Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reviews From an MMB (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life)

OK, time for another movie...and I still can't believe I'm actually reviewing this one...ah well, at least I get to discuss it without frequent interruptions from Dearest Little Bro.
All right, so, this time around, Lara (Angelia Jolie, but you probably already knew that) is on a mission to recover Pandora's Box before the typical evil genius bad guy can lay hands on it and destroy the world as we know it. Along the way, she enlists the help of government prisoner and enemy of the state Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler *wink*), the charming and not entirely trustworthy traitor. Which may or may not be a humongous mistake.

I enjoyed the first movie (though I do wonder what the heck happened to Daniel Craig's character Alex that he doesn't show up here. Not that I'm complaining about his replacement, but still...unless things have been flip-flopped around here. 'Stead of Bond girls, we get Croft boys!), though it had its moments of eye-rolling ridiculousness. That's only to be expected in a movie with origins in a video game, I suppose, but this one was dang-near stupidity personified. What is up with all the archaeological treasure hunts that have been chugged out in the last decade? Leave that stuff to Indiana Jones!

I'll give them this, there were some pretty cool actions sequences in here and you can tell where a LOT of effort went into them. I especially have to give points to Angelina for doing her own stunts apart from the base jumping (though apparently she was game for that, too). They hired professional flying squirrels for that. Now if they could have put half the effort into coming up with a story worth the price of a movie ticket--or even the DVD--they'd be in much better shape. I was braced for the usual cheesy dialogue abounding in wisecracks and Lara's oh-so-sassiness, but sheesh! There was even more in the sequel! Some of the fight scenes stank of obvious choreography and of course, it had to be stylized, but the bit off the cliff and Lara's horseback segment were cool enough to make it worth it.

If someone could tell me what the shadow troll things were at Kilimanjaro, I'd greatly appreciate it. Just thought I'd mention it.

Lara is...well, that's a tough one. On one hand, she is rather ladylike. On the other, she is very much the "strong female character" that's been bugging me so badly lately. You know, the kind that's supposed to embody the "empowered" woman but really only serves to provide the male viewing audience with one more hot chick to fantasize over. Anyway, that aside...I don't usually get into action heroes, and this was no exception. Everything she did, she did it with style and attitude. And I have no idea why I find that so annoying. It might have something to do with the fact that every action hero does everything with style and attitude and I'm in a mood to lament the lack of originality. Angelina has a pretty posh accent, though.

Onto the other characters. Terry is a piece of work, no questions asked. I dig the charm, the sarcasm, the deviousness, the bad-boy attitude, the banter, the--OK, I'll stop now. But...when it really comes down to it, Terry is out for himself before anyone else, and there's not enough charm in the world for me to let that slide. I wish it weren't the case, but it's not like he didn't deserve what he got. Damn it, man, see the bigger picture and quit being an idiot! Jeez! Jonathan Reiss, the evil genius bad guy, is just that--the evil genius bad guy. There's no point in dragging that out. Old mates Bryce and Hillary are here again (yay!) but don't get enough screen time in my opinion (darn!).

There's plenty I feel like I could whine about, the aforementioned lack of originality one of them, but I guess this does serve at least one purpose: whenever I'm up for an action movie that doesn't make me want to puke in annoyance, I can at least watch this one. It's tolerable. And while Lara's character is stereotypical, I can't really complain about how Jolie pulled her off (what I do complain about are those two kiss scenes. DAMMIT! *headdesk*) Return to seriousness...the locations are really nice, especially Greece...ah, just listen to me, trying to come up with reasons to explain away why I bought this thing after complaining that I thought it was that darn crappy when I saw it on TV! There's one reason and one reason only why I paid money for this hogwash, and my hormones do crazy things every time he pops up on the screen!

Now here comes the part where I leave and hope I still have some shred of dignity and at least an ounce of my readers' respect left...and before I turn this into a rant...

Your pal,

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