Film of the Day - Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft

Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider


A movie for every day of the year – a good one



13 February



The 500,000-year-old rock containing a spark plug

On this day in 1961, the Coso artefact was found by three people out hunting for geodes. It appeared to be a spark plug inside a rock. A geode is a hollow stone, rock or boulder formed either by bubbles forming in volcanic rock, or by the action of water dissolving away a space in a sedimentary formation, which then fills with different minerals – quartz crystals being particularly common. Either way there was little chance that a Champion spark plug from the 1920s, as used extensively in Ford Model T and Model A engines, could have found its way inside there. The finders, Wallace Lane, Virginia Maxey and Mike Mikesell, who owned a gem and gift shop and routinely cut geodes in half because the polished revealed quartz sold well, claimed the thing they found was a geode. Doubters suggest that it is a concretion – material which had formed fairly quickly around the spark plug. Still others (crytozoologists, believers in ancient astronauts or time travel, paranormalists and particularly creationists) prefer the term OOPArt – an out-of-place artefact. Fascinating though the find is, the actual age of the original “geode” is unclear since it has only ever been “dated” by a mystery geologist who never published their findings. As for the artefact itself, though its finders offered to sell it for $25,000, they were always coy about having it properly examined. Its whereabouts are currently unknown. Its status as an OOPArt seems relatively unaffected.




Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001, dir: Simon West)

The video game comes to life with Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, a punchy mix of Indiana Jones and James Bond, with the sort of upper class British vowel sounds that defeat any foe left standing if the fist and the foxiness haven’t felled them first. Plot: Lara charges around the world, collecting mysterious talismanic artefacts in a race against time blah blah blah. It’s not important. Before saying why you should watch this film, I’m going to quickly say why you shouldn’t not watch it, if you follow me. This first Croft movie has a poor reputation for several reasons. The first is that it’s tainted by association with the second, which is an indefensible piece of dreck. The second is that it’s directed by Simon West, who is considered to be a hack. He might be, but he’s the sort of hack who understands what nonsense is and what it should do – he directed Con Air and The Expendables 2 and he filled them with lots of ridiculous spectacle and fun; he does the same here. The third is that some people consider Angelina Jolie to be a good actress and so Lara Croft is somehow beneath her. But Jolie is not an actress, she’s a star. Watch her self-conscious performance as the mother who’s convinced her missing-now-returned child has been swapped in Changeling, the vanity project that Clint Eastwood directed for her, if you’ve any doubt. Which brings us back to the film itself, which is knowing bunk that has a couple of British comic actors – Chris Barrie and Leslie Phillips – tipping the wink early on to anyone who hasn’t quite got the tone of the thing. Then there’s Daniel Craig, getting a taste for big-budget effects-driven movies, a Brit playing an American, to Jolie’s American playing a Brit. Or, if you want to see it another way, a future Bond learning a lesson or two off the nearest thing the movies have yet got to a female Bond. As further evidence: exotic locations, lots of action, loquacious villains. And gadgets, gotta have the gadgets.



Why Watch?


  • Daniel Craig warming up for 007 – he even wields a Walther P99
  • Father and daughter Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight as father and daughter Croft
  • The most successful female action heroine to date
  • Play “continuity error” oneupmanship


© Steve Morrissey 2014



Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – at Amazon





imdb poster Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Run time: 100 min
Rating: 5.7
Genres: Action | Adventure | Fantasy
Director: Simon West
Writers: Sara B. Cooper, Mike Werb
Stars: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen
Trivia: Video game adventuress Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artifacts.
Storyline A member of a rich British aristocratic family, Lara Croft is a “tomb raider” who enjoys collecting ancient artifacts from ruins of temples, cities, etc. worldwide, and doesn’t mind going through death-defying dangers to get them. She is skilled in hand-to-hand combat, weapons training, and foreign languages – and does them all in tight outfits. Well, the planets of the solar system are going into planetary alignment (Which occurs every 5,000 years), and a secret society called the Illuminati is seeking an ancient talisman that gives its possessor the ability to control time. However, they need a certain clock/key to help them in their search, and they have to find the talisman in one week or wait until the next planetary alignment to find it again. Lara happens to find that key hidden in a wall of her mansion. The Illuminati steal it, and Lara gets an old letter from her deceased father telling her about the society’s agenda (Her father was also the one who hid the key). Now, she … Written by Vampirok
Plot Keywords: planetary alignment, tomb, illuminati, tomb raider, father
Box Office Budget: $115,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $1,589,818 (Italy) (14 December 2001)
Gross: $2,355,719 (Italy) (21 December 2001)