At the end of an action scene in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," a wall
collapses near the nubile warrior. With her face on the floor, she gazes
into the rubble, then grins abruptly and says "Oh, my car keys!" I
mention this scene because it was the only moment in the whole damned
production that made me smile.
Based on an incredibly popular video game, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" is
a lousy movie. The structure goes like this: Poorly-staged action
sequence, boring exposition, poorly-staged action sequence, boring
exposition, etc. etc., The End. Basically, the film exists to showcase
Angelina Jolie's puffy lips and enhanced tits. Close-ups are framed
oh-so-carefully to include her million dollar bazooms. Running scenes
highlight her bouncing breasts in vintage "Baywatch" fashion. There's
even include a shower scene that offers a brief side view of them.
But the filmmakers are so inept they can't even flash the audience
correctly. The one extended display of nudity is of - get ready for this
- a guy. For no particular reason, a muscular supporting character
strolls around naked for about 30 seconds, with each shot composed to
barely cover his package, à la "Austin Powers." Now, I enjoy a good
looking male body as much as the next gay guy, but what the hell is
beefcake doing in a T&A flick aimed at heterosexual males?
Of course, what else should one expect in a film that does virtually
nothing right? "Tomb Raider" sets up elaborate action set pieces, then
renders them incomprehensible with needless jump cut editing (a
promising dual bungee cord battle is ruined by excessive cuts). It
promises a series of exotic locales, then delivers cavernous sets and
grimy matte paintings with smoggy skies. Throw in some bargain basement
computer graphics and you end up with the ugliest movie to come down the
pike in many moons.
Intended to be a rousing "Indiana Jones" style adventure, "Tomb Raider"
lacks any sense of tension. The low point comes when Lara is
"threatened" by statues of monkey warriors and a giant multi-armed Shiva
figure that come to life courtesy of CGI. Easily the lamest menaces I
have ever seen, the creatures move like snails and fall apart with a
single shot from a gun. If you ever have to be chased by monsters, pray
that you get the monkey warriors.
"Tomb Raider" tells a story, sort of. Once every 5,000 years, the
planets align. A group of very bad men are out to find two halves of an
object that, if reassembled just as the planets align, will give them
control OVER TIME ITSELF. Lara's goal is to stop them and rescue her
long-missing poppa (Jon Voight, Jolie's real life dad). None of this
matters though, because stunning gaps in internal logic assure that the
plot of "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" is as lame as ever other aspect of the
film - except Angelina Jolie's lips and breasts.
Copyright © 2001 Edward Johnson-Ott