Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft film.jpg
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
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates June 11, 2001 (2001-06-11TPremire)
June 15, 2001 (2001-06-15TUS)
July 6, 2001 (2001-07-06TUK)
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
United Kingdom
Japan
Germany
Language English
Budget $115 million
Box office $274,703,340

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) (or simply Tomb Raider) is an adventure thriller film adapted from the Tomb Raider video game series. Directed by Simon West and starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, it was released in U.S. theaters on June 15, 2001. The film was a commercial success. The film held the title of highest grossing video game to film adaptation worldwide, until on June 16, 2010, the record was taken by Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which grossed $335 million worldwide as of October 10, 2010. Reviews were largely negative, with critics criticizing the sloppy direction and video-game-esque action-sequences, but praising Jolie's performance.

A sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, was released in 2003.

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.[1]

Casting[edit]

Demi Moore was widely reported to have been in consideration for the role of Lara Croft. . Also Pornstar Linsey Dawn McKenzie was also considered. The film marked the feature film debut of television actor Christopher Barrie (Hillary), 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.

Release[edit]

Reception[edit]

The film received generally negative reviews, earning a 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 29 out of 154 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".[2] 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."[3]

Box office performance[edit]

Tomb Raider was a box office success. The movie debuted at number one with a towering $48.2 million, giving Paramount its second-best debut and the fourth-highest debut of 2001. It beat the opening record for a film featuring a female protagonist ($40.1 million for Charlie's Angels) 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.[4][5]

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.

Soundtrack[edit]

The Soundtrack[edit]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released June 15, 2001[6]
Genre Rock, Alternative, Electronica, Film Soundtrack
Length 69:01
72:14 (Australian Release)
Label Elektra / WEA[6]

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 26, 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.

The Score[edit]

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Original Motion Picture Score
Soundtrack album by Graeme Revell (Composer), Rolf Wilson (Vocals), Isobel Griffiths (Vocals)
Released June 26, 2001[6]
Genre Film Soundtrack, Orchestral
Length 48 Minutes
Label Elektra / WEA[6]

Kiwi-born Graeme Revell composed the score for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. After fans complained the soundtrack track-listing was nonsensical, on 21 July 2001, Revell posted a revised track-list on his website[9]

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, even so that the composer himself issued an apology through his website.[10] The tracklist was later revised[9]

Tomb Raider: The Ride[edit]

In 2002, an attraction was opened at Paramount's Kings Island (then owned by Paramount Pictures) themed to the film "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider." The most expensive ride ever opened at the park, Tomb Raider: The Ride was essentially nothing more than a Top Spin, an amusement park ride featured at many carnivals and theme parks. However, Tomb Raider: The Ride was the world's first (and to this day, only) Giant Top Spin, nearly doubling the capacity of these carnival rides and drastically increasing the height of the ride.

Tomb Raider: The Ride was billed as a "totally immersive dark ride adventure." Synchronized to a musical score composed specifically for the ride, the ride continued the adventurers of Lara Croft from the film, essentially asking riders to help her find and destroy the Triangle, which is fiercely guarded by the goddess of war, Durga. The queue line for the ride featured the warrior monkey statues as well as the six-armed Brahma shrine from the film (the actual film props), while the ride chamber itself featured a specially created 80-foot-tall (24 m) carving of the goddess Durga. Upon awakening the goddess by mistake, her "laser" eyes shattered the headlights of the car, leaving the first portion of the ride in pitch black darkness lit only by her fire and ice emblems which she held in her hands.

Playing off scenes from the film, the ride blasted riders skyward inches from razor-sharp stalactites, then held riders upside down to view an erupting volcano stretching up the back wall. Just before the ride's finale, riders were held face down to view a bubbling pit of "lava" beneath them which, synchronized to music, squirted up fountains of lava at riders, often spritzing them.

The ride ended with Angelina Jolie reprising her role as Lara Croft to narrate on the defeat of the goddess as the chamber filled with smoke and the Triangle and goddess were cracked down the center, ending the goddess' malevolent reign over the temple and assuring that no one would ever use the Triangle for evil.

In 2008, Paramount Pictures sold the park to Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, owners of world famous Cedar Point. Forced to removed all references to Paramount films and licensing, the ride was renamed The Crypt. While all the film props, music, and lighting were removed, the 80-foot-tall (24 m) carving of the goddess Durga can still be seen on the walls, though the ride takes place in pitch black darkness, devoid of ice and lava effects.

On February 12, 2012, the park announced that, "The Crypt has reached the end of its service life," via its public relations Twitter account.[11]

Reboot[edit]

Oscar-nominated scribes Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby have reportedly completed their script work for a rebooting of the Tomb Raider movie franchise, which GK Films acquired the rights to earlier this year. The plan, at that time, was to craft a cinematic reworking of badass adventurer Lara Croft’s origins that could (fairly) quickly begin production, in order to make a 2013 release date.

References[edit]

External links[edit]