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What is going on in the film industry? Did everyone involved in this production take stupid pills one morning, show up on the lot and announce in THX Surround Sound, "We are going to take a possibly lucrative franchise and give it such an inane plot line that people will shell out 12 bucks a pop and leave the theatre hating any and all who were involved with this project!"
Admittedly that was probably never said. So what happened? I mean, really, what happened here? Tombraider is such a mess I don't even know where to begin on it.
No, I know what to do. Start with the good points, because they are so few in number it won't take long to get to the part where this dissolves into a rant about Simon West and summer action films.
Good point #1. The casting of Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft.
In spite of the fact that she is on every single entertainment gossip show gushing about her hubby Billy Bob Thornton and their demented velcro sex-life.
Despite all the endless sickening gossip/news stories about her she is the perfect choice for Lara Croft.
The second good point. The second and final good point that is. The mansion action sequence. Well shot, well laid out, intense and a lot of fun to watch Lara jump around her living room bound by a bungee cord as she takes out invaders of her home. Flipping, kicking, rolling, shooting, and bouncing off the walls, Lara Croft comes off as one kick ass action heroine. Once this scene ends, the film, such as it is, was over for me. Still, another mind cramping hour follows.
Ready for the rant? Here it comes.
The so-called director of this mess. Rumor has it this is the man who may be given the reigns to The Prisoner as a franchise as well. Therefore this is a man to be stopped at all costs. Some of you out there may have enjoyed his first outing, Con Air, a silly wanna-be Michael Bay action flick. Even Malkovich has gone on record in the last little while saying the only reason he did a film like that was money.
West then followed Con Air up with the equally successful and see-through thriller The General's Daughter, which also made a huge chunk of coin. Now he has done it again with Lara Croft. Huge cash was earned but at what cost? West has taken the biggest video game character in the last decade, a character that appeals to both sexes, and made her charmless, boring, padded and, oddly, almost sexless.
Then there is the story. A brief synopsis here: The planets are going into alignment and the secret society of the Illuminati is seeking an ancient talisman that gives its possessor the ability to control time. To do this they need a certain key to help them in their search, and they have to find the talisman in one week or wait another 5,000 years for the planets to realign. Lara discovers the key hidden in a wall of her mansion, thanks to her dear old dead father (Jon Voight). This leads a race to finding the other element to start the chain reaction, and so on.
Major problem with the story line? Easy, Lara Croft, knowing what the possible outcome is, races ahead to triumphantly grab the second half of the puzzle. She knows when used properly it can alter time and destroy life as they know it. So when she gets the second piece, why doesn't she a) run off with it into hiding until the planetary alignment passes, or b) simply destroy the piece right then and there? Stupid illogical heroine!
My final major glitch with the film is that it is boring. The action scenes (save for the mansion sequence) are poorly thought out, slow paced and not the adrenaline high one expects from a summer blockbuster. The other weird thing, as Lara Croft runs from some bad guys in her house, she enters her garage which is stock full of all sorts of kick-ass speed vehicles and do any of them get used? Except for a brief motorcycle sequence, no. So where is the over-the-top car chase or motorcycle sequence? So much potential, none of it making it on to the big screen. Sad.
So, when it comes right down to it, this is not a movie I will be adding to my DVD collection when it comes out, even if the commentary track by Simon West has him repeating over and over 'I am truly sorry you spent money on this.'
Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul
Special Features: Audio Commentary, Featurette, DVD-ROM Features, Deleted Scenes, Additional Footage, Music Videos, Interactive Games, Photo Gallery, Web Access
Video Format: Widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio
Add'l Features: Enhanced for 16x9 TVs
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround: English
Dolby Digital Surround: English
Dolby Digital Surround: French
Coding: Regionally Coded for Region 1
The DVD Review:
Haven't seen the DVD yet, but there have been a lot of notes hitting the wires about this one. Possibly a re-cut version by the director, deleted scenes and the lot.