Lara Croft:Tomb Raider or Tomb Failure? - the Just Films & That team revisit the movie and discuss

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The Just Films & That podcast is dedicated to celebrating underrated and underseen films.

Pitiful. Inferior. An incoherent mess. These are just some of the things that film critics have said about Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). But we’re having none of it.

Welcome to the Just Films & That Podcast. We are a film podcast dedicated to celebrating underrated and underseen films. Basically, we like to look at films that people have been really mean about (or don’t even know exist), and find the good in them.

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For this episode, we’re talking about action adventure Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. And be warned, this review contains some spoilers.

The film

Well you’ve probably heard of the PlayStation game Tomb Raider. This film is an adaptation of that game. There’s an important artifact to find, so Lara (Angelina Jolie) tries to find it before the bad guys do. Oh and Daniel Craig is there.

The reception

On IMDB at the time of writing, the film has a score of 5.7 out of 10. On Rotten Tomatoes, the audience give it a stingy 47% out of 100%, while the critics give it a devastating 20%. A score this low would indicate that this film is pretty darn terrible. But quite frankly, it ain’t that bad!

Actress Angelina Jolie plays Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Image: Bruno Vincent/Getty ImagesActress Angelina Jolie plays Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Image: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images
Actress Angelina Jolie plays Lara Croft in Tomb Raider. Image: Bruno Vincent/Getty Images

Why it isn’t all that bad (according to Alice)

Yes this film isn’t perfect. It’s pretty predictable with some cheesy dialogue and lacks any real nuance. But as far as action films go, it’s pretty cool!

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It actually looks pretty good. The set design, the props and the costume all compliment one another to bring the world to life. It also sounds brilliant, the soundtrack and the score really heighten the action sequences and add to the mood of the film. At times it reminded me of The Matrix or Equilibrium. Oh and a bit of Batman (ultra wealthy person fighting bad guys with gadgets.)

The action sequences themselves were impressive with a great diverse range of violent techniques and weapons being used. There were long action sequences with no dialogue and I didn’t find them tired or boring at all. They were shot really nicely with some strong cinematography enhanced with the use of lights and shadow - and had quite a strong impact most of the time.

Apart from a few dodgy accents, the performances were strong across the board. Angelina Jolie and Daniel Craig brought with them some top tier facial expressions - and I suppose the film was just quite expressive in general, and theatrical where it needed to be.

Most of the time when we see a film try to adapt a video game, it doesn’t end well. It’s a difficult thing to translate. But I think this film did an alright job of it. And some of the things the critics said about it just don’t sit well with me.

But that’s just me...

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Here’s what Josh had to say

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was one that had been on my list of potential films to cover for a little while and it had pretty much sat there gathering dust whilst we covered other films.

I knew it was badly received but I didn’t know just how badly until I found myself watching it on TV one night and looking at its scores. I mean, 20% from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes? C’mon! It’s not perfect no and nor is it some form of high brow entertainment. If that is what you’re looking for then save yourself the time and find something else to watch.

So, what is it? Well, I think the main word that comes to mind is fun. This film is fun. You’ve got Angelina Jolie in the main role as the titular Lara Croft and she is just perfect for it. She nails the accent, the look and action. Not only that but she also has some great chemistry with a pretty young Daniel Craig.

It’s also got some pretty good action sequences, globetrotting locations, stunts and puzzle-based set pieces that I think show this to be a pretty faithful adaptation of the Tomb Raider Games.

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So, all in all, yes, it’s got a cheesy script laden with cliches and yes, it’s pretty daft in some places. But I think it’s a pretty decent action film/ video game adaptation worth your time if you’re looking for a bit of escapism.

But that’s just what we think. How do you feel about Lara Croft: Tomb Raider? You can get in touch with the podcast on social media. Let us know your thoughts on the films we have covered, and even suggest a few underrated ones of your own. You can find us on all the usual platforms by searching Just Films & That.

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