Newest Review: ... pushing blocks to reach high places, or trying of alternate keys to access different areas of the tombs, and present is reality an... more
The stuff of obsessions
Lara Croft Tomb Raider Special Edition (DVD)
Member Name: MichelleScott
Lara Croft Tomb Raider Special Edition (DVD)
Date: 16/07/01, updated on 16/07/01 (58 review reads)
Advantages: Appeals to people who enjoy the games, Appeals to Angelina Jolie fans (and there are LOTS of them!)
Disadvantages: Intrusive music
Important bits first, in case you don’t want to read through all this stuff :
There are no sex scenes
The violence is pretty standard and not likely to shock your average 6-yr-old
The swearing is mild
It is a James Bond/Indiana Jones/The Mummy-type movie. A good way to spend a rainy summer afternoon, not likely to make much of an impact at The Oscars.
OK, that was the sort of stuff that I wanted to know before going to see this film, simply because my 9-yr-old son wanted to see it. I found out from reviews that it was pretty tame. It only got its 12 certificate because of the violence but most kids have played the games so aren’t bothered by that at all.
If you are from Mars and have never have of Tomb Raider, it is a film based on a character in a PC/Playstation game. The game is a shoot-em-up with a bit of thought, quite complicated but loved by young boys and men. This has quite a lot to do with the arrangement of pixels of the character, Lara Croft. If you want to know more about Lara’s pixel arrangement, especially in the chest area, read on.
I was prepared to sit through this film firstly to please my son and secondly to see Chris Barrie (Rimmer in Red Dwarf, Mr Brittas in The Brittas Empire, several puppets in Spitting Image). I was also prepared to be disappointed that he wasn’t in the film enough, which he wasn’t. Why oh why didn’t they give him a bigger role?
Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft is wonderful. An American actress successfully playing a British character yet again (Bridget Jones, etc.). Angelina appeared to come from nowhere but her list of film credits is long. She has a wonderful, exotic beauty but apparently she isn’t overly pleased with her bottom. She requested a double to play the shots that show her bottom. Glad I’m not the only one who would like a butt-double. She is quite a unique person. Apparently she wears an amulet which has the b
lood of her husband in it. That’s not quite as gruesome as it sounds, though – he is still alive.
Although not a popular actress in the tabloid sense, Angelina has an impressive list of film credits to her name. She appears to have accepted deep, dark, meaningful parts in the past and Lara Croft is a completely different role for her. When people expressed doubts about the advisability of her accepting such a side-step, she told them to lighten up! She sounds quite a character – unconventional, confident, unusually beautiful and athletically fit. Rather like the Lara Croft character in fact.
She readily admitted that the role required little acting talent but she did work at it. Before the film she studied with the SAS and spend almost a year in England, learning about the nobility (I didn’t know there were any left).
Tomb Raider made $48.2 million in the first week in the States. Whether that says a lot for the success of the Tomb Raider games, the gullibility of the American public or the size of Angelina Jollie’s fan club (or the size of anything else), I’m not sure.
The film is directed by Simon West. He admitted to it, apparently. His other noteworthy credits include ‘The General’s Daughter’ (?) and ‘Con Air’ (?!). Simon turned down the chance to direct this film, which he refers to as “James Bond on acid”, 4 or 5 times. He loathed the original script, because it had scenes with people visiting the Queen. That’s a shame, Princes William and Harry would probably have convinced Granny to be in it for a chance of meeting Angelina.
The Executive Producer was impressive - Stuart Baird, who also produced ‘Mission: Impossible II’, ‘Demolition Man’, ‘Lethal Weapon 1& 2’, ‘Gorillas in the Mist’, ‘The Omen’, etc.
It has been compared, of course, to the James Bond films.
The sequels will probably go on as long. It is similar to them in many ways – with its surreal fight scenes (choreographed by experts. Why didn’t they just drag in a couple of streetwise kids to show them how to do it?), International locations (Iceland & Cambodia, this is jet-set stuff), weird, unbelievable plots (Leslie Philips as a baddie?!). I think they missed an opportunity to have Angelina dress in as sophisticated a manner as Bond, though. The closest she gets is an inappropriate outfit when trekking across ice (a t-shirt and fur-hooded, floor-length cape that would surely have tripped the huskies up), and a simple little white dress at the end. She didn’t have the gizmos that Bond has either – apart, of course, from her Erikson-spnsored mobile phone and her Land Rover sponsored 4-wheel drive. I’m surprised she didn’t play on a Playstation at some point.
~~ THE MUSIC ~~
I can’t do a review of Tomb Raider without mentioning the music. Dreadful. It is very intrusive throughout the whole film. I suppose 12 year olds might like it, though. There is music by Bono, Adam Clayton, Bootsy Collins, Larry Mullen Jr, Nine Inch Nails, Graeme Revell, Trent Reznor, The Edge and, incongruously, Bach!
~~ THE PLOT ~~
There is a plot. It could have been better, but it is there. The film opens with Lara in combat against some sort of robotic creature. Although she spent time with the SAS and is undoubtedly very fit, the fight scenes aren’t real enough for my liking. Far too improbable. Here she wipes out the robot and we realise that this is just a training session – she is actually in her mansion, aided by Bryce, a computer-expert, played by Noah Taylor. Here we meet her wonderful butler, Hillary, played to perfection by Chris Barrie. Chris didn’t have much to work with, but he did it with aplomb.
While restlessly (and, of course, sexily) sleeping that night, Lara dreams about her f
ather, who we discover is missing, probably dead. The dead father is played by Angelina’s real father, Jon Voight (‘Pearl Harbor’, ‘Mission: Impossible’, ‘Deliverance’, ‘Midnight Cowboy’). Although dead, Lara’s father plays quite a large role in the film and it is good to see them playing scenes together.
Lara gets up and starts smashing the house up, eventually finding, just in the knick of time, a strange timepiece. This timepiece is the main thrust of the plot as it leads Lara to the main baddie, Manfred Powell, played by Iain Glen (‘Gorillas in the Mist’). His ‘unusual-but-handsome-anyway’ looks added to the character and his acting was good. His acting should be good, though, as he is a bit of a luvvie. He graduated from RADA and has done all the Shakespeare stuff. He was also in ‘The Blue Room’ with Nicole Kidman. Manfred’s sidekick looks like the slightly effeminate one that used to be in the TV series ‘Bread’ but isn’t him.
Lara’s mansion is raided for the timepiece, which turns out to be a key (a bit like the one in ‘The Mummy’). This was quite a good part of the film, for me. I had seen a ‘Making of Tomb Raider’ short just days earlier. Angelina had done a lot of training on a set-up a bit like a bungee jump and this is where it was used. She looks good and it was quite impressive. Improbable, again, but impressive. They succeed in stealing the timepiece/key and Lara sets off after them.
The timepiece/key leads to two triangular things which, when put together, give the holder god-like power. So that’s where Mrs Thatcher lost it.
That is basically the plot. There is some stuff about an ancient organisation who know all about this (again like ‘The Mummy’) but that’s not terribly important.
~~ THE LOVE INTEREST ~~
There isn’t muc
h. No intimate scenes at all, actually. Daniel Craig (‘Elizabeth’ and the TV series ‘Moll Flanders’) plays Alex West, who appears to be a baddie but is what passes for Lara’s love interest. They don’t kiss or touch or anything, but she is interested in him enough to turn back time after he is stabbed by Manfred Powell.
~~ THE IMPORTANT STUFF - THE BOOBS ~~
In the games, Lara’s boobs were a big selling point. They are a double-D size. Angelina is “only” a C size (reviewer sobs quietly into her formerly proud bosom) so had to wear a special bra for the role. It doesn’t take her quite up to the size of the Lara in the game, but impressive none-the-less.
~~ OTHER STUFF ~~
Guys will want to know that there is a shower scene. It’s not something to get worked up about though.
Angelina trained hard for the film – and continued during filming. She used a boxing bag, pull-up bar, etc., in her room.
She is considering doing a sequel. She did enjoy being Lara and says when she watched the film she realised how much she missed being her.
She hadn’t played the Tomb Raider game before being offered the film, but made herself familiar with them as part of her research. Eidos gave her the secrets to getting through the games because she finds them too complicated (so do I – heh, we DO have something in common after all!).
She loved the filming in Cambodia - which she described as the most beautiful place she has ever been. The Cambodian authorities wouldn’t let the crew take in real guns so the guns in that part of the film are actually rubber. She was less keen on the Iceland filming, describing it as too cold and wet. Surprisingly, she said the dogs hated it too (there are sled dogs in the film), and didn’t always get on with each other.
There was a Hollywood rumour that Angelina sleeps with a knife (as she does
in the film). It is true. She lived in New York for 3 years and slept with a knife under her mattress. Now she keeps her knives in a locked case in her weapons room. Well, I’m glad I’m not giving her a bad review. Let’s be clear – I like her, I’m just not that wild about the Tomb Raider plot!!! Angelina became in instant mother when she married her husband Billy Bob (Southerner, do we think?!), who had 2 children. Like any good mother, though, she does keep them away from the weapons room. Aah.
Angelina did a lot of the stunts herself. The director kept having to remind her that she wasn’t really Lara Croft. She got quite a few injuries, especially at first - the worst was a torn ligament. She also bears lots of little scars from the harness from the bungee cord.
The hair was a nuisance. Angelina says she kept getting hit in the face with it.
She is only 26!
~~ DURABILITY ~~
I know that as soon as this film comes out on video it will be on 12-hrs a day in our house. My son and all his friends are obsessed with it. It's not a classic, not good drama, not a great plot and there is no outstanding acting. However, by being about Lara Croft I am sure it will remain popular for a long time to come.