That’s right true believers, Lara Croft is back—or perhaps she never left—in her big screen (re) debut in “Tomb Raider.”
And it all depends how old you are or how back your DVD film library goes to diffuse the 2001 adventures of Lara Croft, played by the incredible Angelina Jolie.
It was back then that Ms. Jolie has just captured a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and burst onto the big screen as Lara Croft with the live adaptation from the well-received renditions of the computer game(s), of the female heiress turned adventurer who has a never ending mission to find her long lost father in wild tropical jungles with one mystery piled onto another.
Received to wild acclaim by audiences around the world–but panned by film critics—Ms. Jolie’s Tomb Raider also went on to spawn a sequel two years later “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.”
A third film in the series was planned but rejected by Ms. Jolie.
Officially it was reported, “In March 2004, producer Lloyd Levin said that ‘The Cradle of Life’ had earned enough internationally for Paramount Pictures to bankroll a second sequel, but any hopes of it going into production were soon quelled by Jolie’s announcement that she had no desire to play Lara Croft a third time: “I just don’t feel like I need to do another one.I felt really happy with the last one. It was one we really wanted to do.”
And so the film adaptations of Lara Croft’s adventures took a hiatus for more than a decade as producers scoured the globe for a worthy successor … which they found in Alicia Vikander, 29, from Gothenburg, Sweden who earned an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2015’s “The Danish Girl.”
More than 10 years removed from Angelia Jolie’s Lara Croft and an entirely new youth market to tap into who, no doubt, has never seen the original, this new “Tomb Raider” is physically fit to the max and leaps, climbs and fights her way through one near-death experience after another.
The only thing lacking about Ms. Vikander is a smashing collection of skin tight tights, form-fitting mask and cape as she could double for “Batwoman.”
Sorry to say that the paper mache script of “Tomb Raider” is as flaccid as watching one of the re-runs of the 1966 TV’s Batman series when Adam West donned the cape and tights of the Caped Crusader
“Tomb Raider” is not a remake of the original film but a pale clone.
Although shorter and feistier than Ms. Jolie (and playing a character eight years younger), Vikander does fit the uber-athletic Lara Croft to a “T” as does her adventures, which has the youthful, one-day super adventurer initially rejecting her archaeologist father’s wealth for the life of a 14-year old waif, believing the unproven reports of his demise quite literally until she finds out otherwise, eventually discovery her father’s secret sanatorium.
There she discovers his secret life of faked passports, maps and diagrams all leading to a global conspiracy run by a shadowy group known only as “Trinity.”
Now on the hunt, Lara Croft takes an ocean ride to hell, is shipwrecked and marooned on a deserted island (which is not that deserted) and kidnapped by the same group that she was searching for in the first place.
Making a mad dash for freedom, Lara Croft begin an unending bout of leaps and jumps that would hinder even an Olympian.
With principal photography in Cape Town, South Africa, it does help to know that Ms. Vikander is really doing all of her stunts inside the sound stages of Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, is an 80-hectare studio complex in Leavesden in Hertfordshire, U.K.; in front of a green background and being hoisted upward through wires and cables—all later eliminated by post production computers.
The only time red blood actually flows through the heart of this movie is when Lara Croft is finally reunited with the thugs that originally caused all of this mayhem.
Otherwise you’ll be hard pressed to stay awake.
“Tomb Raider” is a serviceable, rock’em, sock’em action movie but it’s my bet that fans will still be clamoring for the real thing.
I’ll add my voice to the clamoring throng: Bring back Angelina Jolie!
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