Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Simon West
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
Based on Tomb Raider 
by Core Design
Starring
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography Peter Menzies Jr.
Edited by
Production
company
Mutual Film Company
Eidos Interactive
Lawrence Gordon Productions
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates June 15, 2001 (2001-06-15TUS)
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom
Japan
Germany[1]
Language English
Budget $115 million[2]
Box office $274,703,340[2]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (or simply Tomb Raider) is a 2001 action film based on the popular Tomb Raider video game series featuring the character Lara Croft portrayed by Angelina Jolie. The film was directed by Simon West and was released during the summer of 2001.

The film received primarily negative reviews from critics, who criticized the film's video game-like action sequences and senseless plot, though Jolie's performance as Croft was praised by critics and fans of the video game series alike. Despite the negative reception, the film was a financial success, ranking at number one in its opening weekend at the box office. At the time of the film's release, it was the highest-grossing video game adaptation until it was surpassed by Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which grossed $336 million. The film is also the highest-grossing action film with a woman in the lead role, next to Sigourney Weaver's Aliens.

A sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, was released in 2003, which, despite critically surpassing Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (it was regarded as an improvement over this installment), was not as financially successful, only grossing $156 million compared to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider's $274 million gross.

Plot[edit]

The film opens with Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) in an Egyptian tomb, seeking a diamond at one end of a chamber. As she approaches she is attacked by a large robot. After an intense chase and battle, she disables it by ripping out its motivational circuits. She takes the diamond, which is revealed to be a memory card labeled "Lara's Party Mix", and inserts it into a laptop computer inside the robot, whereupon it plays music. Now it is revealed that the scene took place in a practice arena in her home, and that her assistant Bryce (Noah Taylor) programmed the robot, SIMON, to challenge her in combat.

It is the day of the first phase of a planetary alignment, culminating in a solar eclipse, which (in the film) happens once every 5,000 years. In Venice, the Illuminati search for a key to rejoin halves of "the triangle", which must be done by the final phase of the alignment. Mr. Powell (Iain Glen), an Illuminati member, makes assurances that they are almost ready, but in reality he has no idea where to find the key.

Lara's butler, James "Hilly" Hillary (Chris Barrie), tries to interest her in several projects; but she ignores them. May 15, as Hilly is aware, is the day that Lara's father disappeared many years earlier. She has not recovered from his loss.

Later that night, Lara has a dream reminding her what her father said about the alignment and an object linked to it called the Triangle of Light. Waking, she is aware of a clock ticking. Searching for it, she discovers a secret chamber under the staircase with a carriage clock that had spontaneously begun ticking. Bryce probes it and discovers a strange device hidden inside the clock.

Since the device resembles a clock, Lara consults a clock expert friend of her father's, Mr. Wilson (Leslie Phillips). She believes it is connected to the "Triangle of Light", but Wilson disavows knowledge of the clock or the Triangle. Lara encounters Alex West (Daniel Craig), a fellow tomb raider with unscrupulous methods. They are attracted to each other, but Croft cannot abide his for-profit attitude. That night, Lara is contacted by Wilson, who tells her that he gave her name to a man named Manfred Powell in regards of the clock. In reality, Wilson is also a member of the Illuminati.

The next day, Lara sees Powell in his home, and shows him photographs of the clock. Later, while discussing it with Bryce, she points out that Powell was lying about his knowledge. That night, as Lara does a bungee ballet, armed commandos invade the house and steal the clock despite her attempts to fend them off.

The next morning, Lara receives a letter from her father, arranged to arrive after the beginning of the alignment, where he explains that the clock is the key to retrieve two halves of the mystic Triangle of Light, which is revealed to be an object of phenomenal destructive power that granted its wielder power over time and space. He says that it was made from a metal found in a meteor crater made by a meteor that had fallen to earth during a previous alignment. Initially housed in a city built in the meteor crater by those who worshiped the object, misuse of the Triangle's power destroyed the city and so it was split into two halves; one was hidden in a tomb in Cambodia, the other half in the ruined city itself, in modern-day Siberia. Her father urges her to find and destroy both halves before the Illuminati can find it.

In Cambodia, West figures out part of the puzzle on how to retrieve the triangle half, but Lara manages to successfully grab the piece. Before everyone can leave, the liquid metal which came out with the piece brings the statues in the temple to life and attacks the team killing some members. Lara is left to fight off and destroy a huge six-armed guardian statue which is the last one to come to life. She successfully defeats it and leaves the temple by diving through a waterfall. She then travels to a Buddhist town where a young monk welcomes her. After a worship service, an aged monk who is the leader there gives Lara some tea and as they converse, he tells her that he knew her father before.

She and Powell arrange to meet in Venice, since each of them has what the other needs to finish the Triangle. Powell proposes a partnership to find the Triangle, and informs Lara that her father was a member of the Illuminati, which she vehemently denies. Though hesitant at first, she, along with Bryce, meets with Powell for the trip to Siberia. Inside the tomb, there is a giant model of the solar system, which activates as the alignment nears completion. Lara retrieves the last half of the Triangle, but when Powell tries to complete it, the halves will not fuse. He realizes that Lara knows the solution to the puzzle, and kills West in order to persuade her to complete the Triangle to save both West's life and her father's. Lara reluctantly complies, and they then struggle for control of the Triangle, with Lara prevailing.

Lara then finds herself in a strange alternate existence facing her father Richard Croft (Jon Voight). He explains that it is a "crossing" of time and space, and urges her to destroy the Triangle instead of using it to save his life. She leaves her father and returns to the chamber, where time is slowly running backwards from the point where Powell killed West. Croft takes the knife he threw into West's chest and reverses it, then destroys the Triangle, which returns time to its normal flow and directs the knife into Powell's shoulder. The chamber begins to self-destruct, Everyone turns to leave, but Powell tells Croft that he killed her father and retrieved his pocket watch with a picture of Lara's mother inside. Lara and Powell engage in a hand-to-hand fight. Lara kills him, retrieves it, and escapes as the chamber crumbles.

At the mansion, Hilly and Bryce are shocked to see Lara wearing a dress. She goes into the garden to her father's memorial, then returns inside, where Bryce has a reprogrammed SIMON, ready to challenge Lara once again. Hilly reveals a silver tray holding Lara's pistols, which she takes with a smile.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Tomb Raider went through many drafts and several writers, which resulted in production delays. In 1998, writer Brent V. Friedman, who had co-written Mortal Kombat: Annihilation the year before, penned an unproduced Tomb Raider script. Producer and screenwriter Steven E. de Souza, who wrote and directed the 1994 video game film Street Fighter, penned an early draft of the Tomb Raider script in 1999, but it was rejected by Paramount. The final draft of the script was attributed to five writers, including director Simon West.

Financing[edit]

Lara Croft was financed through Tele-München Gruppe (TMG), a German tax shelter. The tax law of Germany allowed investors to take an instant tax deduction even on non-German productions and even if the film has not gone into production. By selling them the copyright for $94 million and then buying it back for $83.8 million, Paramount Pictures made $10.2 million. The copyright was then sold again to Lombard Bank, a British investment group and a further $12 million was made. However, to qualify for Section 48 tax relief, the production must include some UK filming and British actors, which was acceptable for a film partially set in the United Kingdom. Presales to distributors in Japan, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain made a further $65 million. Showtime paid $6.8 million for premium cable TV rights. In total, $94 million was put together.

The deal between Eidos, Tomb Raider's publisher, and Paramount Pictures was structured so Eidos received a single fee, but no royalties.[3]

Casting[edit]

The casting of Jolie was controversial among many fans of the Tomb Raider series, who felt she was physically inappropriate to play the large-breasted heroine; others complained about an American actress being hired to play a British character. Prior to Jolie's being cast in the role, numerous other actresses (and non-actresses) were rumored to be in consideration, most notably Demi Moore. UK nude model Linsey Dawn McKenzie was also rumored by some media to be in the running for the part.

The film marked the feature film debut of television actor Christopher Barrie, known for his role of Arnold Rimmer in the BBC science fiction comedy series Red Dwarf. Iain Glen, a Scot, adopted an English accent as Powell, whilst English actor Daniel Craig adopts an American accent for the role of Alex West. Jolie, being American herself, takes on an English accent. Jon Voight, Angelina Jolie's father plays Richard Croft, Lara's father in the film.

Filming[edit]

Portions of the film were shot on location at Angkor, Cambodia.

Release[edit]

Reception[edit]

The film received generally negative reviews, earning a 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 29 out of 155 critics giving it a positive review with an average rating of 3.9/10. The general consensus is "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".[4] IGN gave the movie the lowest score, a 0.0 ("Disaster") rating, condemning everything from character performances to the ending. A positive review came from Roger Ebert, who awarded the film three out of four stars and said, "'Lara Croft Tomb Raider' elevates goofiness to an art form. Here is a movie so monumentally silly, yet so wondrous to look at, that only a churl could find fault."[5]

Box office performance[edit]

Tomb Raider was a box office success. The movie debuted at number one with $48.2 million, giving Paramount its second-best debut and the fifth-highest debut of 2002. It beat the opening record for a film featuring a female protagonist (($42.3) million for Scary Movie) as well as the opening record for a video game adaptation ($31 million for Pokémon: The First Movie), and is the third most successful video game adaptation to date, grossing $274,703,340 worldwide, behind only Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Resident Evil: Afterlife, although it is still #1 based on the number of the tickets sales, attendance and adjustment based on today's ticket price gross. Adjusted by inflation, when compared to new releases, the movie has grossed $188,872,700 in America alone is ticketwise has sold more than 20 million.[6][7] The movie has grossed a total of US$274 million worldwide which is the highest for any Video Game Adaptation movie. An updated adjusted boxoffice would bring the movie's boxoffice around $350 million [8]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Angelina Jolie was nominated for the Worst Actress Golden Raspberry Award for her role in the film, but she lost to Mariah Carey in Glitter. The film was also nominated for two MTV Movie Awards, these awards included: Best Female Performance and Best Fight scene, but the film lost to Moulin Rouge! and Rush Hour 2 respectively. The film was also nominated for Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie - Drama.

Music[edit]

Soundtrack[edit]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released June 15, 2001[9]
Genre Alternative rock, electronic
Length 69:01
72:14 (Australian release)
Label Elektra / WEA[9]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a 2001 soundtrack album to the film. The various artists soundtrack was released June 15, 2001. The Score was later released on June 25, 2001. The movie also featured the songs "Lila" by Vas and "Piano Concerto in F Minor" performed by Hae-Wong Chang. These were not featured on the soundtrack. Also used in the movie were elements of "Elevation (Influx Remix)" by U2. This was uncredited.

Score[edit]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Original Motion Picture Score
Soundtrack album by Graeme Revell (Composer), Rolf Wilson (Vocals), Isobel Griffiths (Vocals)
Released June 25, 2001[9]
Genre Film score, orchestral
Length 48 Minutes
Label Elektra / WEA[9]

New Zealand-born Graeme Revell composed the score for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. After fans complained the soundtrack track-listing was nonsensical, on July 21, 2001, Revell posted a revised track-list on his website.[12]

Producers originally wished to hire game composer Nathan McCree, and later opted for Michael Kamen, a more Hollywood choice. Unfortunately for the composer, he did not receive any feedback from the studio until after supplying a second demo recording where he was dismissed. Composer Graeme Revell was hired very late in the production, with reportedly 10 days to write, record and finish a replacement score. The short amount of time prevented Revell from travelling to the scoring sessions overseas, at London, aided by his associates including his brother.

The CD was released through Elektra Entertainment, but as noted by Revell and after failed attempts to stop the pressings, the tracks were mislabeled. For example, the opening track includes both the Main Titles and Lara Croft at Home cues together. The resulting score was poorly received,[citation needed] even so that the composer himself issued an apology through his website.[13] The tracklist was later revised.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Lara Croft Tomb Raider". British Film Institute. London. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved June 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ Epstein, Edward Jay (April 25, 2005). "How To Finance a Hollywood Blockbuster". Slate. Archived from the original on September 1, 2009. Retrieved September 1, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved September 1, 2009. 
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 15, 2001). "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (review)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved July 3, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Weekend Box Office". Box Office Guru. June 18, 2001. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Video Game Adaptation Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d "Tomb Raider: Music". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2014-08-06. 
  10. ^ Green's feature is not mentioned in the soundtrack credits
  11. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/album/r540784
  12. ^ a b c Castillo, Phil (July 29, 2002). "GraemeRevell.com NEWS". GraemeRevell.com. Archived from the original on August 1, 2002. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Tomb Raider (Graeme Revell)". Filmtracks. 2001-06-26. Retrieved 2014-08-06. 

External links[edit]