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Lara Croft - Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life (2003)
Director: Jan de Bont

review by Debbie Moon

Well, where to start? There's "Pandora's Box," which is apparently not a fable but an ancient weapon of mass destruction; there's the place where all human life started, and where Pandora's Box is hidden from the world. There's a big temple under the sea, which has nothing much to do with anything, but looks great. There are comedy sidekicks and traitors and noble savages and slimy supervillains, but you don't care about them - you just want to see Angelina Jolie in shorts, right? After all, there's nothing else worth admiring in this movie...
   Honestly, I'd summarise the plot properly if there were one, but there just isn't. Lara Croft (Jolie) wanders the world stumbling across instantly forgettable bad guys with nonsensical plans, mouthing exposition and performing unlikely stunts. Allies and friends are left dead in her wake without the slightest emotion; she treats her back-up team like furniture, and doesn't appear to care about anything, including whether she saves the world or not. And I won't even go into the question of her archaeological competence... The loud, flashy action is adequate rather than genuinely exciting - probably because we have little sense that our invulnerable heroine is ever in real danger. The tone of the film is fatally uncertain: one moment we're faced with gun toting Bond villains, the next we're battling CGI cave trolls.
   Jolie's probably doing her best, but a stuck-up robot who doesn't give a damn about anything can't be much fun to play. The rest of the cast are wasted, though Gerald Butler benefits from the nearest thing to a real character that the script can muster - a treacherous former friend Lara is forced to work with - and livens things up to the best of his ability.
   As you may have guessed by now, I'm not recommending this movie. Even in a summer characterised by lacklustre sequels, The Cradle Of Life is a complete waste of two hours. The best thing that can be said for it is that it should have killed off all thoughts of a 'Tomb Raider 3'.

Related item:
tZ  Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - film review

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider 2

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