Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Jan de Bont
- Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft
- Gerard Butler as Terry Sheridan
- Ciarán Hinds as Jonathan Reiss
- Christopher Barrie as Hillary
- Noah Taylor as Bryce
- Djimon Hounsou as Kosa
The Cradle of Life is a weak sequel to the first Lara Croft movie. While the first one may have not been flawless, it was still a hell of a ride and executed well. The same can’t be said of this film which feels dull and recycled to say the least. A few sequences are good and Jolie is amazing as ever, but this film is just a mess from the start.
Lara is uncovering what seems to be the Lunar Temple, which is underwater and because of an earthquake slightly risen in the sea odd Santorini. Unfortunately once she gets in, she is ambushed by warlords who take a mysterious orb from the temple before Lara can claim it. Lara manages to escape just barely as the ruins collapse behind her. Back at home following that opening adventure, she is researching the origins of the orb and what it could mean or in fact be. Through extensive research and her knowledge of mythology, she deduces that the orb is in fact a map that once deciphered can lead to the mythical Pandora’s Box, which resides in the hidden cradle of life and once opened will emit all the sorrows of the world and bring forth disease. Soon enough, MI6 comes around and tasks Lara with finding the orb before it falls into the wrong hands. The hands in question belong to a scientist turned bio-terrorist named Jonathan Reiss, who wants to make money of the discovery and spread destruction in his wake. Enlisting the help of disgraced former soldier Terry Sheridan because of his knowledge of the warlords she encountered, she infiltrates a crime syndicate in China that Reiss is using to transport the weapon. With danger around every turn of her globetrotting, it’s just another day at the office for the intrepid and sexy Lara as she races against time to stop evil from being unleashed upon the unsuspecting world.
In terms of directing, Jan de Bont knows how to do action effectively, but here he seems all at sea and doesn’t bring anything new to the table. Cradle of Life seems to suffer from a lack of imagination and feels like something of a repeat of the first movie, just with different settings and not done as well. There is a story in here somewhere, it just doesn’t come off as riveting or even exciting. Saying that, there are some great locations and a couple of good sequences, but nothing quite lives up to the first one. And while the first movie had a lack of coherence, it still managed to be intriguing, which Cradle of Life fails to do. I just feel like this movie is such a let down when it could have been so fun and enjoyable. Only a pulse-pounding score manages to inject a sense of movement into the film and stop it from being completely unwatchable.
Angelina Jolie is probably the best thing in this movie and once again brings prowess, sex appeal and strength to the title character. Without Jolie in the role and in this film, it would be wholly unwatchable. Gerard Butler does what he is required to do as the rogue Terry, who shares moments of sparky chemistry with her. Now I must say I like Ciarán Hinds as an actor, but he is saddled with a less than engaging role as the main villain. The writing of his character just feels lazy and not even the talents of Hinds can fix that. I felt that Christopher Barrie and Noah Taylor were extremely underused as Hillary and Bryce, considering the witty humour they brought to the first movie. Djimon Hounsou doesn’t fare well here and is not given enough to do in the role of a tribal man who helps Lara out.
Cradle of Life is a lazy sequel that sucks the life out of what the first film did, and only for the music and presence of Angelina Jolie is it at all watchable.