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Tomb Raider
DVD disk
Oct 8, 2004 By: Professor Steve
Tomb Raider order
Director:
Simon West

Actors:
Angelina Jolie
Jon Voight
Iain Glen

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Video game hottie Lara Croft (Jolie) makes her big-screen debut searching for two halves of an ancient artifact that when combined during a planetary alignment, will yield ultimate power. Of course, she must find them before her competitors, the mysterious Illuminati cult and a rival archeologist, do.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Highly entertaining eye candy! The only thing that keeps this movie from completely rocking is the fact that some of the scenes and plot points were just too outlandish and unbelievable. For example, the opening sequence has Lara battling a Mechwarrior-style robot in a "practice" tomb in her home. Now, it's neat looking, but why not take an army of these things along with her to find the artifacts! Also, we never really get a grasp of what the powers of the artifact really are, and I laughed when she saw a shimmering cloud and immediately recognized it as a "time storm". This movie takes a lot of suspension of disbelief to enjoy, but once you're in...you're in for a ride!

The action sequences and exotic locales in this movie are awesome. They truly do the video game justice. Angelina Jolie is smokin' in this role, but the only thing I want to know is...how can Lara Croft run around in a tank top, swim through water, and ride through a tunnel of ice and still have NO nip action!?! C'mon! Iain Glen is a great bad guy as Powell and I'm sure we'll see more of him. It was great to see Jon Voight, and of course he and Angelina have the father/daughter thing going on, but his role wasn't really needed in the film. All of the supporting characters were interesting and funny as well, and it was nice to see a bunch of new unknown actors.
THE EXTRAS
The extras are led off with a director's commentary by Simon West. There are some breaks in the commentary and it almost sounds as if he's reading from a sheet of paper. Don't get me wrong, the insights on the film are interesting, but it's a fairly boring commentary. A Crafting Lara Croft feature talks with Angelina Jolie as she trains to be Lara Croft. It's amazing what the camera can do because when she practices shooting the gun she looks like a wimp who can hardly hold on to it, but in the movie she's a buffed up bad-ass. A Digging Into Tomb Raider feature has interviews with the designers about how they translated the look of the video game to the big screen. While they would like to think all of their set designs looked like the video game, it's really Angelina's character who gives the film the Tomb Raider "feel". In the Are You Game? feature, we basically get to see all of the cast and crew along with the Eidos people talk about the video game and how great it is. It was a fun game, but it's a little dated now...

There's a 20-minute Stunts feature which goes behind the scenes on all of the stunts in the film, and you get to hear all of the crew gush over how Angelina ended up doing many of her own stunts. That log-swinging scene is just cool. In the Visual Effects section you can view 8 mini-features covering each big special effects shot in the film. There is a deleted scene here where the Powell character meets his demise by being sucked into a time storm. The most effective special effect are the creatures in the Angkor tomb consisting of the cool stone monkeys, griffins, and the massive brahman creature.

Some alternate opening credits are included on the film which are actually pretty cool. The U2 music video for "Elevation" is on the dvd too. I was disappointed with the 4 deleted scenes which mostly involve the Iain Glen's Powell character. There's not much substance there - just a bunch of dialogue - and I'm sure they were included just to have deleted scenes on the dvd. Finally, the DVD-ROM extras are really nothing more than what you can find at the tombraider.com website, mainly a fancy Flash presentation and a bunch of downloads.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Great fun! If you can overlook the crazy storyline, this movie is an action-filled extravaganza with some cool locales and, of course, Angelina Jolie in the role for which she was born!
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