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  1. #1
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    Film review: Tomb Raider 2

    I'm a big fan of the Videogame series <a href="http://www.epinions.com/content_109466586756">Tomb Raider</a>, even if I did tire of the fifth game, but when the film version came out I felt it was a badly wasted opportunity. There was only 3 good action scenes and even then they suffered the plagues of bad editing. Other than that the stylish Indiana Jane adventures found in the game were replaced by a cheesy Jane Bond adventure with a little archeology thrown into the mix. Nevertheless I still found a little primal enjoyment from the original simply because it was Lara, yet I wasn't exactly on the edge of my seat with anticipation when I heard of news of a sequel. Even the promise that the first films major faults had been addressed couldn't convince me to look forward to the film, I simply went to watch it out of loyalty to Lara.

    As the film starts I'm unsure what to think. Lara's entrance is as over the top and out of character as anything I could have expected. Then they go underwater and things actually got good. The underwater sections were easily my favorite parts when I played the games because there's something so claustrophobic about being underwater. This succeeds at getting that feeling, and even though it's a very brief scene did make me jump out of my seat. Out of the water it was still a good scene that captured the spirit of the games. Lara has to jump from ledge to ledge in order to get to the head of a statue, but then the bad guys show up and everyone starts shooting. It's all good but... (<i>that but, a word that ruins all the best things in life</i>)
    When Lara makes her escape she attracts the attention of a shark, and here I am waiting for some Deep Blue Sea style shark tricks, <b>when Lara suddenly punches it in the nose!!!</b> Now I accept that in a translation of this game Lara will need to do some almost superhuman athletics to get her job done, but the game Lara never punched a shark! Shed occasionally shoot them but never punched them, and if you even tried this you'd end up justifiably dead. I suppose it wouldn't have been so bad except you can literally hear the shark say "OUCH!" which just took things to far.

    To be honest though there aren't that many moments as bad as that but when the film does something very dumb it doesn't hold back. On the Whole <b>The Cradle Of Life</b> is a better film than the first, and comes much closer in style and tone to the games themselves. The story is once again irrelevant as it's nothing more than a link for the action scenes. Basically though, it sees Lara go to the ocean in search of the lost temple of Alexander The Great, where she finds an orb. Whilst they're in the tomb though Lara's group is attacked by a group of rival raiders who steal the Orb and take it to China. Once Lara get's home she does some research and discovers the Orb hides a map to The Cradle Of Life, birth place of life itself and resting place of Pandora's Box. Unfortunately the rivals are going to sell the map to an evil scary man who wants to use the box as a weapon of mass destruction. MI6 want Lara to track the orb down and stop him, you interested yet?

    This time though there's enough quality action to distract you from the cheesy story, which in itself is also less cheesy then the story used in the original, and moves more than fast enough to enable you to ignore the films many plot holes. The action has been better handled than the few scenes in the first film, with only a bike race along the Great Wall being horribly edited. The editing is not good, not by any stretch of the imagination, but it is decent. It's not so wildly hyperactive as to destroy the scenes but it could still have used a little work. The effects in these scenes though are very good, again with the exception being the Great Wall race which featured some horrible blue screen. Other than that the film features some decent action scenes including the already mentioned opening, a sort of abseiling shootout and an absolutely spectacular finale. The scenes are still trying, and largely failing, for cool rather than believability but the better editing enables them to get pretty close to attaining mild coolness.

    Once again though the films appeal is largely down to Lara herself, or more specifically, the way she's played by Angelina Jolie. She looks perfect for the role of Lara Croft, I could imagine few actresses better for the role, but that was after I saw the original because with the sequel I can now safely say that no one could pull off the role as well as Jolie who captures Lara's dangerous but playful nature perfectly. Jolie herself is a very good actress, an award winner actually, but in Tomb Raider she get's to put her hair down and have some fun. She handles herself very well in the films more physical action scenes, and has the perfect grin for when she's playing with death. She's still not quite the Lara I remember, but it's more in the writing than the acting, and Jolie even manages to bring in her natural skills to produce something remotely resembling emotion in the films ending. I still hate her false English accent though, to be honest it's so over the top that it gives the character a certain charm, but also prevents her from being as interesting as the game incarnation.

    The other main characters are OK, none as memorable as Lara but certainly better than the cast of the first film. Lara's new partner is a mercenary and British traitor named Terry Sheridan. He's played by an actor named Gerard Butler who is able to make the character far more interesting than the partner from the original film. He's nothing special though, I can't remember any details that added to his performance beyond what was on paper, but he has a smarmy charm about him. He tries to get across the characters honest desire to be trustworthy, and does it so well that I couldn't trust him at all. I'm just used to a bad hero turning good to be bad right until they turn, and so couldn't trust him for being so good. It was what the character needed so I liked him.

    Finally there's the villain of the peace, Jonathan Reiss, who is played with a scenery chewing performance by Ciaran Hinds. He's not so over the top though, but he chews up the scenery just enough for the villain in this type of film. You guessed it I'm going to compare him to the previous film's villain. The villain in the first film was so over the top that he ceased to be scary at all, but Reiss is just over the top enough to be fun whilst still retaining a villainous screen presence.

    In conclusion then, I'll try and get across who I recommend this film to. If you enjoyed the first film then you'll probably enjoy the sequel. Also fans of the games who were disappointed with the original will like it more. It's better than the first film in every conceivable way, and even manages to achieve something that could be described as fun. It's still not a great film, and if you have anything else to watch then watch it. However <b>Cradle Of Life</b> is still an enjoyable enough film and for that I recommend it. It's moved far enough in the right direction to leave me with hopes that another sequel could even do the games some form of justice.
    ***

  2. #2
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    i would never see Angelina Jolie on big screen, and i never have actually.

    thanks for the good detailed review. i may end up renting it in the future like i did w/ the first movie. i just don't like looking at angelina jolie.. especially on the big screen!
    "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

  3. #3
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    Originally posted by radstar
    i would never see Angelina Jolie on big screen, and i never have actually.

    thanks for the good detailed review. i may end up renting it in the future like i did w/ the first movie. i just don't like looking at angelina jolie.. especially on the big screen!
    WOW talk about odd. That's the exact reason I did see it on the big screen.

  4. #4
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    Originally posted by radstar
    ...i just don't like looking at angelina jolie.. especially on the big screen!










  5. #5
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    AHHHHHHH!!!!!!!

  6. #6
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    im not that fussed on angelina jolie.. but i liked the first movie cause of the music... carl is it the same style of soundtrack??


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  7. #7
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    Check this photo from Madrid...


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