pick up about halfway through. And, if I may say so, it was a bit better than the similar Mummy Returns which also came out this summer. In the grand scheme, though, I don’t think it was worth the wait I endured. Essentially, it’s the opposite of Final Fantasy: I was expecting lame, but I got good.