95 – Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Based on the obscenely popular video game, this movie covers the adventures of one Lara Croft, supersmart run-abouter, detective, archeologist, and overall minx. Perhaps you’ve heard of her. What, you haven’t? Have you been under a rock? Her darn Taco Bell commercials run every three seconds on TV, as per her deal with the devil.

I know, I’m being a little harsh on Ms. Croft. After all, she acts as a great role model for little girls, doesn’t she? And we certainly do need role models for girls other than Barbie. Croft is strong, determined, and intelligent – we should all aspire to be so. Of course, if girls are to emulate Ms. Croft, they should all wear skintight clothing that reveals the most cleavage this side of Anna Nicole Smith. This movie’s marketed to kids, but trust me – the dads and older brothers will get a special thrill out of this movie, too.

But enough about the demographics. Let’s hear about the plot. What’s that? The plot centers around a secret talisman that will give the owner control over time – if two parts of an ancient triangular object are found. And as luck would have it, Lara finds one, cleverly hidden in her own mansion by her late father (played, Obi-Wan style, by Jon Voight). Say, there’s a coincidence – her father was into this stuff, too. Sounds a bit like Indiana Jones, perhaps.

Naturally, an evil secret society called the Illuminati are after this object, so they can RULE THE WORLD! How come they never just want to reture to the Cayman Islands? What is it with this ruling the world stuff? And you know, how come you rarely see woman wanting to rule the world? Probably because they’re generally smarter than men.

Now a word about the casting. Angelina Jolie, fresh off her Oscar turn in Girl, Interrupted, is quite good here – even her Briticized accent. She certainly sounds more British than other Americans who have attempted the Queen’s English, like Kevin Costner and Richard Gere. And Jolie seems well up to the acting task, too. If you’ve ever played the Tomb Raider game, you know that Jolie is quite the spittin’ image of the virtual heroine. She’s also quite good at conveying the various sultry heroine looks – mysterious, alluring, sneaky, devious, and so on.

The rest of the cast is really not all that memorable. She has a sidekick of sorts, and he’s one of those technological whiz kids who can’t handle a knife or a gun but can hack into the mainframe at NORAD in about thirteen seconds. And the bad guys are those nondescript evildoers who have good haircuts, good clothes, and bad attitudes. Nothing exceptional about any of them.

What you’re basically looking at here is the special effects. This is a fast, kinetic movie, packed for 100 minutes with high-octane fun. Suspend disbelief, and you’ll have a blast. Just don’t blame me if you find it too derivative of earlier movies, such as Indiana Jones and The Mummy.

Now, since this movie was heavily marketed to kids, one might think it’s a kid’s movie. It’s not precisely a kid’s film, although it is PG-13. There is a brief glimpse of Lara’s breast as she leaves the shower. And of course there’s scads of cartoon violence. In my opinion, it’s probably safe for the older kids.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: 6

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