LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER
Reviewed November 25th, 2001 by James Thomas
Angelina Jolie as an action hero? I had my doubts, but Mrs. Billy-Bob definitely pulled it off; she IS Lara Croft. The story finds Croft in search of ancient pieces of a device that can control time, and finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy to control time perpetrated by a group known as “The Illuminati”. I, as usual, won’t give much of the story away, (heavy sarcasm) but after many action-packed adventures, our heroine triumphs over evil and saves the day. The writers of the film left us with a mildly entertaining piece, sort of a hybrid of The Mummy, Indiana Jones, and Mission Impossible 2. Where those films were entertaining and held my interest, Tomb Raider fell short. I can’t really put my finger on the reason I didn’t like this film as much as those listed, but I didn’t. I think that Tomb Raider was much more of a “dark” film, attitude-wise. It lacked the humor of the previously mentioned films, and it had little “feel good” value to it. The characters seem devoid of any human emotion really (with the exception of “Bryce”, played by Noah Taylor). The action sequences were great, from the beginning robot battle, to the last dogsled scene. Choreography was obviously excellent, as were all of the stunts (watch for the obvious M.I. 2 motorcycle stunts). The story itself was no worse than Indy, or even The Mummy (which I am sure everyone will admit was a weak story), but it just didn’t hold me. I definitely could not watch the film more than twice.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on the disc was fantastic; very detailed and excellent use of the surrounds. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer left a bit to be desired I thought. There were times when the video was somewhat fuzzy, times when it even appeared slightly grainy, but the majority of time it was nice and clear, with vivid colors. I wouldn’t say the video was ever extremely detailed, but I definitely didn’t find it the least bit distracting.
The disc is crammed with extras. The deleted scenes were informative, and they should’ve been integrated into the actual film; it may’ve turned out better. The documentary on the stunts of the film was awesome, probably more entertaining than the film itself. I was surprised that Ms. Jolie actually did some of the stunts. The “Digging Into Tomb Raider” section delves into the evolution of the character Lara Croft, from the video game to live action, and also gives a pretty good “making of” look at the movie. “Crafting Lara Croft” shows how Angelina became Lara, from tattooed actress to busty action heroine; another very intriguing section. I came away with a newfound respect for Ms. Jolie after watching this sequence; she really was dedicated to her performance in the film. A video for U2’s performance of “elevation” is also on the disc (not being a big U2 fan, I didn’t care to check it out). I didn’t see anything particularly exciting about the “alternate title” section, but the “Are you game” section was cool, showing a lot of the Tomb Raider video game sequences and gets more into the history of Lara and Tomb Raider. I don’t usually use my computer for DVD viewing, but I did use it to check out the DVD-ROM material, which is also pretty cool, and features a game demo, a “Tomb Raider Timeline”, and a couple of other online-specific features that I didn’t get to check out. I honestly enjoyed the extras much more than the actual movie.
I guess we really shouldn’t expect much more from a movie based on a video game, but personally, I’d rather go out and rent the video game rather than the movie. You decide for yourselves.
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