Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life Recap

Jamie

Lara Croft is back, Jack! And boy does she have a Cradle of Life to find. Hot on the tail of an ancient lost treasure, Lara finds out that it’s linked to a mythological plague and an eeeevil scientist is interested in releasing it. Can Lara stop the scientist (and perhaps find love) before it’s too late? Find out in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life.

How?! When an earthquake uncovers Alexander the Great’s lost treasure, Lara Croft is the first one there ready to make bank. But before she can leave she’s ambushed by a bunch of evildoers who take nothing but a curious orb. Turns out that orb is a link to Pandora’s Box and the Cradle of Life (and the unstoppable plague it holds) and the buyer is Johnathan Reiss, a Nobel Prize winning scientist-turned-bioterrorist. MI6 begs Lara to help them track and stop Reiss, but she’s like “I need my lover Gerard Butler/Terry stat.” They don’t like that because Terry is a criminal asshole, but relent for the sake of the world. Releasing Terry from prison, Lara and him extreme sport their way into China to confront the thieves. Lara is able to defeat the main bad guy in hand to hand combat and find out where the orb is being sold. They attempt to stop the transaction, but Reiss is able to get away, but not before Lara puts a tracker on the orb. Using that they are able to infiltrate the bad guy’s hideout and get the orb. Success! Lara drops Terry like a hot potato and figures out where the Cradle of Life is in Africa. Extreme sporting her way into Africa, she is dismayed to find that before she can get to the Cradle of Life, Reiss is able to use Lara’s friends to lead him to the location as well. He forces Lara to help him infiltrate the Cradle and slam dunk their way to Pandora’s Box. When all hope seems lost, Terry comes to the rescue and Lara is able to defeat Reiss in hand to hand combat. Phew. Everything is safe, right? WRONG! Terry is like “who cares about the world, this plague is worth a fortune!” and tries to convince Lara to steal it with him. With sadness in her eyes she must kill her former lover to keep the world safe. THE END. Big Question: What is Terry’s plan? Sell a plague for money… that will be worth nothing when the world’s economies collapse as a result of the plague? Smart.

Why?! Lara seems to be generally a treasure hunter, but once that’s out of the picture her main motivation is to save the world I guess. It’s actually a little interesting that MI6 requires the help of Lara for this mission given that she probably routinely breaks international law, but whatever. Everyone else is generally evil.

Who?! In a shocking turn of events we jumped from one insane Nobel Prize winning scientist film to another insane Nobel Prize winning scientist film in The Island of Dr. Moreau and this. Very unexpected. I’ll also note the fact that there is about five second of screentime for a submarine that comes to rescue Lara and yet Graham McTavish is somehow credited as “submarine captain.” Funny.

What?! I mean, I’m obligated to mention the Jeep Rubicon product placement in the film because, along with I, Robot, it generated a lot of discussion at the time of where product placement was heading (namely towards significant funding of a film’s production). However, I also have to point out that apparently the actual orb from this film has been listed for auction! So we could have an actual MacGuffin in our possession for the low price of *check price* nevermind.

Where?!  Oh, we’re a-globetrottin’. We start in Greece, head to Lara’s home in England, free Terry from prison in Kazakhstan(!),  and then set out for a long period of time in China before finishing in Tanzania. Despite the climax being in Tanzania, I think I’d have to say this is primarily a China film given the stretch of time spent there. Pretty great as a “road-trip” style settings film. B+ bordering on A- given the necessity of a few of the locations.

When?! Went back through the film and unfortunately there is no clear mention or hint at when this takes place. There is a Chinese newspaper shown at one point, so I’ll start learning Mandarin and report back on whether that sheds some light. Until then, F.

I was fully ready to say that this film was not that bad and even had a whole thing about how films of the early 2000s like this one set the stage for where the Fast and Furious franchise has taken things. It’s actually pretty fun how most of the film is just a series of extreme sports stunts mixed with classic James Bond spy shit and Indana Jones (with a bunch of jokes thrown in there). It’s like they started looking at these films and were like “well we can’t just keep on doing stunts and jokes, right?” and eventually they realized that they could. Unfortunately, the end of this film exists and it is complete garbage. Somehow they ruin the film in about ten minutes with some of the most ludicrous logic I’ve ever seen put to screen. I mean… Gerard Butler actually seems to think he can sell an unstoppable plague and everything will turn out OK for him. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. As for DOA, it is everything it’s advertised as. Shameless lingering shots of particular aspects of the female actor’s bodies combined with almost cartoony action scenes. Some of those are fun and Jamie Pressley is actually pretty good in it (she clearly trained like a champ for this and actually looks like a fighter), but that’s more or less the positives. A lot more negatives, most notable the acting and the fact that the latter half of the film is just Eric Roberts wearing “super sunglasses” fighting people. Patrick? 

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! If this was my movie I would call it Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: Pandora’s Plague Box (ft. Gerard Butler). That sounds like the song of the summah to me folks. Let’s get into it!

P’s View on the Preview – Back in the day we used to not do our homework. For shame! So sometimes there is some BMT flotsam to rescue from the BMT ocean. And Cradle of Life fits the bill. The original I remember being somewhat silly … but what did I think at the time? Turns out I thought it was pretty good, and possibly the best video game film we’d seen! That is promising, because the preview suggests the sequel was actually more well received than that original film. What were my expectations? Honestly a good time. I liked the original well enough, and it feels doubtful that a film that was more critically acclaimed could actually be worse. I also expected Gerard Butler to be a terrible actor.

The Good – The film itself is indeed rather entertaining. It tickles the exact spot you’d hope it would tickle: hey, what if they crossed James Bond and Indiana Jones. And the film felt like a perfect mix of Die Another Day and the fourth Indiana Jones film. What? Those films aren’t that bad! They are slightly better than the typical BMT standard. Angelina is really good in the film as well.

The Bad – Gerard is indeed not great, and neither is the bad buy, complete with James Bond-esque introduction on a plane involving henchmen and Ebola. Ultimately the entire film kind of falls apart in the last act. They needed something for the Cradle of Life, but Pandora’s Box complete with a pool of Pandora’s acidic tears? No thanks, that is a step too far. The CGI is still pretty bad.

The BMT – It is too bad they didn’t make a third of these films. I feel like after two valiant attempts they could have really managed a stinker of a film. Instead we got two kind of above average video game films. I’m not sure, but I think I liked the first one better, at least there you could psych yourself into some solid National Treasure Voight vibes. Here you just have Gerard Butler. And I’ve seen too many Gerard Butler films to appreciate him at this point. Did it meet my expectations? Yeah, it was basically a good time with some poorly acted scenes by Gerard Butler. I wish it had either gone overboard earlier (and gone full BMT), or later (and been Not That Bad), but instead we basically just got the first one again.

Roast-radamus – I’m going to throw out a tentative (Who?) for Q Conundrum, whereby every spy needs their Q, and in this case Lara Croft has *checks notes* Bryce. There is a decent Product Placement (What?) for the Jeep Rubicon which ends up becoming the star of the film once the gang arrives in Tanzania. I think I can throw out a good Setting as a Character (Where?) for China in particular, complete with terracotta warriors. But booooooooy howdy was there a MacGuffin (Why?), the Cradle of Life complete with Pandora’s plague sitting in a pool of acid tears. Natch. Let’s just throw that in a cave where physics doesn’t apply and be done with it! And definitely a Worst Twist (How?) for Gerard somehow being the most greedy and craven person in the world. A mercenary willing to sell a horrific world ending plague for money. What are you going to even do with that Gerard … the world will be all plagued! You’ll probably die! It’s absurd. Outside shot at Good although I highly doubt it.

StreetCreditReport.com – I can’t find a single list here, but it gets most of its cred from (1) being a video game adaptation, and (2) being a sequel to a video game adaptation. I do think this could be on some list of terrible Greek myth films, which is fun. And It is probably one of the worst action-adventure archeologist films as well. Decent cred there if you go looking for it.

You Just Got Schooled – Hmmmmm what could I possible put here. Oh wait, there was a remake just last year with Tomb Raider! I would say that Vikander is quite good in the film, as is Dominic West. The first half of the film is quite good, with a dispirited Lara fighting and biking her way through some serious depression. I liked those parts best. Once we get into the real mystery things just kind of become boring. I liked the ultimate twist (the eeeeeevil Japanese queen actually was just an asymptomatic carrier of a plague who killed herself to save her people) was really good and I liked the more down to earth mystery of that bit. I’m not sure if a sequel would end up being good or bad though. Usually I would say that getting out from under the origin story means a sequel can be its own thing. But the origin bits in London were by far the most interesting bits to me, so I’m not sure if that means a sequel would almost inevitably be worse. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. B+ adaptation I think, better than the two originals, but not by as much as you would hope.

Bring a Friend Analysis – And as a friend we brought another video game adaptation along in DOA: Dead or Alive. And holy shit is this a piece of shit. But you would have to know that going in. The most bizarre bit is just how big the film is. Over 40K votes on IMDb, a 26 notability (it really is an impressive cast), and a budget of $30 million according to reports. And yet it comes back to the US and barely gets released! The film makes you feel gross though. It was a different time (yada yada), but my god to they go out of their way to give you gratuitous butt and boob shots. It is distressing. And yet, you have a film that is basically led by five women, and at the very least Jaime Pressly seems pretty annoyed that it didn’t get a release (I’m sure when you get into that good of shape for a role to see it just die a slow death is pretty annoying). It isn’t the worst video game film I’ve seen, but it is close. B friend, pretty fun if you can see past the grossness.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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