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

  Directed by: Jan de Bont
Starring: Chris Barrie, Gerard Butler, Ciarán Hinds, Angelina Jolie, Noah Taylor
Links: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life on the IMDb, Official site, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack
Genre: Action

This movie gets: 4.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Jolie Bad Show" - a review by mino

I'll start off by saying that I haven't seen Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), the first of what will no doubt prove to be several dozen Tomb Raider franchise movies. Thus, I briefly considered holding off on seeing Cradle of Life until I had seen the earlier film: after all, when you see a sequel before the original, you run the risk of totally ruining the plot of the original.

However, what with never planning to see the original, and with being fairly sure that it wasn't actually going to have a plot, I figured I was pretty safe. Luckily, I was right. I don't think I'll be seeing the first Tomb Raider any time soon.

While I'm no fan of the action movie in general, it would seem that Circle of Life would prove most useful as ‘Lesson One’ in how to make a really bad one. The moral of the lesson: miscast as many people as possible.

First and foremost in the miscasting stakes: Angelina Jolie. Jolie is miscast as the heroine here because, well, she's miscast in nearly everything she's ever been in. This is largely because she can't actually act. Jolie has, by my reckoning, put in one really good performance in her acting career: Girl, Interrupted (1999). You know, the movie where she played a total freakin' psycho. Just like she is in real life. You see, because she's crazy in real life. And she was crazy in the movie. So she wasn't acting. She was just being herself. Ehh, forget it.

Anyway, she can't act. Put her in any role that's not ‘whacked-out freak’ and she'll struggle, so there's no real surprise that she brings about as much life to the role of Lara Croft as would, say, a ball-peen hammer.

Other miscastings, alas, abound here; some of which, I gather, carry over from the first movie. The spectacular disaster that is Noah Taylor as one of Croft's right-hand men, for a start, could only be matched by something as spectacularly ridiculous as casting Red Dwarf's Rimmer (Chris Barrie) as her other right-hand man.

Which they did.

Add to that Ciarán Hinds's truly bowel-loosening turn as baddie Jonathan Reiss, possibly the most feeble pantomime villian ever to be a character in a motion picture, and the equally horrid Gerard Butler as Croft's temporary sidekick Terry Sheridan, and you've got the sort of casting job which could easily be eclipsed by standing out the front of Flinders Street Station asking people ‘Hey you! Wanna be in the new Tomb Raider movie?’.

In the actor's defense, they don't have much to work with; but even so, they're pretty awful. Butler, in particular, is unconvincing, given he's playing Jolie's ex-lover, yet you'd get more on-screen chemistry from filming someone mixing a vat full of neon and argon for half an hour.

It's not just the acting that lets Cradle of Life down, though. There are the ridiculously gratuitous (even for me) bikini shots (and white singlet shots), the overly crappy CGI effects (given the enormous budget, especially), the truly terrible accents, and the way-too-farfetched-even-for-an-action-movie-based-on-a-computer-game plot. Mix 'em all up, and what have you got? You've got a movie that's frankly too stupid for words, that's what.

Actually, it's not too stupid for all words. ‘Crap’ still seems to fit fairly well.

mino gives this movie 4 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 14 Oct 2003

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Reader comments

  1. Did the role require the leading actress to have big lips? Cos if so, I'm sure she had that bit covered.

    A comment from nofreelist's own pearly on Tue 14 Oct 2003 16:19 #

  2. Jolie says 'it is the movie i wanted in the first one' due to its treatment of tribal cultures. Regardless, still pretty lame.

    The highlight of the movie was afterwards, discussing if it was currents, sultanas or raisins posing as nipples under Jolie's silver wetsuit...

    Rating given: 3

    A comment from Adam ( on Thu 30 Oct 2003 14:32 #

  3. Tic-Tacs?

    A comment from nofreelist's own mino on Thu 30 Oct 2003 15:05 #

  4. I think you'll find they were nipples

    Rating given: 6

    A comment from John ( on Tue 16 Dec 2003 08:51 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 4.50 (2 ratings)

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