Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is a 2003 action movie and the sequel to Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Unlike the first film, The Cradle of Life is directed by Jan de Bont, best known for his work on popular action flicks like Speed and Twister. It once again stars Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, an English treasure hunter who often finds herself thrust into life-or-death adventures of massive consequence.
The Cradle of Life ups the ante from the previous film, as this time, Lara must track down the mythological Pandora’s Box in order to save the world. While the original Tomb Raider movie was underwhelming in terms of storytelling, there was still plenty of exciting action to keep the energy high. In some ways, The Cradle of Life is similar, suffering from a handful of problems while still managing to steer clear of being truly terrible.
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To download the game from a digital store of your choice, click on the Download button at the end of the review. Check out also the third movie in the series: Tomb Raider (2018).
The Movie Review
The Cradle of Life picks up with Lara and a friendly group of divers off the coast of Greece. After a recent earthquake uncovers the ancient Luna Temple, fabled to hold untold riches, Lara and her cohorts set out to strike it rich. However, the operation goes horribly wrong after they are ambushed by a group of Chinese bandits, who incapacitate Lara and steal a one-of-a-kind orb from the underwater ruins.
After making her way back to her home in Buckinghamshire, Lara and her tech sidekick Bryce (Noah Taylor) discuss the true power of the orb. In legend, the orb possesses the ability to reveal the location of the Cradle of Life, an ancient site that houses Pandora’s Box. Worried that the Chinese bandits are planning to sell the orb to a deranged scientist who will use the orb’s powers for evil, Lara sets out to retrieve it. In order to complete her mission, she must recruit and work with Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), a rogue mercenary who shares a shady past with Lara.
Lara’s adventure to retrieve the orb and eventually Pandora’s Box is a bit more mysterious and intriguing than the original story was. A lot more screen time is spent on character development, for better or worse. Unfortunately, where the original movie had a decent balance of action and story, the Cradle of Life feels lopsided toward character-driven drama than explosions and excitement.
As with the first film, many of the characters feel underwhelming and ineffective. This includes the main antagonist, Dr. Jonathan Reiss (Ciaran Hinds, as well as Terry Sheridan and other supporting characters.
While the action is still fun in its own right, it pales in comparison to the efforts of the original. The action scenes in the Cradle of Life are often plagued by poor green-screen effects, underwhelming camerawork, or wholly ridiculous moments. Even when you consider the fantasy elements of the story and the video game it’s based on, the Cradle of Life feels consistently unbelievable.
In many ways, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is an even more mixed bag than the original. The film feels more confident, especially in regards to its costuming, art design, and storytelling. The fights feel more violent and visceral, and the mystery feels compelling at the start. However, this all fades with time, as the movie feels both dragged out and scattered simultaneously.
From the unnecessary romance sub-plot to the supremely cartoon-like action sequences, the various elements of the movie feel jarring and don’t mix well. The Cradle of Life gains ground over its predecessor in some ways, but ends up losing a lot of the charm in the process. As both an action film, a sequel, and an adaptation of a video game, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life misses the mark. It’s not a complete waste of time though, as it works well as a popcorn flick to enjoy with an excitable group of friends.
- Interesting premise
- Characters are more fleshed out
- Violent fight scenes
- Disappointing mystery
- Feels drawn out and boring at points
- Underwhelming action sequences