Rated PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality.
Directed By: Jan De Bont
Written By: Dean Georgaris
Staring: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Djimon Hounsou, Ciarán Hinds, Chris Barrie, and Noah Taylor
Everything lost is meant to be found. Don’t worry. -Lara Croft
Better director, but worse movie? What happened? It’s not as though Jan De Bont can’t make an action film. He’s made ones we wish we could hate but love, like Speed and Twister. In Cradle Of Life it felt as though he’d never even watched the original film. He sculpted his own creation of what Lara Croft was and apparently that meant letting the seductress of Angelina overshadow who Lara Croft actually was. The basis of Crofts character was focused on the sexual tension between Gerard Butler and Angelina Jolie. I love that Angelina is hot and sexy, and so is Lara Croft, but I want Lara sexy for this movie, not Angelina sexy.
I am literally spent on sequels that are made with nothing more than a paycheck in mind, and Cradle Of Life is a perfect example of sequels going wrong. In this case it’s not as though it’s original was so fantastic either. This time there was bigger explosions, enormous set designs, and even more action sequences. This does not equal bad, unless what was cool about our character’s in the first place is completely ignored or altered. This time around Lady Croft is portrayed as a sexy butt kicking machine. However, most of her personality is gone. She could just as easily of been a T-1000 in this version. A horny T-1000, but you get the picture. She uses no intelligence or thinking skills to further the plot and spends half the movie looking devastatingly gorgeous, or kicking butt. There is no in between, and come on, Jolie has more range than boobs and spin kicks.
Actually, what this film did for me, was really appreciate the original more. I know the plot is one dimensional and I Cradle delivered the extra action I asked for, plus the bonus of an even more sultry Angelina, but somehow the most important part was lost, and that was Lara Croft herself. Even though the pacing was a bit awkward in the original film, the screenplay and action was centered around Croft. In this sequel Croft is a product of her environment. It’s all about the locations, the action, and then Croft, instead of the other way around.
Gerard Butler and Angelina unquestionably had a great chemistry. Both omit their character’s threw the screen and seem to make everything more intimate. The charm and entertainment of the two together was the high point of the entire movie. There relationship becomes so invigorating, the espionage and the “threat” of Pandora’s Box being opened isn’t so interesting. Another strange thing about the way the film was structured was that it was shot with a deadly focus on the scene that’s happening, rather than building tension and suspense for what’s coming next.
Cradle Of Life had it’s moments. There was definitely events of entertainment and visual stimulation, and some of the action was fun, but as a film in it’s entirety, it just never really came together. The randomness and lack of cohesion made this another example of a sequel not living up to it’s original. With small exceptions, like The Dark Knight, sequels are just turning into quick money makers, and the art seems to get lost somewhere in the way of business. Ick. The Verdict? An OK movie, that made me appreciate the original more.