Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Lara Croft Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life Poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jan de Bont
Produced by
Screenplay by Dean Georgaris
Story by
Based on Tomb Raider 
by Core Design
Starring
Music by Alan Silvestri
Cinematography David Tattersall
Edited by Michael Kahn
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • July 21, 2003 (2003-07-21) (premiere)
  • July 25, 2003 (2003-07-25) (United States)
  • August 22, 2003 (2003-08-22) (United Kingdom)
Running time
110 minutes[1]
Country United States
Germany
Japan
United Kingdom[2]
Language English
Mandarin
Budget $95 million[1]
Box office $156.5 million[1]

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is a 2003 action-adventure film based on the Tomb Raider video game series. Angelina Jolie stars as the titular Lara Croft character, and supporting roles include Gerard Butler, Ciarán Hinds, Chris Barrie, Noah Taylor, Til Schweiger, Djimon Hounsou, and Simon Yam. The film was directed by Jan de Bont and is a sequel to the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

Like the first film, the film received mostly negative reviews, though critics noted an improvement on its predecessor particularly in the action sequences and continued to praise Jolie's performance as Lara Croft. Despite the film's critical improvement over its predecessor, it did not repeat its financial success, grossing $156 million compared to the previous installment's $274 million. It is Jan de Bont's final film.

Plot[edit]

On Santorini island, Greece, a strong earthquake uncovers the Luna Temple. The temple was built by Alexander the Great to house his most prized treasures. Among these treasures is a glowing orb with a pattern resembling a code etched into it. Lara (Angelina Jolie) finds this orb; but crime lord Chen Lo (Simon Yam) attacks her group, kill her two companions and takes the orb. Lara escapes with a strange medallion.

MI6 approaches Lara with information of Pandora's Box. It is an object from ancient legends that supposedly contains a deadly plague (the companion to the origin of life itself). They need to get it before Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds) - Nobel Prize winning scientist turned bio-terrorist - does. The box, hidden in the mysterious Cradle of Life, can only be found with a magical sphere that serves as a map. The same sphere was stolen by Chen Lo, who plans to sell the sphere to Reiss.

Lara agrees to help them, with the condition that they release her old flame Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), who has knowledge of Chen Lo's criminal operation. Together, Terry and Lara infiltrate Chen Lo's lair, where he is smuggling Terracotta Soldiers. Lara defeats him in a fight and learns the location of the orb.

Lara and Terry then meet up with Kosa (Djimon Hounsou), an African friend. They question a local tribe about the Cradle of Life. The tribe's Chief states that the Cradle of Life is in a crater protected by the "Shadow Guardians". As they set out on an expedition, Reiss' men ambush them and kill the tribesmen. Outnumbered, Lara surrenders.

Using her companions as hostages, Reiss forces Lara to lead him to the Cradle of Life. At the crater, they encounter the Shadow Guardians, humanoid creatures that appear in and out of wet patches on dead trees. The creatures kill most of Reiss' men. Lara manages to find the "key hole" and drops the Orb in it. The Guardians disintegrate and the entrance to the Cradle of Life opens.

Lara and Reiss are drawn into the Cradle, a labyrinth made of a strange crystalline substance. Inside, they find a pool of highly corrosive black acid (linking back to one of the myths about Pandora's Box), in which the box floats. Normal laws of physics seem not to apply, as Lara and Reiss are able to walk (upside down) along the ceiling of the cave. Terry arrives, frees the hostages and catches up to Lara.

Lara fights Reiss, and knocks him into the acid pool after Terry distracts him. The acid kills and dissolves Reiss. Terry then announces the intention to take the box for himself. When he refuses to back down, Lara regretfully shoots him dead, replaces the box in the pool and leaves.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The budget for the film was $95 million (less than the first film's $115 million budget), and like the first film, it was financed through Tele München Gruppe. The picture was also distributed internationally by Japanese company Toho-Towa.[3]

Filming lasted for three and a half months, which included six-day shoots on location in Hong Kong, Santorini, Llyn Gwynant in North Wales[4] (doubling for mainland China), and a two-week stint in Kenya for shooting at Amboseli and Hell's Gate, with the remainder of the picture filmed on soundstages in the UK.[5] One scene in the film was set in Shanghai, but it was shot on a set and not on location.

The film also featured the new 2003 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, first seen when Lara parachutes into the moving vehicle in Africa and takes over the wheel from Kosa. As part of Jeep's advertising campaign, it was specially customised for the film by Jeep's design team along with the film's production designers, with three copies constructed for filming.[6] 1,001 limited-run Tomb Raider models were produced—available only in silver like the film version and minus its special customisations—and put on the market to coincide with the release of the film. Jeep vice president Jeff Bell explained, "[The ad campaign] is more than just a product placement [...] the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon is the most capable Jeep ever built, so the heroic and extreme environment in which Lara Croft uses her custom Wrangler Rubicon in Tomb Raider is accurate."[7] In the end, Lara's Rubicon had less than two total minutes of screen time in the finished film.

Release[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life holds a 24% rating out of 166 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes,[8] and a 43/100 rating on Metacritic.[9] Salon described it as a "highly enjoyable summer thrill ride."[10] Roger Ebert gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, stating that the film was "better than the first one, more assured, more entertaining [...] it uses imagination and exciting locations to give the movie the same kind of pulp adventure feeling we get from the Indiana Jones movies."[11] David Rooney of Variety praised Jolie for being "hotter, faster and more commanding than last time around as the fearless heiress/adventuress, plus a little more human."[12]

The film was nonetheless heavily panned. Rene Rodriguez of The Miami Herald called it "another joyless, brain-numbing adventure through lackluster Indiana Jones territory";[9] James Berardinelli of ReelViews said "The first Tomb Raider was dumb fun; Cradle of Life is just plain dumb [...] the worst action movie of the summer."[13] Wesley Morris of The Boston Globe wrote, "It's a bullet-riddled National Geographic special [that] produces a series of dumb, dismal shootouts that are so woefully choreographed there's reason to believe Debbie Allen may be behind them." He then said of director De Bont, "He has yet to meet a contraption he couldn't use to damage your hearing."[14] Jolie earned a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actress for her performance in the film.

Box office performance[edit]

The film debuted in fourth place with a take of $21.8 million.[15] In the UK, the film opened at number three, earning £1.5 million in its first three days.[16] The film finished with a domestic gross of $65 million.

Paramount blamed the failure of the film on the poor performance of the then-latest installment of the video game series, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness.[17] After numerous delays, Angel of Darkness was rushed to shelves just over a month before the release of the movie, despite the final product being unfinished and loaded with glitches. It spawned mediocre sales while garnering mixed reviews from critics,[18] and former Eidos Interactive senior executive Jeremy Heath-Smith, who was also credited as an executive producer in the film, resigned days after the game was released.[17]

In March 2004, producer Lloyd Levin said that Cradle of Life had earned enough internationally for Paramount to bankroll a second sequel, but any hopes of it going into production were soon quelled by Jolie's announcement that she had no desire to play Lara Croft a third time. "I just don't feel like I need to do another one. I felt really happy with the last one. It was one we really wanted to do."[19]

Music[edit]

As with the original movie, the sequel opted to split its soundtrack onto two CDs: the first, with tracks contributed by various artists; the second with Alan Silvestri's original score for the movie.

Soundtrack[edit]

# Song title Artist
1 "Heart Go Faster" Davey Brothers
2 "The Only Way (Is the Wrong Way)" Filter
3 "Bad Girl" Alexandra Slate
4 "Satellite" (Oakenfold Remix) P.O.D.
5 "The Last High" The Dandy Warhols
6 "Time" Saliva
7 "Leave You Far Behind" Lunatic Calm
8 "Jam for the Ladies" (Jason Nevins Remix) Moby
9 "Starting Over" The Crystal Method
10 "You Can't Look Away" Sloth
11 "I Hate This" Nadirah "Nadz" Seid
12 "Reason Is Treason" (Jacknife Lee Version) Kasabian
13 "Into Hell Again" 3rd Strike
14 "Tears from the Moon" (Chillout Mix) Conjure One, Sinéad O'Connor
15 "Flight to Freedom" David A. Stewart
16 "Pandora's Box" Alan Silvestri

The track "Did My Time" by Korn was supposed to appear on the soundtrack, but due to problems with Korn's record company, this did not happen. The song still appears during the films end credits.

Score[edit]

# Song title
1 "Opening"
2 "The Luna Temple"
3 "Shark Attack"
4 "'I Need Terry Sheridan'"
5 "Arrival in China"
6 "Captured by the Shay Ling"
7 "Escape from Chen"
8 "Flower Pagoda Battle"
9 "Skydive Getaway"
10 "Orb Transmission"
11 "Journey to the Cradle of Life"
12 "The Cradle of Life"
13 "Pandora's Box"
14 "'Not Meant to Be Found'"
15 "Lara Croft – Tomb Raider"

Reboot[edit]

In April 2016, MGM and GK Films announced a reboot of the series with Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft and Roar Uthaug set to direct.[20][21]

References[edit]

External links[edit]