Tomb Raider

Based on the popular computer/video games, Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie (Girl Interrupted, Gia) as the privileged, but adventurous Lara Croft, takes the audience on an entertaining adventure filmed in Cambodia, England, and Iceland.

Jolie’s acting skills and screen presence are so strong that it would be hard to find any other actress who would be more ideal as Lara Croft.  Producers and Director Simon West (Con Air, General’s Daughter) fill the cast with an appropriately British cast.

Daniel Craig (I Dreamed of Africa, Elizabeth) co-stars as Alex Marrs, one of Lara Croft’s colleagues in the “tomb raiding” field.

Chris Berrie (Red Dwarf TV series and movies, comedian), Hilary the butler and Noah Taylor (Shine, Almost Famous) Bryce support Lara in her various endeavors.  Taylor gets to venture outside the mansion in some of the adventures as the story hints at an interesting dynamic of his relationship with Lara which will hopefully be expanded in the two planned sequels.

Iain Glenn (Beautiful Creatures) plays the antagonist Manfred Powell who finds himself crossing paths with Lara in various, breathtaking locales.  The story centers on a globetrotting search for two pieces of an ancient triangular artifact that gives its possessor great powers.

Jolie’s real life father, Jon Voight plays Lara’s father, Lord Croft, in a few key sequences.  Notice how the other characters exploit Lara’s relationship with her father to reveal her only visible weakness throughout the story.  The flashbacks near the end of the movie also boost the emotional impact of this father-daughter relationship and its impact on Lara’s life.

Jolie does a good job with her British accent while the movie’s low-key humor, both star choices and some “tongue in cheek” dialogue, may appeal more to international audiences.  Expectations of big laughs aren’t the main focus of action movies, but a big laugh instead of a group of snickers would’ve been nice.

There are no “James Bond” or Schwarzenegger-like quips (a very commendable move by the writers) as the story focuses on Lara, her background, and her life’s quests.  Lara has seemingly unlimited financial resources and a brave, fiery attitude which makes her one of the most appealing female characters in recent time.

You don’t have to play the Tomb Raider games to understand the movie.  The exotic locations and Jolie’s star appeal help the slower sequences and small doses of humor in the story.  The short running time of one hour and 33 minutes may disappoint some, but at least the movie packs enough punches to make you eager for the sequels.  Recommended with a few reservations (**1/2 out of four stars) and rated PG-13 for violence and sensuality.

Copyright © Michael Siebenaler

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