What's a sure fire way to make money off of the raging hormones of teenage boys? Sell them video games with bodacious big breasted babes. The Tomb Raider games are a hit and its no mystery why. For all those same reasons, it's just as likely that a movie based on the game will rake in the cash as well. Fortunately for the franchise, the film doesn't actually need to be any good to make tons of the gorgeous green.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider stars the beautifully bee stung Angelina Jolie as the afore mentioned big breasted heroine Lara Croft, in the movie adaptation of the popular video game series, Tomb Raider. While Tim Burton may be able to claim that his upcoming "Planet of the Apes" is a re-envisioning of the franchise, Tomb Raider is clearly a straight translation from video game to movie screen. Like most video game based movies to date, this one does little beyond giving fans a chance to see their beloved heroine as a living breathing woman, rather than just a testosterone soaked dream. And also like most other video game to movie translations, Tomb Raider wastes little time on creativity or originality, opting instead for cheap thrills and re-treaded one liners.
But cheap thrills alone are nothing to scoff at. Some of the best fun to be had comes from watching cheap thrills. It may not be the smartest cinema, but such movie making can provide a lot of fun. Unfortunantly, Tomb Raider doesn't even really manage this, preferring instead to botch those fun moments with goofy plot twists and weirdly misguided attempts at character development. Don't get me wrong, I'm all in favor of character development and layered plot, but doing it badly is much worse than never doing it at all. In fact it might be best to forget it all together for this film, especially when the filmmakers don't seem very interested in giving their characters dialogue anyway.
Little of the film's one legged grandstanding can be blamed on Jolie, for though this film is clearly all about her and her character, there is little to critisize about her performance. She really is Lara Croft, with all the bland two-dimensionality and big boobied lovliness of the video game queen herself. Sadly, even the most talented actress is limited by her material, and Tomb Raider clearly did a lot of limiting.
The real problem is that Tomb Raider doesn't even TRY to become more than its video game ancestor. Had there been some sort of attempt to break the bonds of videogamedome and elevate the film to the level of cinematic spectacle, Tomb Raider might have turned into a summer movie to get excited about. However, rather than make that attempt, its director appears more interested in making a Tomb Raider homage.
Hectic hormones will keep guys watching, girl power may get the ladies interested, but Tomb Raider is better viewed on a Playstation.
Reviewed By: Joshua Tyler