Friday, January 15, 2016

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Year 8, Day 15 - 1/15/16 - Movie #2,215

BEFORE: OK, let's get this one over with.  It can't be any worse than the first film, right?  RIGHT?  And thank God they got rid of that first colon in the film's title, or at least moved it closer to the end, otherwise it would be "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life", and that's just too many colons.  Angelina Jolie carries over again, and I'm looking forward to getting out of her chain and on to other things.

Adventuress Lara Croft goes on a quest to save the mythical Pandora's Box from an evil scientist and recruits a former Marine turned mercenary to assist her.

AFTER: OK, I guess this is slightly better, because the first "Lara Croft" film was really all about Angelina Jolie's breasts - not that there's anything wrong with that in general, but I think a movie needs more of a plot than that.  Shot after shot, they were always perfectly framed, or bouncing while she was running, or sticking out when she turned to the side.  Damn, there's just no pretense or artistry any more.  

In the sequel, they toned down the focus on boobage, at least a bit.  Sure, there was still the scene where she wore a tight scuba outfit (conveniently silver, not black) and the one where she wore a bikini, but there weren't as many shower scenes, so there's that. 

But still, it's a whole bunch of junk science and junk mysticism - this time, evil people are seeking out Pandora's Box, but that in itself makes no sense.  If the mythical Pandora's Box were real (which it isn't) and if the myths are true (which they aren't), then Pandora's Box already unleashed all of its evils into the world a long time ago.  The only thing that remained inside the box was hope, because there's always hope.  At no point in the myth do the evils go BACK into the box - so why would an evil person seek out the box, because it wouldn't contain anything that he could want or use?

That's a really bad sign, when the entire basic premise of a film just doesn't seem to add up.  In order to find the Box, first Lara had to find an orb, and decode the symbols on the orb, which had something to do with various sounds, but that was all a bit unclear.  Or maybe I was falling asleep again, all these nonsensical plot details tend to put me right to sleep.  

ASIDE: There's something vaguely sexual about all of this, this talk of "boxes" and "orbs" - fellas, if you want to get into the "box", first you have to pay attention to the "orbs", if ya know what I mean.  Or ladies, if you swing that way, the same applies.  I think a lot of people tend to forget that Angelina used to date ladies before she started marrying men. (It's funny how the more famous someone is, the less their bios on IMDB or Wikipedia talk about their sexual history...) Or maybe she still goes both ways, who knows - if that Brangelina marriage isn't an open one, I'll eat my hat.  But whatever floats your boat - some people noticed a lesbian subtext in "Maleficent" too, here the main male hero is an untrustworthy liar, and the male villain deals in killer viruses - so men are either liars or toxic.  Read between the lines, people...

I think the low point for me in this one came where Lara Croft was underwater, cut herself with a knife in order to attract a shark, so she could punch the shark in the nose, and then hold on as it took her exactly where it needed to be.  Umm, don't try this at home, kids, you might find the shark doesn't behave the way you want it to. 

Hey, at least the statues didn't come to life in this one...but once again, the dialogue is horrendous.  Take for example, this quote: "I'm not leaving you because I couldn't kill you.  I'm leaving you because I could."  I've tried over and over to determine just what that means, but I can't figure it out.  Like the majority of the rest of this film, it's just utter nonsense.

Also starring Gerard Butler (last heard in "How to Train Your Dragon 2"), Ciaran Hinds (last seen in "Circle of Friends"), Chris Barrie (also carrying over from "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider"), Noah Taylor (ditto), Djimon Hounsou (also last heard in "How to Train Your Dragon 2"), Til Schweiger (last seen in "Muppets Most Wanted"), Simon Yam, Robert Cavanah, Ronan Vibert, with a cameo from Graham McTavish (last seen in "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies").

RATING: 4 out of 10 terra cotta soldiers

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