Ossus Library Index Fantasy Movie Index

TOMB RAIDER 2: THE CRADLE OF LIFE

Directed by Jan de Bont (2003, Paramount Pictures)
Starring Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, and Ciarán Hinds

Lara competes with an evil man searching for Pandora's Box.

 

 

3 stars

August 13th, 2010 on TV, for the 2nd time

 
    Going into this movie with the proper mindset, I thought it was a lot of fun. Not too mind-engaging, but it had a lot of cool strategizing that could have come straight from a video game, or MacGyver. Unfortunately, there was a lot of gun-fighting. Fortunately, there was also some cool hand-to-hand fighting, and even a moment with swords. Despite feeling like Lara is too easily defeated at times, and other parts of her task were too easy, it was still vastly entertaining.  

 

3 stars

October 14th, 2003 in the Theatre

 
    As with the first movie, this one had a very video-game quality to it. There were too many fight scenes for my tastes, though they were well-choreographed. Still, it was a lot of fun.

Fortunately, this movie didn't have the complex and difficult-to-understand ending that the first one did. Once they reached the Cradle of Life, the bad guy went straight for Pandora's Box, a fight ensued, and Lara actually resisted the temptation to open the box afterwards!

With all of her nerve and abilities, I hate it when she stands still, taking abuse from anybody, especially her ex-lover. Allowing him to slap her, without defending herself, is inexcusable. 

The plot starts right from the beginning, with an earthquake (seemingly due to loud music at a wedding!) that uncovers a lost temple of Alexander the Great. Lara retrieves a sphere and a pendant before some competitors arrive and kill her party. They escape with her treasures, while the temple is destroyed around her under the water.

Lara learns that an evil man wants the sphere she almost recovered, because he believes it can lead him to Pandora's Box. This man, Jonathan Reiss, is a biological weapons creator, and Pandora's Box carries with it a plague that wiped out armies indiscriminately millennia ago. She arranges to have a former lover released from a Siberian jail so that he can guide her to the Chinese terrorist group that has the sphere.

They take a stealth craft to China, where they allow it to be destroyed by crashing, and parachute to their destination. Wouldn't the Chinese not only track the craft, as Terry says, but inspect the wreckage as well, determining that somebody had infiltrated their country? They have a motorcycle chase along the Great Wall (I'm getting tired of motorcycle chases, from here, Mission Impossible 2, The Matrix Reloaded, and so on...), and get captured by the Chinese group. Lara takes out one of the leaders using an ancient series of weapons from an ancient Chinese Emperor. As a side note, were these the terra-cotta army that the First Emperor of China created for his tomb? If so, much of it has been destroyed after Lara went through! The fight was cool, but nothing that we haven't seen so many times before.

Having obtained the information that she needs, Lara and Terry make their way to the site where the sphere is to be transferred from the Chinese to Reiss. Another fight ensues, with machine-gun fire all over the place, but the sphere escapes with Reiss, though Lara manages to get a tracer on the box.

Just like in a video game, the characters have certain goals to achieve, and they have to fight themselves out of so many different situations. Their infiltration of the biolab was cool, but I wonder how many biotoxins they were exposed to after the giant firefight nearly destroyed the lab. I also can't figure out what Lara hoped to gain by firing at the computer screens, since the information is not kept on the screens, but on hard drives elsewhere -probably on a main server outside that room!

I couldn't understand why Lara and Terry made their way up the building afterwards, instead of down to the ground, until they reached their destination and found body flying suits lying there. I've seen these things in the Adrenaline Rush IMAX film, and they look pretty cool. They were cool here, too, and I was happy to see that their flight was not interrupted for much dialog -we just got to watch the beauty of the flight to the cargo ship.

Lara abandons Terry on the ship (after a sexy seduction scene which ended very funny), and arranges a conference call to her estate, where people are working behind the scenes to decipher the map. The funny part of the conference call is the way she turns a Chinese peasant family's TV into the two-way link. How Terry knew she went to that boat, afterwards, is beyond me.

I don't know how Alexander the Great figured out what sounds to make to decipher the map, because it takes a computer to do it here. Lara and her small team make their way to Africa ("It's in Africa" she says, as if that narrows it down.), where they make their way into the Cradle of Life. Reiss has been following her, however, and he makes his way in with helicopters and captures her again. I wonder if she can ever solve something without being bested by the bad guys...

The mystery was interesting, and it seems like Lara is a master of figuring out these kinds of mysteries, as she even knows exactly where to put the sphere when they arrive. Is this how Alexander the Great did it? How did he retrieve the sphere afterwards? I hope Lara threw the sphere into the pool of acid as well.

The best part of the movie was the way Lara interacted with Terry. She used him (at least she was honest about that from the beginning), and discarded him when she knew he would betray her. When he reappeared to save her at the end, he couldn't resist leaving with the box, so she had to torment herself by killing him. Since she already knew what was in Pandora's Box, I suppose resisting opening it was easier than it would have otherwise been, but I still thought it was a great character moment.

My favorite part of the movie was actually the music. The main theme was so beautiful that I actually found myself humming it for days afterwards! I love movie music, and I may end up getting the soundtrack because of it, as long at it is completely instrumental.

So while this was a really fun movie, it felt like I really was playing a video game, moving from goal to goal, getting into places easily, but having to extract the main character from those same places with much more difficulty and a lot of firefighting. I suppose that's what people want these days.

 
   

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