Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Here's another video game movie title where we have to look at what 'Tomb Raider' was at the time. Lara Croft was not what she is today. She had a few games under her belt, they were popular, and she was something of a sex symbol. She was a strong, independent female character, but was sure to be made "sexy" as well. Looking at her pixels nowadays, the idea is just plain embarrassing. But when it came to casting Angelina Jolie to play her in the movie, knowing the character at the time, and Jolie being something of an "it" girl, it was pretty much perfect.
We first meet Lara during a training exercise within her family mansion, where she lives with her assistant Bryce (Noah Taylor) and butler, Hilary (Chris Barrie). A dream of her father (real-life father, Jon Voight) leads her to a mysterious clock which sets her on a path to locate two halves of something called the "Triangle of Light"; a relic with the ability to control time. She finds herself on a race to find the halves against the Illuminati, who wish to rejoin the two halves of the triangle for their own selfish gain. It's your standard 'Indiana Jones' race between good and evil for a relic that has the potential to change things forever. The Illuminati race to use it, Lara races to destroy it before they can.
In the meantime, Lara isn't without a little friendly competition from Alex West (Daniel Craig), a fellow adventurer who was hired by Manfred Powell (Iain Glen) to locate the halves of the triangle for the Illuminati. You somewhat enjoy the way Lara and Alex play off each other, and it is interesting seeing Craig in something long before he became Bond. But all in all, I have to say that the film is somewhat formulaic, and if you've seen any standard adventure story like this, you can predict how it's all going to go down. Having said that, this is also a good example of a video game movie where I tend to enjoy it more than others. I wasn't really into the older games of the time at all, so for a 'Tomb Raider' movie, I felt like it had what it needed.
I think where the movie fails lies within its overall predictability and unoriginality. It is certainly better than 'Wing Commander' in that sense, but you can't really deny that the problems do still exist. But again, for 2001, this was certainly one of the better video game adaptations we had for the time. In fact, I'd probably argue that it still is. It may not be perfect, but having played a little bit here and there, it's not far off from what the original games (or at least game) showed. The shining light in the film is certainly Jolie's performance as Lara Croft. I can still remember thinking Elizabeth Hurley would have been perfect for this role, but it's not like Jolie messed it up at all. I can remember being pleasantly surprised at her portrayal of the character, from what little I knew of that character anyway.
As time has moved forward, Lara Croft has since become much more of an adventurer and much less of an awkward graphical sex symbol. If I'm being totally honest, I prefer the 2018 film over this, but I still think this was what fit for the time, and it works for what it's supposed to be. The film's only real problem in my eyes is that it has since been dated. Nowadays, we really lean towards the new Lara Croft. We like the rough and tumble bad ass Lara as opposed to the femme fatale Lara that this is. Here we have almost more of a Bond girl, and things aren't dated in what I'd say is a bad way, it's just that we have since moved on. But for a video game movie for 2001, this really isn't that bad.
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