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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)

(aka: Tomb Raider)



Reviews and Comments

Tomb Raider is about what you'd expect: a big dumb silly action movie that can be fun if you go into it in the right frame of mind. I don't think it's a very good movie, but I do have a mild affection for it: it is exactly what it promises to be, and there is a refreshing sort of honesty in that. If a movie like this doesn't pretend to be anything more, some fun can be had. The action scenes are all impossible, of course, but we know that, the movie knows that, so why bother dwelling on it? Impossible or not, some of them contain acrobatics and choreography that are almost beautiful to look at. The second half is less visually compelling than the first half, or maybe such a thin basis for entertainment simply overstays its welcome, because I do think Tomb Raider is anti-climactic. But there are simple pleasures to be found here for the right kind of audience.

The story makes not one iota of sense that I can tell, but this movie made me think (!) about what fabricated "reality" we are conditioned to accept in our entertainment. As a movie, Tomb Raider makes no sense at all. The main plot is senseless, and so are all the details along the way. Why are these ancient crypts set up as they are? Why do statues come to life, and why must a bell be rung to unblock a passageway, and who on earth bothered to build that set of revolving things at the end, and how is it still running? On the other hand, if every element of the movie were transposed to a video game -- and the movie was, after all, based on a series of video games -- we would (and do) accept such things. In a game, it makes perfect sense that turning some switch will make statues become badguys, and that you'd have to ring a bell to unblock a passageway, and as for the revolving gunk, hey, that's just another bit of scenery you have to jump all over. There's even a boss monster. So take this as a video game instead of a movie -- as it was obviously intended to be taken anyway -- and things inexplicably make sense after all.

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