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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

An entombment of art

By Bogdan Fedeles

staff writer

Directed by Simon West

Written by John Zinman, Michael Werb, Patrick Massett, and Michael Colleary

Starring Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Daniel Craig, Iain Glen


Although it has been called a movie, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is very far from having anything to do with the art of cinematography. At best, this motion picture may be considered a random exercise of computer-generated special effects, or a very expensive advertisement for a computer game. From an artistic point of view, this movie is a total fiasco -- one of the worst to hit the silver screen in the last few years.

Inspired by the video-game series, Tomb Raider features Lara Croft, a young British archaeologist on a dangerous mission. Given the success of the game series, the producers of the movie thought that they could make additional revenue by bringing the character to the screen. Any expectation of character development goes unfulfilled; the movie is just a replay of the video game with empty action sequences. Watch someone play Tomb Raider or watch the movie -- it’s the same experience.

As you might expect, the story is pathetic. There is no twist, no tension, and almost no logic. Lara Croft incessantly fights the bad guys, and after a linear, totally predictable stream of events, wins the game in the end. Although at times the plot is reminiscent of the Indiana Jones franchise, Tomb Raider is so bad that no action sequence can be enjoyed. There is no comedy, no drama, and no emotion. It is just a video game.

Angelina Jolie’s acting is almost nonexistent. Besides boasting her ample breasts, she conveys very little emotion and her character is as cold and emotionless as the video game character. Lara follows a pre-programmed path where she shoots all the monsters, robots, and bad guys for 90% of the movie. In the rest, she executes demanding stunts that are in fact useless re-creations of arcade game sequences. The extremely few scenes that show some trace of humanity of the character are sketchy and unconvincing.

Lara Croft’s father is played by Jon Voight, but his part is so small that it almost goes unobserved. He is on screen for a mere two minutes. Again, there is nothing we can learn about the character, he is merely a voice that does not stand out in the context of the movie.

The negative characters are presented in the same manner: emotionless and unconvincing. We don’t even hate them, because although they are Lara’s foes, their lack of emotion makes us be indifferent. They are against Lara, so they are probably the bad guys. As in any stupid bedtime story, they want to conquer and rule the world, and Lara is going to stop them. Nothing interesting here.

The visual effects are the only highlights of the film. However, there are too many special effects, and after some time they get very annoying and uninteresting. All the non-human foes of Lara (stone monsters, six-handed giants, armored robots, etc.) are very accurate animations of their video-game counterparts. Their design is nice, and the animations are well-rendered, but because of their abundance, the movie feels more like a video game. As a result, Tomb Raider ceases to be a movie and is a complete waste of time.