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


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Much, much better

Note: The only thing that makes this film Tomb Raider, and not Indiana Jones is one word…”and”. Think about it – Tomb Raider and the Cradle of Life seems like an appropriate title…doesn’t it?

The first Tomb Raider film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider really didn’t fare very well in general. The format was sloppy, the writing was mostly borrowed from a range of different films to the point where it could almost be seen as a modern parody…and the ratings online are incredibly bad, and I mean bad. It is with great mystery as to why they decided to give it a sequel. Not only that, but that the actors agreed to come back…getting enough box office money from the first film is one thing, getting actors to agree to film again after being bashed once is a whole ‘nother subject. That being said, I am actually pleasantly impressed by Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life. Whatever they did, they were able to fix some major things that were bad about the first one.

This film centers on a “Cradle of Life”, or location that houses the legendary Pandora’s Box. You have all heard the story in one way or another when you were younger, Pandora hid all of the world’s most evil bits into this box, and if it were released…could cause irreparable damages, and could even destroy the world. Anyhow, Lara finds a glowing globe in the Luna Temple, which works as a map to find the Cradle of Life. When it is stolen by the generic bad guy, Lara enlists the help of Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler) to help find the globe, and ultimately, Pandora ’s Box.

Alright, we have to list of the negative bits here first. Both films have this problem, it’s like Lara isn’t good enough, she needs the help of this guy, or that guy. In the first one, she had to go to a specialist to answer a question – you answer riddles, Lara, that’s one of your things! In this one, it’s the same type of thing, they just got Gerard Butler to help her, she doesn’t need any help and you know it, Butler is just there to carry on the sex appeal (we’ll get to that in a jiffy). Next, what the heck are you even talking about, Lara? You and your father both seem to have information that no one else has about extended facts of something that doesn’t exist. Even Dan Brown based his fiction off of an idea that is already known. Same can be said about the Indiana Jones stories and even Uncharted…she just seems to make things up. Yes, we all know about the Pandora’s Box story, but her *real* story of what Pandora’s Box is came from nowhere, and she didn’t even offer an explanation as to how she came about that information. The same can be said about Jon Voigt’s character in the first film, who knew all about the Triangle of Light, but when we ask – exactly how he knew about that, or exactly how she knew about this – we are given nothing. Basically speaking, you just have to accept the fact that these people just have an encyclopedia of information in their heads and that they learned this stuff…at some point.

Now for the sex appeal. The sex appeal in the first film was off the charts to the point where it seemed more focus was done on making Angelina Jolie the sexiest woman on the planet than to tell an engaging story. I am glad at how they approached this issue the second time around. Like the game, sex appeal is still there, but they were able to get a good story in. Yeah, Butler’s role is a little useless, but he does bring an element of positivity to the film, and when the hero of the story has things to bounce off of another character, you get a more developed story.

Now, the story didn’t seem to copy off of anyone’s work like the first film did, instead, it focused on something that people have heard of – Pandora’s Box – good. Very…very good. Next, it didn’t try to overdo it by adding elements that just didn’t need to be in it, it kept it short, sweet, and to the point. Good. Finally, they definitely upped the visuals for the second film.

The visuals in the first film were really rather dull and downright terrible at times. This time, while the effects weren’t “oh my gosh” amazing, they were a lot better. The scenery and lighting was also done better, and even the musical score was halfway decent. It is an incredible improvement from the first movie – without a doubt.

It still is miles away from being as good as any of the Indiana Jones films, but you could easily see the improvement. I have to say well done for that.


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