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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Chris Barrie, Djimon Hounsou, Ciaran Hinds
Directed by: Jan De Bont
Produced by: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin
Written by: Dean Georgaris
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

 

Movie Image
Movie Image
Movie Image

     Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is yet another big-summer, action-blockbuster that I completely and entirely adore. Itís got adrenaline-driving chase sequences, big explosions, a great looking leading lady, cheesy dialogue, a swift pace, and a crazy atmosphere. Unlike a few other films of its kind, though, it didnít fulfill my movie-going needs. While The Cradle of Life is fun and pleasing to watch, it isnít engaging enough. As a member of the audience, I was never involved in it, beyond a certain extent. I could watch this movie for hours on end, and never get tired of it. However, I would come out of every screening only half-full, longing for more movie-fun. The makers of The Cradle of Life needed to do one of two things to make it a better picture. (1) Add a bit more substance, resulting in a more reasonable and likeable film. (2) Shorten it by twenty minutes, by cutting a lot of the pointless dialogueówhich would make it much more durably enjoyable, and free of any forced or uninteresting moments.

     Regardless, I like The Cradle of Life the way it is. I was captivated and entranced by almost every scene in it. The charm of the Tomb Raider movies is that they have an extremely distinguished balance of quirky seriousness and corny action. Movies like the recent LXG are never able to keep a grip on their timing, pacing, action, and this crucial way of balancing theatrical elements that Iíve just discussed. This is one of the reasons why a flick like The Cradle of Life is always well received by most all moviegoers, everywhere. While this one reigns the box office, all of the audiences that witness it, will be definitely be very receptive towards it. Itís really a shame that The Cradle of Life canít quite hold itself together as well as the original Tomb Raider did. But compared to what else in current release, itís one of the best motion pictures out there. If a third movie is made for the series, I will be more than happy to go and see it 

     The Cradle of Life wouldnít be anywhere without Angelina Jolie. Even though the fact that she looks stunning in every single frame of the movie is enough to satisfy most of the target male age rangeís needs, we cannot deny that Jolie has a tremendous charisma and fabulous Hollywood-style star-power. If you really think about it, sheís the perfect choice to play Laura Croft. Sure, itís probably time for me to stop complementing the casting directorís decisions after two doses of Tomb Raider, but I really love the fact that Jolie fits this role so well. Sheís sexy, and will bring in giant, hoarding flocks of guys, who would never be caught dead at a movie of this sort. Sheís unafraid, and does a ton of her own stunts. Sheís a good actress, and brings some theatrical talent into the mix. And on top of it all, she fits the ideal image. Who could ask for more in a cast member? Jolie is three-quarters of the reason why the Tomb Raider movies (and particularly this one) work. Her performances in these two flicks are strong, elegant, and just plain kick-ass. Studiosóif you want to find a real star to be in youíre action-adventure movies, please choose someone like Jolie.

     The visuals and aesthetics in The Cradle of Life are one of the keys to its well-being. Often cheesy, but visually pleasing in their own right, all of the special effects are perfect at suiting what they serve. The costume design is superb, and strangely authentic-looking, when put into context. Sets, scenery, and backdrops are always wondrous in this film, too. I think that all of the crew-members who contributed to the appearance of The Cradle of Life should be commendedóthe time they put into their work is always evident.

     Maybe itís not all that I was hoping for, but so what? Even though youíll leave The Cradle of Life feeling half-empty, itís still definitely worth seeing for some excellently redeeming features. This is Jolieís movie, and I hope that people will take a chance on it. If you still havenít seen Whale Rider and The Hulk yet, though, wait until video to watch this one. As terrifically exciting a flick as it is, The Cradle of Life is still, only better than about 65% of the movies out there.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews

 


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