Movie Review

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality.

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
STAFF WRITER

Very Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens/Adults
Genre:
Action Adventure
Length:
1 hr. 40 min.
Year of Release:
2001
USA Release:
June 15, 2001
Featuring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Daniel Craig, Iain Glen and Leslie Phillips
Director: Simon West
Producer: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin and Colin Wilson
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

“Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” has created a lot of interest over the past few years. It has been a very popular RPG video game. I am not sure that all the interest has been “healthy”. The game comprises of a young woman wearing tight clothes, able to handle an M-16, and the cunning of Indiana Jones. The concerns of 12-year-old boys taking on the role of a women and acting out violence seem to be ignored by many parents. Lara Croft’s image and game has generated over 1000 Web sites. Young boys can discover everything from gaming codes to the sinful world of adult porn.

Lara Croft:Tomb RaiderThe character of Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) does not leave much for the imagination. Director Simon West has bragged about the “padded” enhancements for the actress and his private copy of Angelina showering nude. Yes, the film does contain partial nudity of Angelina and also of a man later in the story.

The plot centers around Lady Lara Croft. She is the daughter of the late tomb raider Sir Richard Croft (Jon Voit). The conspiracy tales of the Illuminati are revived in this very predictable script. Once every 5000 years, all the planets are aligned. If you have the “All-seeing” eye and a special triangle; you can be “god” and control time. The triangle is in two pieces and placed far apart. The journey takes it’s searchers from the caves in Angkor Wat to the frozen Arctic Circle. It is Lara Croft’s mission (should she decide to accept it or not) to stop a villain named Manfred Powell (Iain Glen) from doing this and save all of mankind.

The film does have excellent special effects, but there is no suspense. In fact, viewing the film is like watching someone play a video game (that may be the point). There is one scene where Croft fights these characters and new ones continue to appear. Each one is larger and looks like the usual “bosses” that kids try to beat in video games. There is plenty of high-wire stunts and cliff-hanging action. All of this is blended together with a very “cold” form of violence.

Is there anything positive? There is very little language and only implied sex. There is heart warming connection between a daughter and the father she longs to see again. This is one film that viewers will either love or hate.

Can I recommend it? I am afraid you will have to make that choice. I do not think it is an appropriate film for young teenage boys. The film also contains a strong scene that makes fun of God. It also highly emphasizes the Buddha faith as a powerful religious force.

The R-rated movie “Original Sin”, also starring Jolie in a “lust-filled” drama, was moved from a February release date to August. It is obvious that the studios wanted her R-rated appearance to follow the PG-13 one. That is one conspiracy you can count on. I do know that this father of a 10 and 15-year-old son is not planning to take them to see a possible “Soul-Raider.”


Viewer Comments
In a homage to the Pink Panther movies, where Inspector Clouseau had his manservant jump out at him to practice self-defense, Lara Croft does battle with a robot in the opening scenes. Unfortunately, the movie wants to be “Raiders of Lost Ark”, but generates none of the excitement or heart. Even those who regularly play the video game this film is based on, will probably be disappointed… the whole plot is confusing, and does little to make Croft’s quest to save the world feel urgent. The film’s director used to direct commercials and music videos, and it shows. it’s as if there was a hope that the audience would have short attention spans, and not notice the plot holes. The film is being marketed on the appeal of Angelina Jolie, in order to bring her many male fans in. Ms. Jolie is a good actress, but this film adds nothing to her resume. There are mild sex references, and scenes where Lara Croft is partially naked or scantily clad. Profanity is low, but violence is high, although little gore is shown. A flashback to the death of Lara’s father is startling. As far as popcorn movies go, this is not that enjoyable.
My Ratings: [Average / 1]
—Hillari Hunter, age 39
This film is very week on originality and story line, plot, you name it. All the relationships that she has in the movie (her old boyfriend, father) are shallow and are not built upon. The script is strained at times with the one liners. The out of the blue Buddah scene where the monk heals her, that had NOTHING to do with anything. There were a few scene’s of action sequences that were pretty good. Reading the other reviews here, it seams that the other christians overlook the fact there were half naked people walking around in the movie. Stuff like that does not add anything to the movie, especially one that is so limited to begin with. Spend your money one something with more thought put into it.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Eric Johnson, age 28
Add cardboard cutout characters to special effects set in musty old places and you have Tomb Raider. All of the main characters lack anything resembling humanity as they mechanically spit out lines in scene after scene. Only three sidekicks have any life at all, and then only because they demonstrate human flaws. Lara Croft, the villain, and the other archaeologist (characters so forgettable I can’t/don’t care enough to remember the day after I saw the film) all seem perfect in their own way. They are all rich, beautiful, tought, smart, etc. with one feature distinguishing them from another (one misses her daddy, another is greedy, and the third is powerhungry). The plot is tedious, the action canned, and the “twists” either so horribly foreshadowed or unbelievable that it ruins the value of the whole movie. Check your brain into the library and don’t go see this stinker.
My Ratings: [Average / 1]
—Rob Baranowski, age 31, non-Christian
My husband and I saw this movie together and we liked the action and music of the film, but the plot and religious issues were horrible. It was blasphemous all the way through! It spoke of the illuminatti, it spoke of becoming God, it spoke of being able to sit at the right hand of God, which we all know who that position belongs to, the only One Jesus Christ. I really enjoyed playing the Tomb Raider games on the play-station. This movie was a let-down. It was intended to be controversial, to draw young people into the theater to see their heroine fight for good… but even in this movie, that couldn’t be justified. Both sides were evil. Dark against dark, but portraying one of the darksides as “light.” Many different religions are involved in this film. Buddhism, new-agism, and satanism. It was all anti-Christian. If you are a Christian, and are thinking about taking a non-Christian friend to see this movie, think twice. It will be hard to witness to that friend after the movie is over.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 4½]
—Amy, age 30
This film actually has very little objectionable material. There is one scene where she is in the shower, but nothing is really shown. Violence is normal, nothing too bad, and there are no sex scenes. The plotline is alright—it has to do with an ancient machine that can give the bearer the power to go through time. They can move forward, backward, etc. Lara Croft, after finding a clock counting down to a planetary alignment, goes off to seek the device and stop the Illuminati from gaining the device. From a Christian perspective, this film does have some objectionable things in it, as mentioned above. But there is no gratuitous violence, and no really bad sex scenes. The occult does not play a strong part in the film—only the planetary alignment part of it is occultish. I enjoyed watching it, and I think it should be viewed. BOTTOM LINE: Okay film—John Michael
I though this movie was awesome. Not campy like past video games movies. Great casting, storyline was good, awesome matrix-style special affects. A great blend of humor, non-stop action, and Indiana Jones style adventure. Although Hollywood added some uneeded swear words, and some very slight nudity, I still recomend this movie to anyone.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Andrew, age 19
This movie has gotten mostly poor reviews from secular and Christian reviewers. I did not find it to be as bad as everyone says it is. It is one of those “check-your-brain-at-the-door” kind of popcorn movies. Angelina Jolie’s physique if befitting the role as Lara Croft and will be appreciated most by young men [perhaps old ones as well]. There are the usual over-the-top special effects for this type of movie and some of it is pretty good but the dialogue is pretty lame. I realize that this is a comic book/video game character brought to life but the screenplay did little to give any of the characters any kind of dimension so you simply don’t care about them. Your money is probably better spent on seeing it when it comes out in video but the disadvantage is that a lot of the impact of the special effects are lost on the small screen.
My Ratings: [Average / 2½]
—D Kristiansen, age 51
Tomb Raider was in general an entertaining movie. I was a little disappointed the plot was not a BIT more realistic but it IS based on a video game after all. Would I recommend seeing it? Depends. On the positive side the sets and scenery are really great. Violence, some swearing, and two questionable shower scenes knock the moral rating down a notch or two though. That said I was (happily) surprised at how little of the latter two were actually a part of the movie. To sum it up the big screen was a cool way to see this movie but I am thinking I wouldn’t have lost too much by waiting for the video!
My Ratings: [Average / 4½]
—Somewhat disappointed, age 19
If you like action, special effects, and cool (impossible) moves, you will probably enjoy this movie. If you like a good plot, you may not like this movie. If sensuality, violence, and profanity offend you, you will be offended. The video game character is designed to be sensual; the movie character is no different—complete with a steamy shower scene and a physique that is, shall we say, larger than life. No animals are killed, like in the game, but some people are. The rest of the victims are a machine and some stone creatures. She is also ministered to at a Buddhist temple. On the positive side, she has a strong love for her father. There are no sex scenes, and the nudity—well it comes close but it is not completely shown (if that can be considered a positive!).
My Ratings: [Average / 2½]
—Deanna Marquart, age 30
Wow, so many bad reviews. And to think, the viewing I saw had the audience clapping in the end. My personal opinion, barring the tight fitting dresses and obvious cliche lines, Tomb Raider doesn’t seem that offensive and shouldn’t be too much of concern to Christians. Anyone who doesn’t like movies that are obviously marketed to make money and have a poor, overused story line, however, should stay far away from this one.
My Ratings: [Average / 2½]
—brianG, age 18
Our whole family went for Father’s Day, and everyone had a blast. So it’s a video game set to cinema. If you know that going in, you will be pleasantly surprised. it’s fun, and I think the reviewers were off on this one.
—C. Lozano, age 45
I have played the Tomb Raider video games, and have been a fan for a long time. I went to see Tomb Raider as an Action/Adventure movie—and that is exactly what I saw. Although some parts were a little slow, it gave me just what I expected to see. There was a little bad language (no “f” words), and some violence (which I expected). Angelina Jolie (who played Lara Croft) was an excellent actress, and played the role quite well—just as I imagined she should be. There was no sex, and only some very brief partial nudity (shower scene). I was very pleased with the movie, and will definitely buy the DVD when it comes out.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Joe Manity, age 44
In spite of what seems to be the popular opinion, I found this film to be quite enjoyable and very true to the game. Although I would like to have seen more real suspense and perhaps a slightly more “complete” plot if you will, I feel that this film was well worth the $5.50 I paid to see it. Christians should be aware, however, that there is a small but noticeable amount of profanity and a bit (as would be expected) of sexual dialogue. The film also expresses certain values and beliefs that would contradict those of Christianity (individuals trying to achieve the power of God, etc…), but considering the norms of Hollywood today, this film was actually quite tame. The only thing I found truly offensive was the scene in which Angelina Jolie is leaving her bathtub, and although there is no real nudity (but one could argue that it is certainly borderline-nudity), the scene is without a doubt intended to be sexually enticing.
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—KristianChild, age 18
…This movie does have some profanity. But no sex scenes…
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Anonymous, age teen
Movie Critics
…expensive and overblown… a staggeringly bad picture… a shallow, cliche-ridden mess… should be an embarrassment to everybody…
—Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune, Metromix Movies
Tomb Raider is simply awful. …It lands with a thud. …Last night’s audience… talked through a lot of the screening, laughed inappropriately, and were heard muttering on the way out. …Please: Go to a barbecue, read a book, learn to scuba. But stay far, far away.
—Roger Friedman, Fox News
…The hazy plot exists mainly to show off Jolie gracefully gliding on a dogsled, dangling from bungee cords, showering and wearing lots of formfitting outfits. So much attention is paid to Lara’s image, and so little to story and dialogue, that “Tomb Raider” actually has Lara utter the hackneyed phrase, “Well, that’s a secret. If I told you, I’d have to kill you.”…
—David Germain, AP Movie Writer
…the dialogue slips in a few obscenities which trigger a caution flag for discerning viewers and earn a “slightly objectionable” rating.
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
C- …we’re still searching for the thrills. …the action sequences feel so few and far between.
—E Online