Boxset Review: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001-03)

GENRE: Action, Adventure

DIRECTOR: Simon West, Jan De Bont

WRITERs: Patrick Massett & John Zinman, Dean Georgaris

STARS: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Chris Barrie, Gerard Butler

COUNTRY: UK, USA, Germany, Japan

As the Tomb Raider franchise turns 21, the MovieMuse team have dedicated a podcast and number of articles to the original raider of tombs. Here we look at the series first attempts at putting Lara onto the big screen.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

Wealthy archeologist Lara Croft, who plies her trade as a ‘tomb raider’, must thwart a secret doomesday cult who are seeking pieces of a mysterious device hidden in exotic places around the world. They wish to to use the device during a rare planetary alignment to bring them unlimited power to control or destroy the world.

Released in 2001 LC:TR was directed by Simon West (best known for directing Con Air). With American Angelina Jolie sporting an English accent in the lead role, the film also saw Daniel Craig put on an American accent and the Scot Ian Glen putting on an English voice. Panned by the critics, the film was nevertheless a box office success, ensuring that a sequel would follow two years later.

Gordon A ludicrous script makes Lara into an 80s movie action hero, rather than making an action movie out of Lara. Female Indiana Jones this certainly isn't. 3
Mat Angelina Jolie is perfectly acceptable as the herione, but the story is convoluted, the action scenes boring and the biggest issue is that it barely resembles the video game it is based on. 5
Simon I like the video games so I quite like the movie. It has reasonable action, Jolie plays Lara well enough and looks the part. I find it inoffensive and it portrays the games well enough. 6

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

Lara Croft has made perhaps the most important archaeological discovery in history: an orb that leads to the mythical Pandora’s Box. Unfortunately the orb falls into the hands of Jonathan Reiss, an evil scientist who deals in killer viruses and hopes to sell the secrets of the box as the ultimate weapon. Recruited by British Intelligence to get the orb back from Reiss, Lara recruits Terry Sheridan, a British marine turned mercenary (and her former love interest) to help. The two embark on an adventure that spans continents in an attempt to regain the orb.

For the second Lara Croft film the producers turned to Speed director Jan De Bont. Unfortunately the film would end up completing his hattrick of critically panned film’s and mark the end of his directing career. The film was released alongside the much maligned entry into the game franchise, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. The poor critical receptions for both film and movie meant they were much less financially successful than had been expected and ensured that the movie series would not become a trilogy.

Mat The story is marginally better, but this sequel repeats most of the failings the original had, with scant references to the video game and a number of badly-acted characters doing incomprehensible things for no good reason. 5
Simon More of the same, even if it doesn't seem to flow quite as well as the first film. Again I find it OK, again it pans out like the games, which doesn't necessarily make it a successful movie. Not a travesty, but not great either. 5
Gordon Fails to get over the low bar set in the first film as it simply piles more ludicrous action on an even dafter script. 3

Boxset Review
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
  • Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life


Brainless action and pointless scripts fight against the considerable efforts of Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft’s first forays into the big screen are a big let down.

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