Angelina Jolie may have found her niche. She’s always been larger than life, looking like a cross between some ancient fertility goddess and the kind of overripe mannequin that haunts perfume ads. She suffered with magnificent panache in Gia and strutted grandly, a rapacious sociopath among the merely mad, in Girl, Interrupted. She looks like something that’s escaped from the mad lab of a 13-year-old boy’s hormone-addled imagination, statuesque but cushiony and amused by the puny mortals around her. She looks like Lady Lara Croft, tomb raider.
This is the kind of fantasy flick you have to buy into from the get-go, since it doesn’t take the time to ease you into its world. Lady Lara, daughter of the (somewhat mysteriously) late archeologist Sir Richard Croft (Jon Voight) is first seen in acrobatic battle with a giant robot in what looks like a life-and-death struggle, but which turns out to be a morning romp with a favorite toy. Later that night, sleeping in her resplendent mansion she’s awakened by a faint ticking which leads to the discovery of old clock in which is hidden the All-Seeing Eye. Or part of it. I think.
But before you can say, “what the fug,” the plot begins to unspool even quicker and we’re down to the crux — which is simply that Lara must foil the plans of the Illuminati (the name will be familiar to conspiracy buffs of a more baroque bent), a group of middle-aged white guys who all wear sinisterly nondescript black suits and who are out to control all time and space, presumably having grown tired of electing popes and fixing gas prices.
From there it’s a short hop to the ancient temples and tombs of Cambodia and a final showdown in some frozen Northern clime. None of this makes much sense, not that it’s supposed to, and the look is an interesting blend of the imaginatively picturesque and the cheesily fake. Suffice it to say that by the time the giant needle pierces the stomach of the immense Buddha and the green fluid pours out and enters the veins of the humongous stone monkey gods, thus bringing them to life, you’re either into the trip or you’re not.
Visit the official Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Web site at www.tombraidermovie.com.
Richard C. Walls writes about the arts for Metro Times. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.