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Lara Croft Tomb Raider

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Broad Adventure

Tomb Raider is worth checking out at least once. It has some good action pieces, Angelina Jolie in tight clothing, good effects and other production values, but on the whole it just doesn't quite work.

Strangely, there's really nothing the filmmakers really did wrong. The movie does do exactly what it was supposed to, but there's something missing.

Based on the popular series of video games, Tomb Raider follows the adventures of Lara Croft, who's kind of a female Indiana Jones (only she relies more on technology than her wits). She doesn't do her archaelogical globetrotting for the money, or for the fame; she does it because she absolutely loves the work, and was basically born into it. In fact, the film opens up and she's seemingly off on another adventure. We soon learn, however, that it's just a simulation she uses to hone her skills.

Then the real story starts: in a week, all nine planets are going to be aligned for the first time in thousands of years. This alignment, however, promises an extra threat: whoever holds both halves of the Triangle of Light will wield the power to alter space and time. Lara sets out to find both halves before her opponents (the Illuminati, an evil secret society) do.

Anyway, the reason Lara wants to hold the power is so she can visit her presumed-to-be-dead father, who has been missing in action since Lara was a little girl. Jon Voight, Jolie's real-life father, pops up periodically to play Lord Croft.

Angelina Jolie is perfectly cast as Lara Croft. She looks just like the video game character, puts on a believable British accent, and is believable as an action heroine. The supporting cast are all fine as well, and even Simon West's direction is up to snuff.

So why does it fail?

The movie itself is decent; worth checking out. But it has a lot more potential than it actually delivers, and we were looking for a more "Indiana Jones" type of story.

Still, considering how most video-games-to-movies turn out, Tomb Raider isn't bad at all.

So if you're a fan of the game, Ms. Jolie, or even just like to munch popcorn through a cheesy action movie, Lara Croft Tomb Raider is definitely worth your time.

The DVD is extremely well done, which shows that when Paramount wants to, they can make a great DVD package. The picture and sound are excellent, and the disc also includes an abundance of extras, something most Paramount DVDs lack. The outstanding picture is enhanced by the fact that the film features some nice locations and sets.

This is also the kind of movie where you really want to have Dolby Digital 5.1. Action movies almost always make good use of the discrete digitial surround, and this one is no exception. Very nicely done.

Extras include "Digging Into Tomb Raider," a documentary featuring cast and crew interviews, "The Stunts of Tomb Raider," "Crafting Lara Croft," "Visual Effects of Tomb Raider," and commentary by Simon West. There is also a look at the video game phenomenon, four really bad deleted scenes (hence them being deleted), an alternate main title sequence, a U2 "Elevation" music video, Tomb Raider Timeline, a game demo, web site archive and access to the online experience.

Overall, a very well done disc.

Tomb Raider, from Paramount Home Entertainment
100 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 Dolby Digital
Starring Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor and Daniel Craig
Produced by Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin and Colin Wilson
Screenplay by Patrick Massett & John Zinman
Directed by Simon West


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Updated May 13, 2006