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Tomb Raider the Movie is also a popular video game series.
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We open with the ocean, transversing it at a high speed from the air. We approach what appears to be a Greek isle with several Greek houses. A Greek family is having a cultured wedding until suddenly an earth quake disrupts the event. What does this scene mean? I mean I know the style is different from our weddings and the fact that they switched to some rock music right before the earth quake have any significance to the story?
From there we find a treasure dive, in the Aegean, presumably in Greece, where several collectors are converging on a site in order to get a piece of the wreckage. Lara makes an acrobatic Jet Ski entrance and boards one of the boats, clearly showing off her beauty and skill. She's 'all that' apparently according to herself.
The captain queries Lara concerning what 'the fuss is all about' for the current diving excavation event. Lara, map in hand, explains that Alexander the Great had stored most of his treasures in Egypt. Legend has it that he stored his prized possessions in a temple somewhere nearby. A temple called the 'Luna Temple' which was supposedly swallowed by the
sea quite a while ago (330 BC). Its location was not allowed to be recorded according to Greek Law. It simply disappeared, vanished and lost forever during a volcanic eruption, until now. This temple would supposedly be the greatest find since the pyramids. After studying some maps of currents they determine that everyone is digging in the wrong place. The dialog here seems to show hints of Indian Jones and Event Horizon.
Here we find Lara and crew, in diving gear, with what appears to be underwater jet skis. After a bit of a search Lara leads them to an underwater cavern, and sure enough the Luna Temple's remains. With a bit of gawking, they look around. Lara discovers what seems to be a reference to Pandora's Box. Climbing a statue of Zeus she attempts to remove a golden treasure piece which inadvertently triggers some luminating ball on the ceiling.
They are not the only divers to find the place, however. While Lara does some acrobatics to get to the ball of light, the place starts to collapse. The new intruders have weapons and slice up Lara's crew. Lara drops the ball of light during the exchange and escapes into the water. Cutting herself to attract a shark she proceeds to ride the shark to the surface without her air tank. This is a particular kind of silly part where she interacts with the shark; couldn't she simply grab on to it and go?
After setting her homing device and attaching to floating debris, she then falls asleep. She eventually is found by her butler and technician (Bryce) in a submarine. The nice thing about being rich is having submarines at one's disposal.
Switching scenes we witness a group of 'business' men in a private jet flying at high altitude. Very quickly we discover that these must be the bad guys when the primary speaker begins to discuss diseases and fooling Mother Nature. One of the guests begins to choke because he was poisoned for attempting to turn the host over to MI-6. This is meant to portray him as ruthless and one who will act. Here he divulges information on Pandora, which he assumingly plans on finding.
Back at the mansion in Britain Lara dukes it out with her butler to vent frustration while discussing research work on the 'orb' which they currently have no reference to. She then demands that they research every orb they can find in Greek history. It seemed a bit disappointing that they did not reveal any of this 'research' during the movie.
After a brief, MI-6 show up bearing pictures of the people that were on the private jet. They claimed that 'Jonathan Reiss' was the one who hired the guys to follow her to the treasure, and that his creations have been at the heart biological weapons for the past 15 years. He apparently does not care who his weapons kill or why because he has a legendary disdain for life. Such larger than life characters, that they seem to know too much about, does seem unrealistic, but what would a movie be without a universal bad guy.
Exposing Lara to pictures of Pandora's Box causes Lara to begin discussing the legendary Greek myth which MI-6 seems unconvinced of. Apparently, the box was found by a Pharaoh in a place he named the cradle of life. After it was opened it unleashed the companion to life, anti-life. It then began a plague which decimated Pharaoh's army. Lara refers to lots of other sorts of pairs, Right and Wrong, Men and Women, Yin and Yang. Which is interesting, however, not all pairs are opposites. As far as I am concerned an opposite does not necessarily make a pair. I am rarely interested in an opposite, and often more interested in a complement than an identical match. Also, a possible underlying defense of women being that life is created inside them.
Supposedly, Alexander returned the box to the cradle of life (the original location which is unknown). Now they think that 'Jonathan Reiss' is going to attempt to use the orb as a map to find the location of the 'cradle of life'. So, how did we get there? How did they know it was a map? Does it say map on it? When did they figure that out? It does not look like a map. Only a short while ago they were trying to do research on an unknown orb in Greek mythology. That is annoying.
MI-6 apparently reports on all of this, and returns stating that her majesty 'the Queen' formally requests that Lara find the box before Mr. Reiss. Lara responds with a sarcastic, "Oh, well now that I have her majesties permission." Well, it seems as though such a 'formal request' carries very little weight. I mean doesn't the British government have legions of resources available to assist them at the task? Perhaps not, being that Lara is rich they may be little more than a nuisance.
MI-6 somehow knows the orb was last sighted with 'Shaolin' in China which will make it particularly difficult to track down. They offer her some agents, and she declines. Rather than her majesties agents she wants a known criminal currently serving time (Terry Sheridan), because he would have inside information on the group. Now we find that her majesty is useful for something, getting him out of jail despite their dislike for the idea.
Cut to the arrival at the security facility or 'fantasy island' as their host calls it. Once inside the jail cell, Lara offers Terry a flat in Zurich along with a clean record and new identity. Terry feebly scoffs at MI-6's assistance with a new identity to which Lara replies having two faces does not help him get there. Here we get the idea that changing his look or name is not sufficient enough for a new identity. He really needs the full ensemble. Which MI-6 apparently can provide as well as 5 million pounds after they succeed in acquiring the orb. Revealing how nice the deal really is. Terry is soon to be a new millionaire assuming he can get Lara into the Shaolin and to the orb. So that's how one makes it to rich millionaire status?
Promising to take Lara to them they enter China via stealth pod, much to Terry's amazement. From here they zip along the Great Wall of China in motorcycles after stopping to weaponize and get supplies. A bit of dialog between the two occurs during the trip concerning their relationship; where Terry seems to be disgruntled about the possibility of being merely a bump in the road of Lara's exciting adventures. What a wiener, after all he has 5 million pounds when they get back to Europe.
The nice thing about being a third party to this movie is that we actually get to see the bad guys' conversation. Switching to the universal bad guy 'Jonathan Reiss', a delivery boy delivers a cell phone in a box to him. He is very disappointed because he is expecting the orb itself. After killing the delivery carrier he uses the cell phone to contact the person who has the orb who happens to be the leader of the legendary Shaolin. As such a hideaway pirate he dresses and details nicely with a silk shirt and a large gold medallion around his neck, the exception being his teeth. One thing this movie has is good looking pirate like characters which if memory serves me was not the most typical kind. Not to say that there are not excellent looking bad guys, but pirates are not usually so stunning unless they live on Wall Street.
The Shaolin proceeds to renegotiate the deal with 'Jonathan Reiss' based upon his prior 'misunderstanding' of its true value. Obviously, he is aware of Lara's impending arrival because he utilizes her in the bargaining as an 'alternative buyer'.
Returning to Terry and Lara, we find them coming close to their destination yet Lara becoming distrusting of Terry and proceeds to point her weapon at him. Shortly, the Shaolin surround them and capture them during this dialog. The stunt seems convenient and appears to be a clever trick of Lara's to get the Shaolin to trust Terry more.
A short dialog between Lara and Chen Lo turns into a joust after Lara's offer to buy the orb is denied. A room full of life size terracotta warriors is partially demolished in the process as they seem to show disregard for old artifacts. Killing Chen, Lara proceeds to find Terry making his escape as well. Descending on some ropes, the two of them proceed to miraculously out gun machinegun totting Shaolin. The Shaolin apparently are not very good at wielding machineguns. Stealing a jeep they make for Shanghai without the orb.
The remaining Shaolin members plan on delivering the orb to Jonathan Reiss in Shanghai at the Flower Pagoda. Lara and Terry are there waiting in a room upstairs in one of the buildings. Wait how did they know where to go? This part is mysteriously missing. Here during a discussion Terry comments on them being a pair but not alike. So, Terry really wants to hang on and linger around Lara as well as get into her pants.
Jonathan arrives in a helicopter and tries to make the exchange, but Lara and Terry interrupt. During the gun battle nobody gets hit, but the exchange is thwarted. Here they try again from the roof top of the Pagoda. During the exchange rather than give them the money for the item Jonathan kills the guy doing the exchange. We did not see that one coming, ha! You would think the Shaolin would be smarter. Of course, that's probably why they're criminals in the first place. Vaulting through the air, Lara attaches a tracking device to the orb's crate and then drops back into a parked truck. This was smart, but Jonathan seemed to pay no attention to the fact that she was hanging outside the helicopter for a bit while he pulled the crate inside.
The tracking device takes them to Hong Kong. They trace it to a shopping and office center in a skyscraper. Sneaking past security they break into his lab. Triggering the alarm, Lara manages to evacuate the building of scientists leaving her, Terry and a couple of henchmen. After she takes care of the henchmen she attempts to transmit the remainder of the exterior codes on the orb to her computer technician at Croft manor. She is interrupted by Jonathan and some armed men who capture her. They, however, missed Terry who surprises them with an automatic weapon causing Lara to promptly escape with the orb. A chase ensues, prompting Lara and Terry to use their preplanned escape gear to jump off the top of the tower.
With their glider/parachutes they land on a ship. During what appears to be the beginning of a love scene, mistrusting Lara handcuffs him to the bed and jumps ship. Happening across a small vessel with a satellite TV, she asks if she can borrow it. Oddly the non-English speaking residents oblige. Quickly she transmits the remainder of the image to her technologist who promptly translates and retransmits the codes in audio waves.
This causes the orb to luminate a projected image in all directions. Although, it seems unknown if it is a recording or a live report of some place in Africa, it most certainly is an incredible spectacle. Suddenly it begins to show some black tribesmen which appears to be people who actually live there now and might be a bit scary. Lara sets the ball down quickly turning off the projector while slightly frightened. This is reminiscent of the bracelet in 'The Mummy' where the projector shows the location of a secret place.
Reporting that it is in Africa, she sets off. Unknowingly, Jonathan has her technician hostage and now knows that it is in Africa as well. Dropping into a jeep driven by a local she is affiliated with; they drive to the 'mountain of God' a previously unvisited area where a local tribe makes a home. After a discussion with the tribe concerning the 'box' they claim nobody that has gone looking for it has returned.
While in route to the cradle of life, Jonathan intercepts them with armed men who promptly capture them. Jonathan demands that she take them to the location because she has seen the exact location. Finally, she obliges and they proceed after Jonathan reveals that they have her butler and technician captive. Having left the captives behind they leave them to be rescued by Terry who suddenly arrives via helicopter. Terry had followed her foot steps to the vessel where they told him she had gone to Africa.
Travelling for a while they come upon a darkened and seemingly barren area with trees which have no leaves. Suddenly, creatures start coming out of the trees and land. These creatures repeatedly grab people and take them back into the trees and ground. The armed men fire rapidly at them which merely alerts the creatures to their location. Lara recalls something about the orb. She then grabs the orb and races toward a pillar which is apparently where the orb goes. She then drops it in the top, which promptly turns all the monsters to dust and creates a hole in the ground.
Diving into the hole it created Lara and Jonathan find themselves in a large cavern area without plant life. Gravity seems to operate oddly here because at times one can walk on the ceiling. Terry is right behind them and drops in with a rope. The gravity issue is ridiculous. Of course most of this part is a bit beyond the norm.
Eventually, they find the box. It is glowing much like the orb and floating in a pool of acid. Jonathan demands that Lara get the box, but she makes her escape. Jonathan hunts after Lara and a battle ensues. During the battle Jonathan falls into the acid and slowly disintegrates. Meanwhile, Terry finds his machinegun melts when attempting to remove it with his weapon.
Terry attempts to remove the box, and Lara objects to it. It could kill millions of people. It's worth a fortune to him and he feels it should be his reward. A fight breaks out and Lara kills him. She then returns the box to the pool of acid.
Everything in this movie leads to this point? This is much like the original movie. While the original seemed to tie everything to Lara and her birth it was less of a letdown because this particular item was not necessarily tied to Lara's destiny. Still these movies always end with them simply discarding their extraordinary find.
The graphics were nice in this, yet not quite as astounding as the original. The style is still there and Jolie is hot as Lara. While it is interesting, I still find the first one to be a bit slicker. As a Tomb Raider fan it is more story content to play with including some clever scenes. I particularly like the orb, which is a hot technology idea, yet is still disappointing when it leads to an unusable anomaly of nature.
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