Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (a.k.a. Tomb Raider) is a 2001 adventure thrill 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. A sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, was released in 2003.
The film opens with Lara Croft 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 Croft Manor and that her assistant, Bryce, programmed the robot, to challenge her in combat.
It is the day of the first phase of a planetary alignment, culminating in a solar eclipse on the Earth, which happens once every 5,000 years. In Venice, the Illuminati search for a key to rejoin halves of the "Triangle of Light", which must be done by the final phase of the alignment. Manfred Powell, an Illuminati member, assures that they are almost ready, but in reality he has no idea where to find the key.
Croft's butler, Hillary, tries to interest her in several projects, but she ignores them. 15 May, as Hillary is aware, is the day that Lara's father, Richard Croft, disappeared many years earlier. She has not recovered from her loss.
Later that night, Croft 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 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, Croft consults a clock expert friend of her father's, Mr. Wilson. She believes it is connected to the "Triangle of Light", but Wilson disavows knowledge of the clock or the Triangle. Croft encounters Alex West, a fellow tomb raider with unscrupulous methods. They are attracted to each other, but Croft cannot abide his for-profit attitude. That night, Croft 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, Croft 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, armed commando troops invade Croft manor and steal the clock despite Lara's attempts to fend them off.
The next morning, Lara Croft 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. Initially housed in a city built 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 Croft manages to successfully grab the piece and escape the temple after fighting off and destroying a huge six-armed guardian statue.
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. Croft retrieves the last half of the Triangle, but when Powell tries to complete it, the halves will not fuse. He realizes that Croft knows the solution to the puzzle, and kills West in order to induce her into completing the Triangle to save both West's life and her father's. Croft reluctantly complies, and they then struggle for control of the Triangle, with Croft prevailing.
Croft then finds herself in a strange alternate existence facing her father. 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. Croft fights him to retrieve it, killing him and escaping as the chamber comes down around her.
At the mansion, Hillary and Bryce are shocked to see Croft wearing a dress. She goes into the garden to her father's memorial, then returns inside, where Bryce has a reprogrammed S.I.M.O.N., ready to challenge Croft once again. Hillary reveals a silver tray holding Croft's pistols, which she takes with a smile.
- Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft
- Iain Glen as Manfred Powell
- Daniel Craig as Alex West
- Jon Voight as Richard Croft
- Noah Taylor as Bryce
- Richard Johnson as Distinguished Gentleman
- Chris Barrie as Hillary
- Julian Rhind-Tutt as Pimms
- Leslie Phillips as Wilson
- Henry Wyndham as Boothby's Auctioneer
- Olegar Fedoro as Russian Commander
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. However, it was partially resuscitated for the 2003 sequel Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. The final draft of the script was attributed to five writers, including director Simon West.
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 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. Angelina, being American herself, takes on an English accent.
The film received generally negative reviews, earning a 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 27 out of 140 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". 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."
Box office performance
Tomb Raider 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 most successful video game adaptation to date, grossing $300,000,000 worldwide.
Awards and nominations
Angelina Jolie was nominated for the Worst Actress Golden Raspberry Award for her role in the film.
- Main article: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (soundtrack)
- Main article: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider/Videos
Tomb Raider: The Ride
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 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 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.
- Paramount also received input from Core Design on casting. Rumored actresses included Pamela Anderson, Demi Moore, Jeri Ryan, and Carla Pivonski.
- Lara Croft uses an Ericsson Bluetooth Headset and an Ericsson R310 mobile phone.
- Was filmed at Pinewood Studios in England where James Bond films are made which is coincidental towards Daniel Craig who later took the role of James Bond in Casino Royale (2006).
- Lara Croft's father is played by Angelina Jolie's real life father, actor Jon Voight.
- Lara's training robot is named Simon, after the director Simon West.
- Alex West was originally named Alex Mars but because the name hadn't been cleared by the legal department it couldn't be used. Simon West decided to name the character Alex West, after his father, since he knew, that if needed, he could get legal clearance for the name.
- Apart from normal jumping, the only moves Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) does in the movie which can also be done in the games is the jump over the living statue and rolls in the air. This can be done in the PlayStation game by pressing forward and square, then circle while in the air.
- Angelina Jolie did her own Bungee-Ballet, and according to an interview with her on the Jay Leno show, injured her ankle on the first take when landing on top of a chandelier went bad, so that part of the scene had to be done over again after she recovered.
- Many of Lara's action sequence moves will be known and loved by any aficionados of the video game series. Drawing weapons mid-somersault, swallow dives into water, forward rolls to reverse direction - these are signature moves of the experienced player.
- In the much-shown previews, at one point Lara says to Powell "You might try to kill me." Powell replies that he "would never kill a lady." She replies archly "I said you'd try." That exchange doesn't appear in the actual movie.
- Biggest grossing action film with a woman in lead role. Second is Aliens (1986).
- Martin Clunes was originally asked to play Lara's butler, but filming dates clashed with his wedding anniversary (he makes a special point of never working on his anniversary), so he turned it down. The part was eventually taken by Chris Barrie.
- Lara's pistols are 9mm Heckler and Koch USP MATCH.
- The Illuminati is purported to be a real-life secret society with origins dating back to at least the 1700s if not earlier, though it is a matter of debate whether it still exists. Many books - factual and fiction or science fiction novels - have been written about this legendary group, the best known being the "Illuminatus!" trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.
- At one point, Demi Moore was widely reported to have been in consideration for the role of Lara Croft.
- In the video game, Lara Croft is a 36DD. Angelina Jolie is naturally a 36C, and was padded to a 36D for the movie, as it was felt that padding to the original character size would be too unrealistic.
- At the time of filming, Angelina Jolie sported a large tattoo on her upper left arm. Make-up was used to cover the tattoo, but one can see where the tattoo has been covered up on several scenes.
- The gun used by Powell's villains is the H&K G36k, the shortened carbine version of the G36 assault rifle. Both are in use with the German army.
- The temple on the hill in Cambodia on which Lara lands on is Phnom Bakheng which is just outside the South Gate of the city of Angkor Thom. Next, when we see her drive her jeep off, Lara is at Bayon, at the center of Angkor Thom. The temple with trees overgrown on it, where Lara falls into the hidden tomb, is Ta Prohm.
- The monkeys Lara fights there are modeled after the ones at Banteay Srei, a temple located far from Angkor Wat. They are the guardians of the door.
- Executive producer Stuart Baird did uncredited re-editing work on this film and Mission: Impossible II (2000) for Paramount in exchange for the job of directing Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
- The music played while the explorers are in the Siberian village and then on the sleds is Tuvan throat singing.
- The gun that Daniel Craig uses in the Tomb of the Dancing Light is a Walther P99 pistol, the signature weapon of James Bond. He later wielded this weapon again as 007 in Casino Royale (2006).
- This film marks the first time in more than three decades that a Hollywood production has been filmed in Cambodia, the previous film being Lord Jim (1965).
- The makers at first envisioned the scenes ultimately shot in Cambodia taking place at the Great Wall of China. When schedule didn't allow for this to happen, the alternative was to build the Great Wall in Scotland. Ultimately, they opted for the stone temples of Cambodia instead.
- Angelina Jolie had lessons in yoga and kickboxing to prepare for her role as Lara Croft. She also learned how to handle guns and other weapons.
- The picture in the inset of Lara's father's pocket watch is of Lynda Carter.
- Lara has been given several gadgets in the film which are specific nods at certain gameplay features (of the Tomb Raider game and games in general) - among them the reloader belt or back pack (allowing her to reload her guns very quickly and without fidgeting about with magazines or bullets) and the back pack itself (which almost mysteriously "swallows" any item moved close to its bottom or side by Lara, like the first half of the Triangle).
- Angelina Jolie received weapons training from an instructor of the SAS, the United Kingdom's elite special forces, to prepare herself for the role.
- Lara never actually wounds or kills anyone with a gun in the entire movie.
- Lara Croft is British and Alex West is American. For the roles, Angelina Jolie, who is American, adopted a British accent and Daniel Craig, who is British, adopted an American accent.
- Towards the end of the film when Lara finds a bunch of wolves, she says "A-ha". This was a link to the original games where Lara would uses this phrase whenever she picked up an item.
- Filming the scenes where Lara drives her Land Rover through the jungle there had to be endless re-shoots due to snakes and other wildlife falling through the open top roof. Angelina Jolie herself was reported to be terrified.
- Edward Jay Epstein (April 25, 2005). How To Finance a Hollywood Blockbuster. Slate. Archived from the original on September 1, 2009. Retrieved on September 1, 2009.
- Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Rotten Tomatoes. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved on September 1, 2009.
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