Film: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Two live-action films based on the Tomb Raider video game franchise, starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft.

The first film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, was released in 2001. Lara is off looking for the Triangle of Light, which the Illuminati seek in order to control time. She has until the planetary alignment to do so, and has rival/love interest Alex West (Daniel Craig) in her way.

The second film, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, has Lara in search of Pandora's Box. Evil scientist Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds) seeks to weaponise the contents of Pandora's Box for biological warfare. Lara is paired with mercenary and former love interest Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), an ex-SAS man who betrayed the country and gets his chance to pay penance. While the first movie embraced its video game roots, the second attempts to insert a little actual drama and tries to take itself seriously as an action-adventure flick — so seriously that some considered it not fun enough.


These films provide examples of:

  • Action Prologue: The first film opens with Lara fighting a giant robot. This has no bearing on the rest of the plot, and is markedly different in tone from the rest of the film. Of course, it was just a training simulation.
  • A God Am I: That's how Illuminati sees the power of time travel in the first film.
  • Alternate Continuity: To the games, of course. (Of course, the games themselves have no less than three different continuities, just to add to the confusion.)
  • Ammunition Backpack: Lara could reload her pistols using a mechanism in her backpack called "bandolier tree" in the Novelization.
  • Artistic License – Astronomy: Pretty much everything to do with the planetary alignment in the first movie.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The Cradle of Life has a roaring (and whimpering) shark.
  • Badass Bookworm: Lara Croft, full stop. She actually does some of her fight training in her library.
  • Bamboo Technology: Most of mechanisms are this or magic.
  • Battle Butler: When Lara's mansion is being invaded by Manfred's men in the first film, Hillary dons a bulletproof vest and wields a shotgun. Too bad we never get to see him do anything.
    • He shoots from the upper level at the mercenaries breaking into the vault. Unfortunately, he's outgunned.
    • In the second movie he acts as a sparring partner for Lara and handle himself quite well... until he makes Lara angry at him (as she was angry at the villains already.)
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lara and Alex in spades.
  • Between My Legs: During the fight between Lara and the robot in the first film.
  • Big Bra to Fill: Angelina Jolie wore padding in the first film to appear more like the famously busty character, but didn't in the second film.
  • Book Ends: The first film starts and ends with Lara fighting her training robot SIMON.
  • Boxed Crook: How Lara acquires the services of her old lover Terry Sheridan in Cradle of Life.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: In the first film, Powell grabs one of his Mooks to block a thrown spear. One he could've easily dodged.
  • California Doubling:
    • Iceland as Siberia in first film.
    • Scotland as China for the Great Wall sequence in the second.
  • The Cast Showoff: Jolie did most of her own stunts. In The Cradle of Life, there is a scene where Lara plays with a switchblade — Jolie collects knives.
  • Combat Pragmatism: Zig-Zagged with Rule of Cool.
    • Especially obvious in first film during the fight with some animated statues in collecting the first half of the Triangle.
  • Covers Always Lie: The poster for the first film featured Lara in her trademark short shorts and tank top. In the actual film, she doesn't wear this clothes combo at any point; in the first action sequence, she's wearing the short shorts but has a t-shirt, and later in the film, she's wearing her sleeveless shirt but wears long pants with it.
  • Dismantled Macguffin: In the first film, the Triangle of Light is split into two pieces that were "hidden at the ends of the earth". Then it turns out that the actual number is three.
  • Double Entendre: In the second film, when a bikini-clad Lara gets in the boat after having splashed some men while riding her jetski:
    Lara: Hello, boys. You're all wet.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Happens in first film just in the opening with SIMON. And then there is a huge statue, which is also assembling swords for quadruple wielding, and is a nod to the franchise's video game roots, specifically Tomb Raider III.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Both Alex and Powell. Lara also counts, since when she teams up with the bad guys, she does that only to get the artifact for herself.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Daniel Craig does a good job as an American, but slips up a bit on certain words/phrases.
  • Only in It for the Money:
  • Our Time Machine Is Different: The Triangle of Light. It's never explained how it's actually working, so it can be also Our Time Travel Is Different.
  • Overcrank: Utilized in the finale.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Real Life Designs the Costumes: The second film puts Lara in more outfits with longer sleeves. This was done because the makeup used to conceal Angelina Jolie's tattoos during the filming of the first film was not as effective as it was supposed to be.
    • The scene in the first film where there is a large procession of Buddhist monks was not originally in the script. Simon West decided to shoot it because the monks just happened to be having their procession, and agreed to be filmed for the movie.
    • The "duck boat" transports at the end of the first film were spotted on location, and the filmmakers requested to borrow them because they looked cool.
  • Ret Canon:
    • The success of the first movie led to certain elements to appear in the Crystal Dynamics reboot of the game series. The most notable is Lara's dad being an archaeologist named Richard. The main hall of Croft Manor in those games also has a very similar layout to the version in the films.
    • Appears to carry over into the 2013 reboot as well, when Grim mentions Lara's father "Dicky Croft."
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: The establishing character moment for the bioterrorist/scientist villain of the second movie, Jonathan Reiss, is him in a private jet with his clients. He poisons one who snitched on him to Interpol, intoning "this is the sound of a traitor dying" as he gurgles his last.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: The first movie would have ended a lot sooner if Lara Croft had followed her father's instructions and destroyed her half of the Triangle of Light.
    • Or her father could smash it instead of leaving it to her with instruction to destroy.
    • Or 5000 years ago, if one considers that the individuals that had separated the Triangle could have simply destroyed the pieces, instead of hiding them at the corners of the Earth.
  • You Killed My Father: Powell reveals he killed Lara's father just before the two fight at the end of the first film.


Alternative Title(s):

Tomb Raider, Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Cradle Of Life