Thursday Night Movie Club
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
star rating graphicstar rating graphic½
Release Date: June 15, 2001

Director: Simon West
Angelina Jolie
Iain Glen
Daniel Craig
Noah Taylor
Chris Barrie
Jon Voight
Richard Johnson
Lara Croft
Manfred Powell
Alex West
Lord Croft
Distinguished Gentleman
Lara Croft: Tombraider poster
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider graphic Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is fun but is missing in several aspects. Angelina Jolie is very good as the heroine, Lara. The action scenes are first-rate and the set design is wonderful. Yet, I didn't walk out of the theater being blown away, unfortunately. I was hoping for more than a standard action movie.

The opening sequence sets up the tone for the remainder of the movie. Lara is making her way through a labyrinthine tomb searching for some artifact when she set upon by a fantastic mechanical robot. Lara empties her automatic pistols with evident relish as they have no effect on the monster. She defeats the robot by literally pulling its insides out. The scene is played out as a deception so I won't reveal the joke. However, reality kicked in at this point when I was asking myself..."so??".

Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Tomb RaiderThe plot line is pretty much indecipherable. An artifact that can control time itself was created in the crater of a meteor. Fearing that this triangular object would lead to total destruction, it was split into two halves and hidden around the world. Its amazing the amount of technology that existed in Man's prehistory only to be lost for generations. The triangle can only be rejoined during a specific instance that occurs every 5,000 years when the planets align.

Fortunately for the world, but not so for Lara, Lord Croft (Jon Voight) has been aware of a group of mysterious people calling themselves the "Illuminati" who are plotting to reunite the triangle and change history. Lord Croft has found the "key" that will open the hiding places of the triangle. This key is another mysterious object, in this case, a strange clock that only becomes active when the planetary alignment begins.

Angelina Jolie as Lara CroftIn another of the movies spectacular action sequences, the key is stolen from Lara by Manfred Powell (Iain Glen), who is working as a field operative for the Illuminati. He has his own designs on the triangle. The movie begins to fill up with plot holes when a letter arrives from her missing father warning Lara of the dangers ahead. Of course, there is no intelligent reason other than to add suspense that this letter is designed to arrive just as world history is about to be altered. One would think that Lord Croft would give his daughter a little more lead time to find and destroy the triangle. I suppose it is the fact that there is a specific moment when the planets begin to align that the key works. However, a smart man would destroy the entire location where the triangles are hidden just to be on the safe side. Lord Croft could also have simply destroyed the key, but then there would be no reason to make this movie.

This movie plays out like a James Bond film. Lots of amazing stunt/action sequences. One of the ways critics have used to measure and actor as Bond is "how well can he throw a punch?". The same applies to Lara. Jolie can throw a punch and actually looks like she can beat up any guy in this movie.

Other things this movie is sorely missing are romance and humor. Whereas the Bond and Indiana Jones movies combine action, humor, and romance, Lara Croft has action only. She doesn't relate to any of the other characters, including her two assistants. The ending sequence is written to determine whether Lara has any feelings for Alex West. The answer appears to be yes but this wasn't obvious to me.

In the end, the movie is fun to watch, the action is quite stunning. Jolie is a very good Lara Croft. She looks great (for all the males in the audience). But she is not much of a roll model. Unfortunately, her character is as flat as a computer game.