Let keep the Bring a Friend magic flowing right into the action genre. We took the opportunity to grab a classic of the BMT action subgenre of video game films, while also grabbing a horrifically reviewed TV Movie of 2017. That’s right! We’re watching Lara Croft: Tomb RaiDirty Dancing (2017). Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was wildly successful as far as video game adaptations go, so I think people would be surprised to find just how poorly reviewed the film actually was. It’s crazy we haven’t already seen it. As for the Dirty Dancing TV remake, I heard only horrendous things about it. Hard to remake a classic from the 80’s with a total nobody in the iconic Swayze role and Abigail Breslin as Baby. Doomed from the start. Hopefully it’s a trainwreck and not just a snoozefest. Let’s go!
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) – BMeTric: 40.8
(So last week Jamie asked me why, if we were to assume xXx: Return of Xander Cage and xXx were somewhat equivalent, The Return of Xander Cage has a 5.2 on IMDb, but xXx has a 5.8. Voila! If you map the 50 thousand votes The Return of Xander Cage has thus far received, and the 150 thousand vote xXx received since 2002, it is well within the realm of possibility that regression to the mean could get The Return of Xander Cage up near the original. Oh, Lara Croft? Lots and lots of votes, slightly below average, likely to be just as ludicrous as xXx or The Return of Xander Cage, so we got that going for us.)
Leonard Maltin – 1.5 stars – Jolie plays the sexy British archeologist-adventurer who follows her late father’s instructions to find – and destroy – both pieces of an ancient relic that can control time. Perhaps the dullest action-adventure film ever made, with flat writing and performances (save for Jolie) and lifeless direction, sparked now and them by some flashy set pieces. Voight, Jolie’s real-life father, plays Croft’s dad. BAsed on a popular computer game. To quote a character in the film itself, “Enough of this twaddle!”. Followed by a sequel.
(Oh, yeah it is followed by a sequel. One which will be addressed at some point in time. Both Ebert and Leonard both kind of had “old man” responses to this film, much to the chagrin of some online communities it would seem. Probably doesn’t help that Ebert never really lived down the whole video-games-as-art debacle. These films having gotten >20% on Rotten Tomatoes each actually end up as one of the more successful video game franchise adaptions … amazing.)
(That looks not great. But … no that looks not great. Like Bulletproof Monk, all wire work and ridiculousness. I think the thing I’m looking most forward to is the CGI. That robot monster and the statues look absolutely dire.)
Directors – Simon West – (Known For: The Expendables 2; Con Air; The Mechanic; Future BMT: When a Stranger Calls; Stolen; Wild Card; The General’s Daughter; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: He turned down Black Hawk Down to direct this movie. From the UK, he started his career in commercials, the most notable is probably this guy for Budweiser.)
Writers – Sara B. Cooper (story) – (BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: She appears to be a big name in television writing and production (for things like Continuum and House), so was probably brought in as a script doctor.)
Mike Werb (story) – (Known For: The Mask; Face/Off; Curious George; Future BMT: Firehouse Dog; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: He’s done one thing or another throughout his career, but has mostly stuck to television recently. Was involved with the adaptation of Stretch Armstrong, but that project never saw the light of day.)
Michael Colleary (story) – (Known For: Face/Off; Future BMT: Death Wish V: The Face of Death; Firehouse Dog; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: Long time writing partner of Werb starting with Face/Off.)
Simon West (adaptation) – (BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: It is his only credit. Makes a bit of sense, he dropped Black Hawk Down for this, so it would make sense they would give him complete control over the script in the end.)
Patrick Massett (screenplay) – (Known For: Gold; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: Primarily a television writer, but also an actor back in the day. Including a part in a Warf-centric two parter (Reunion and Sins of the Father) of Star Trek The Next Generation. Classic episodes guys.)
John Zinman (screenplay) – (Known For: Gold; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: Writing partner of Massett it would seem. Both nominated as part of a Friday Nights Lights nomination for the Emmys. He doesn’t have the acting cred, but he does appear as a minor writing credit on an early draft of Deep Blue Sea, so he’s got that going for him.)
Actors – Angelina Jolie – (Known For: Maleficent; Wanted; The Good Shepherd; Girl, Interrupted; Mr. & Mrs. Smith; Kung Fu Panda 3; Salt; Kung Fu Panda; Beowulf; Changeling; Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow; Kung Fu Panda 2; Playing by Heart; A Mighty Heart; Pushing Tin; Hell’s Kitchen; Future BMT: Alexander; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; By the Sea; Life or Something Like It; The Tourist; Shark Tale; Original Sin; Playing God; Taking Lives; Hackers; Gone in Sixty Seconds; Foxfire; Beyond Borders; The Bone Collector; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actress in 2002 for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, and Original Sin; in 2003 for Life or Something Like It; in 2004 for Beyond Borders, and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; and in 2005 for Alexander, and Taking Lives; Notes: Recently got a divorce from Brad Pitt, with whom she had three biological children (along with him adopting her three adopted children). She has more recently been directing films.)
Jon Voight – (Known For: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; Heat; Holes; Tropic Thunder; Transformers; Deliverance; Mission: Impossible; National Treasure; Enemy of the State; Zoolander; The Manchurian Candidate; Catch-22; The Rainmaker; Midnight Cowboy; Varsity Blues; Ali; Coming Home; U Turn; Runaway Train; Glory Road; Future BMT: Anaconda; Big Fat Important Movie; Four Christmases; Pearl Harbor; Most Wanted; National Treasure: Book of Secrets; Pride and Glory; BMT: Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2; Bratz; Getaway; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; September Dawn; Razzie Notes: Nominated for Worst Actor, and Worst Screen Couple for Anaconda in 1998; and Nominated for Worst Supporting Actor in 1998 for Most Wanted, and U Turn; in 2005 for Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2; and in 2008 for Bratz, National Treasure: Book of Secrets, September Dawn, and Transformers; Notes: Angelina Jolie’s real life father, although he was somewhat famously estranged from his children until their mother’s death.)
Iain Glen – (Known For: My Cousin Rachel; Eye in the Sky; The Iron Lady; Harry Brown; Gorillas in the Mist; Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead; The Bad Education Movie; Mountains of the Moon; Song for a Raggy Boy; Mrs. Ratcliffe’s Revolution; Future BMT: The Last Legion; Resident Evil: The Final Chapter; Darkness; Resident Evil: Apocalypse; Resident Evil: Extinction; Beautiful Creatures; Kick-Ass 2; The Young Americans; BMT: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider; Notes: Quite famous now for portraying Game of Thrones roguishly handsome Jorah (the Explorer) Mormont.)
Budget/Gross – $115 million / Domestic: $131,168,070 (Worldwide: $274,703,340)
(A reasonable success, and no surprise they quickly moved a sequel into production. I won’t say any spoilers concerning a plot three spots down, but let’s just say video game adaptations don’t usually make this much money.)
#11 for the Action Heroine genre
(Between two Divergents, not bad. They tried to make this happen around 2005 with Elektra, and Ultraviolet, and Aeon Flux. Didn’t happen. More recently though the releases and box office takes have gone off like a shot. Solid stuff.)
#9 for the Treasure Hunt genre
(Below National Treasure, so not the highest grossing Jon Voight treasure hunting film … I wonder why the genre basically died recently. I wonder if it has to do with treasure hunting just not being a part of superhero films? Or if during uneasy economic times people just don’t want to watch assholes look around for treasure? Hard to tell. I would argue the recent Mummy though had enough treasure hunting elements to count though.)
#1 for the Video Game Adaptation genre
(This came at a boom of video game adaptations, but it never sparked the necessary fire, almost definitely because none of the films were critically acclaimed. Unbelievable that only two films have broken the one hundred million mark domestically. A ton of these are Uwe Boll films, so basically fake films made for tax breaks.)
Rotten Tomatoes – 20% (31/157): Angelina Jolie is perfect for the role of Lara Croft, but even she can’t save the movie from a senseless plot and action sequences with no emotional impact.
(This is quite a common sentiment. Basically that she’s either fine or good in the role. But basically the movie is nonsense, like all video game adaptation (so far) have been.)
Poster – Lara Sklog: Tomb Raider (C+)
(Much like The Mummy poster from earlier this year, the poster basically just screams Angelina Jolie: The Movie. Like the grey-blue tone overall and benefits from the video game’s font, but otherwise not particularly interesting.)
Tagline(s) – Born into Wealth. Groomed by the Elite. Trained for Combat. (C-)
(I don’t know where this tagline came from since there isn’t one on the poster. It’s like they read my book about taglines from the future and tried to make one that fit everything I like… and yet somehow I don’t like it. It’s feels like a mad lib. Just filling in the blanks with random words.)
Keyword(s) – tomb; Top Ten by BMeTric: 76.1 I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (1998); 66.3 The Pyramid (2014); 63.4 Dracula 2001 (2000); 61.7 The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008); 54.8 An American Werewolf in Paris (1997); 53.5 Gods of Egypt (2016); 52.6 Venom (2005); 50.6 Mortuary (I) (2005); 50.5 Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie (2004); 50.5 Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (2010);
(Oh yeah, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer had a tomb. The rest of these movies though, yikes! I would think I Know Who Killed Me would qualify, so I can only assume this is a case of missing links.)
Notes – When Lara starts smashing the clock with a hammer, Hillary (the butler) uses a silver tray to protect his face. This is a reference to the games in which -while exploring Croft Manor- the player can shoot at the butler who then also uses the tray he’s carrying around to protect himself. (So most of these claimed references are pushing it … but this one is actually quite nice).
Lara Croft’s father is played by Angelina Jolie’s real life father, actor Jon Voight.
Highest grossing action film with a woman in lead role. Second is Aliens (1986). (Definitely no longer true, the Hunger Games films gross about as much as this film did domestically in their opening weekends)
Lara Croft is English and Alex West is American. However, the actress Angelina Jolie who plays Croft is American and Daniel Craig, the actor who plays West, is English. (Yeah, Daniel Craig sounds super weird with his phony American accent since he’s become famous)
In the video game, Lara Croft is a 36DD. Angelina Jolie is naturally a 36C, and was padded to a 36D for the movie, as it was felt that padding to the original character size would be too unrealistic. (Creepy facts dudes)
This film marks the first time in more than three decades that a Hollywood production has been filmed in Cambodia, the previous film being Lord Jim (1965).
Lara has been given several gadgets in the film which are specific nods at certain gameplay features (of the Tomb Raider game and games in general) – among them the reloader belt or back pack (allowing her to reload her guns very quickly and without fidgeting about with clips or bullets) and the back pack itself (which almost mysteriously “swallows” any item moved close to its bottom or side by Lara, like the first half of the Triangle).
The makers at first envisioned the scenes ultimately shot in Cambodia taking place at the Great Wall of China. When schedule didn’t allow for this to happen, the alternative was to build the Great Wall in Scotland. Ultimately, they opted for the stone temples of Cambodia instead.
Apart from normal jumping, the only moves Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) does in the movie which can also be done in the games is the jump over the living statue and rolls in the air. This can be done in the Playstation game by pressing forward and square, then circle while in the air.
Lara’s training robot is named Simon, after the director Simon West.
Angelina Jolie was extremely hesitant towards wearing Lara’s famous short shorts that she wears in the games and the opening fight scene with Simon, however she eventually agreed because she knew it would make the fans of the character happy.
Lara Croft uses an Ericsson Bluetooth Headset and an Ericsson R310 mobile phone. (So many of these facts are literally just the objects in the movie. You have no idea how many very specific gun identifications I had to delete from this like. Gun IMDb is a thing, and this movie must … attract the kinds of people who post to that).
Angelina Jolie took drug tests to test her mental well being during filming due to concern about the rumors of drug use and her relationship with Billy Bob Thornton. (weird!)
Executive producer Stuart Baird did uncredited re-editing work on this film and Mission: Impossible II (2000) for Paramount in exchange for the job of directing Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). (Ha! Nemesis is supposed to be by far the worst Star Trek film so …)
Stephen Herek was originally supposed to direct, but he dropped out to make Rock Star (2001) instead. (eeeeeh, about the same)
The rather odd looking record player, shown for a brief second, when she is doing her bungee ballet, in her house is a Clear, Audio Master Reference Table. It comes all Gold plated, And Retails for $27,000 U.S.D. (See, other people are as weird about movie things as we are about settings).
Nominated for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Angelina Jolie)