<! this is just a line spacer>
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
<! pre preserves exact line breaks and spacing> <! ... here if you don't want the directed by sidebox on the left with the actor's names>
Here in "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life," Lara - we can call her Lara, right? - archaeologist, adventurer and savior of the world's treasures, manages to a) destroy about fifty of the great Chinese terra cotta soldiers in the underground site at Xian; and b) destroy a Greek temple that had been lost underwater when an early earthquake sent it to the bottom. Another critic compares her record of saving art treasures to that of the Taliban. She also captures a glowing gold sphere from that underwater temple, a sphere that turns out to be, like "Pulp Fiction"'s briefcase, this film's MacGuffin.
Since she is played by the nearly animatronic Angelina Jolie with verve and authority, the film isn't quite as bad as you might expect. When things got boring I would look for the tattoos that cover Jolie's body, but the makeup people on this film will certainly deserve Oscar consideration because her skin seemed flawless.
It is possible that "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" has a story, but if so it completely escaped me. There is much action, including the sequences described above, and there is the scene you'll recall from the trailer in which she and her on-again off-again lover Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler) leap from a Hong Kong skyscraper wearing what appear to be little Michelin Man bumper suits and flying three miles out into the harbor to safety. Don't ask; it's just movie magic.
Whom I really feel sorry for is poor Djimon Hounsou, who makes his appearance when we get to Africa - oh, didn't I mention that it's the cradle of life and Pandora's box is - umm, never mind - anyway, poor Djimon Hounsou is I hope getting a big paycheck for being a big macher in his tribe and bringing Lara to, ta-dahh! the Cradle of Life, where, and here I must give away the secret, Pandora's Box sits in a pool of black acid, which we know because it conveniently eats villain number one (Ciaran Hinds), who's been pursuing her and the Box for two hours. I hope you like the movie as much as I liked making this review for you. Sincerely, your friend Robert Glatzer.
P.S. The film was directed by Jan De Bont, whose career has gone, well, you decide: 1) "Speed," 2) "Twister," 3) "Speed 2," 4) "The Haunting," and now 5) "LCTR:TCOL." Where to next? <! new pasted review ends on line above>