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Tomb Raider

It should have been so easy.

"You! Angelina Jolie! Run around and shoot things! Have adventures inside ancient tombs! Jump from moving platform to moving platform! Look hot while doing it! Cut! Print! Make the action figure!"

And yet, as is so often the case when Hollywood turns the Evil Eye towards a proven product, they mucked it up.

Tomb Raider, or more accurately, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, or even more accurately according to some posters, Angelina Jolie is Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, or as it became known in some circles, Angelina Jolie: Tomb Raider, has opened with a bang and the knowledge that it is, officially, the biggest movie ever made out of a video game. (Sure as heck beat Mario Bros. opening weekend tallies.)

It's such the perfect concept. What if Indiana Jones was a really hot chick?

Why couldn't they get it right?

When everyone heard about this movie, they said two things. 1) Angelina Jolie is perfect. 2) This ain't gonna be no deep, soul-searching weeper.

It would seem as though the makers of the movie did not get this second message.

There is a plot. It makes the first Mission: Impossible look like a straightforward Barney video. Lara Croft has a clock. Bad guys want the clock. The clock is the key to getting the two-halves of the triangle. The two-halves of the triangle lets you travel through time.

And there's the Illuminati. And Lara has a dead father who has secrets. And there's an American archeologist who may or may not be Lara's previous love interest. And the planets are aligning. And Lara finds eastern religion. And there's some strange children who don't exist and can only be seen by Lara, but they don't really seem to be important. And a killer robot.Huh?

OK, Angelina's already signed to do 2 more of these movies, so here's your next plot:

Lara Croft raids a tomb. She picks up a magical item which tells her of another tomb. She raids new tomb. She finds another magical item that tells her of an even more important, secret tomb. She raids that tomb. Item, tomb, item, tomb. There ya go. Along the way she runs from some bad guys who want her magical items. And she should maybe get some scantily-clad sisters.

This isn't hard, folks.

Sadly, the fine art of simplistic movie-making is lost on the movie-makers and so their movie is lost on us.

Not that it isn't full of neat stuff. Angelina Jolie is great. She looks the part, she sounds the part, she is the part. The action scenes are real, real cool, though they seem a bit too much like something out of a video game. Not that that isn't cool, it just loses some realism along the way. Plus, she only ever raids two tombs, and they both look a heck of a lot alike, as if they used the same damn sound stage to create them and didn't do all that much set dressing in between scenes.

Wait a minute. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, raids two tombs? Heck, Abbot and Costello raided more than that in their day. So if she's not raiding tombs, where's the action?

That's just it. It's missing. There are a total of 4 action sequences in the movie. They are long sequences, mind you, and quite entertaining, but there's also a heck of a lot of non-action going on in this movie. Quiet scenes of people talking and explaining the plot. Over and over again. And it's still confusing.

Sadly, this movie is a case of a really neat idea that just didn't quite deliver. It's no Pearl Harbor, mind you, but it so obviously could have been so much better.

Next time just play the game and write down what happens. It'd work for D&D, it'd work here.

Tomb Raider gets an unsatisfying 2 3/4 Babylons. You want it to be better, you think it's going to be better. But in the end, it leaves a filmy taste in your mouth and you smack your lips together, searching for the taste treat that you were promised.

Editor's Note:

I thought this review was good until the SMC started making the Chocolat-style references in the last paragraph. He must have gotten some good feedback on the Chocolat review. People, please preserve the integrity of these reviews and stop paying the SMC compliments.

Tomb Raider
Rated: PG-13
Directed By: Simon West
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig, Leslie Phillips, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Mercury, Saturn, Neptune, other celestial bodies and a four-faced boss monster at the end of level 3 that you can't kill without dodging to the left and shoving the flying obelisk into it's gut, but only after you've shot out at least one of his faces.

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