Copyright 2002 Source:

[ June 26th 2002 ]

Paramount Pictures Tomb Raider sequel will begin filming on August 26th at Pinewood Studios, London, and on location in China and Africa with Speed director Jan de Bont helming the Lara Croft franchise vehicle, according to Film Jerk. Former Oscar winner Angelina Jolie will return as buxom British gunslinger Lara Croft sent to rescue the world from the exploits of an evil Chinese crime syndicate led by oriental crime lord Chen Lo.

Comming Attractions has scored this script review which contains spoilers:

"I've read many many scripts over a six year career in Hollywood, most horrible, but Lara Croft and the Cradle of Life by Dean Georgaris (draft date: 10 June 02) is rather impressive, if for no other reason than it contains all of the pieces we've come to expect from the franchise video game. Gone are the clunky, hard-to-swallow 'dramatic' moments that I felt buried the first movie, like Lady Croft desperate to resolve that oh-so-cliched relationship with dear-old-dead-dad. Instead, this puppy focusses on Lara kicking ass and taking names throughout, in a more adventure-oriented quest-type movie that feels closer in tone and action to the video games. The script would feel very much at home on the Playstation - go to this mysterious place, do this thing, which leads to the next mysterious place, and the mystery deepens. Add pixels and you've got the video game, add Angelina Jolie and you've got the movie.

"I'm going to do my best to be spoiler-free here, but I'll lay out the broad strokes of the plot: Lara's looking for antiquities in a sunken temple, and happens upon a sphere that holds the location of Pandora's Box. Thing is, evil Chen Lo shows up with some thugs and a thrilling, highly visual fight ensues in this air-pocketed temple under water which also just happens to be tilted at a 45 degree angle with thousands of 'damocles-sword-ish' threats from above. It's a fitting opening to the script, and will take your breath away. What follows involves Lara's attempts to get the sphere back from Chen Lo with the help of Terry, an old flame and dangerous snark, before Chen Lo can sell it to Reiss, who's actually the main bad guy of the script. Things get murky here, because the script alludes to Reiss desiring the location of Pandora's Box so he can use it as a biological weapon to destroy the world or hold it hostage - it's never made clear. His motivations are suspect and rather thin, and there's also a bit about clones that never is explained.

"Indeed, *much* of the script rides solely on the shoulders of the good faith of the reader to roll with the punches - Chen Lo delays selling the sphere to Reiss to get more money, but when Terry and Lara get to Chen Lo's hideout, the sphere is already on its way to Reiss, even though Reiss hasn't mentioned anything about paying Chen Lo what he believes he's due. There's a script-ending double-cross that makes *no* sense whatsoever; I won't give it away, but then again, I hope it doesn't survive to the production draft. Sometimes it appears as though screenwriters *think* something just should happen, but don't work out exactly *why* it happens. That's frequently the case here.

"All that said, Lara Croft and the Cradle of Life is packed with set piece after set piece, and while motivations and characters are thin, the script makes up for a lot of it through visually arresting fights, chases, and tension. Shanghai streets allow for some Lara-Terry-ninja fighting (hey - it works - whatever), Reiss's lab gives us the stealth mission level that if it were in the video game, we'd just accuse it of being a Metal Gear cop but turns out rather well, and when they do get to the Cradle of Life and Pandora's Box, the threats are reminiscent of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, but with someone holding a gun to Lara's head. It has exactly what we expect, and doesn't get bogged down in exposition. And best of all, she never has to visit a museum to have someone explain to the audience the meaning and purpose of a plot point.

"A couple of notes: Georgaris has a thing for referring to Lara's 'hand-cannons.' Whoa. Pistols, guns, whatever, but hand-cannons? Also, there've been some reports of Angelina Jolie going topless for the movie - if so, it isn't in this draft. That's one thing I really appreciated: Lara isn't overly sexualized here, and nothing feels gratuitous (except maybe the ass-kicking, but isn't that the point?). Hillary and Bryce show up, but they're relegated to rather superfluous roles. And best of all (for my money) nothing takes place in Lara's manor, making the script feel much more open and full than the previous movie.

"All in all, a strong, if sometimes plot-light, outing. If the script can solve the problems of motivation (and they aren't hard to solve), then this puppy should really cook, and stand up much more favorably than the last installment."

Reviewer ANON.

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