Film / Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
aka: Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Cradle Of Life

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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. It was also considerably more violent than the first film (which as noted above had actually received a family-friendly seal of approval).


Both films provide examples of:

  • Male Gaze: The Movie. There is enough fanservice thrown in to gather a... special Periphery Demographic.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Alex West and Terry Sheridan. Both with Shirtless Scene
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lara Croft, naturally. The first film alone turned Angelina Jolie into a sex symbol.
  • Letting Her Hair Down: By the end of the first film Lara finally carries herself like a lady. Part of the new image is unbraided hair.
  • 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." Rise of the Tomb Raider also seems to reference the first film with Lara continuing one of her father's expeditions after he was killed by the antagonists.
  • Role Called: A notable case, since the game series was back then simply called "Tomb Raider". When Crystal Dynamics took the franchise over, they also added the "Lara Croft:" part into the title of their games.


The first film provides examples of:

  • Action Prologue: The 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.
  • Ammunition Backpack: Lara could reload her pistols using a mechanism in her backpack called "bandolier tree" in the Novelization.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: The Illuminati are seeking the Triangle of Light, and the power it grants to control time. The film hints they've been seeking it for generations, with the artifact itself resembling the all-seeing eye that is part of the film Illuminati's symbology.
  • Ancient Artifact: The Triangle of Light, an ancient artifact granting its bearer the power to control time.
  • Artistic License Astronomy: Pretty much everything to do with the planetary alignment in the first movie.
  • 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.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lara and Alex in spades. Dialogue between them when they first meet at the auction suggests they once had a history together, and Alex doesn't like that they're always fighting.
  • Between My Legs: During the fight between Lara and the robot.
  • Bookends: The film starts and ends with Lara fighting her training robot SIMON.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Powell grabs one of his Mooks to block a thrown spear. One he could've easily dodged.
  • 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.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: "Julius, make a mental note. Kill Miss Croft if she attempts any such thing."
  • Dismantled Macguffin: 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.
  • Faceless Goons: During the attack on the mansion the Mooks are wearing either noctovisors or balaclavas. Or both.
  • It's All About Me: Manfred Powell, with bits of Ambition Is Evil. He works for Illuminati, sure. He is Illuminati. But he don't give a damn about their schemes so he kills the leader in order to take the Triangle of Light for himself and no-one else.
  • Klingon Promotion: How Powell seized control.
  • Landmark of Lore: Probably the most obvious one - Angkor Wat.
  • Living Statue: Available both in human and huge sizes.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: Happens 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.
  • Not So Different: Alex takes this position in regards to himself at Lara. When Lara accuses him of theft, Alex retorts that she's the tomb raider.
  • Noodle Incident: Between Lara and Alex. At some point Alex stole a prayer wheel from her, which seems to be the source of Lara's antagonism towards her. Alex at first denies it, before changes tack and says it's not like she actually owned it.
  • 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.
  • Scenery Censor: Daniel Craig's privates are blocked by a conveniently placed chair when Lara interrupts him in the shower.
  • Scenery Porn: The Cambodian part of the first film has long shots of ruins covered with lush vegetation.
  • Screw Destiny: Thanks to Time Travel, Alex survives, and Powell is badly wounded with his own knife, but Lara's father is still dead, so it's Zig-Zagged with You Can't Fight Fate.
  • Shout-Out:
    • To Raiders of the Lost Ark just watch carefully how Lara deals with a stone statue that is showboating with its sword.
    • The first film includes two to director Simon West: the last name of the main male character Alex West, and the training robot S.I.M.O.N..
  • Shower Scene: Male and female shower scenes. Lara has one at the beginning of the film after her training sequence. Alex later has one in Cambodia which is interrupted by Lara.
  • Smug Snake: Manfred Powell is a cunning member of the Illuminati inner circle, scheming his way to the top and not above killing his boss.
  • Stripperiffic: Some of Lara's outfits barely cover her. The second film toned it down to make it easier for the make-up artist covering Jolie's tattoos.
  • Temple of Doom: The final site in Siberia from the first film is ruins of the temple originally hosting the Triangle of Light, with all the six-thousand-years-old mechanisms (and traps) still in working condition, if only a bit dusty.
  • Time Stands Still: One of the functions of the Triangle of Light.
  • Underwater Kiss: Lara Croft does this on her rival Alex West after he got shot.
  • We Can Rule Together: Powell tried to pull it on Lara. Twice. Not that it worked.
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: The Triangle of Light.
  • Wicked Cultured: Powell again. He is soft-spoken (with with a cultured British accent), well-educated and mildly mannered and has a massage in his camp in Cambodia, among other things.
  • You Can't Thwart Stage One: The 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.


The second film provides examples of:

  • Artistic License Biology: The roaring (and whimpering) shark.
  • Battle Butler: Hillary acts as a sparring partner for Lara and handles himself quite well... until he makes Lara angry at him (as she was angry at the villains already.)
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lara and Sheridan. Sheridan is a former lover that Lara openly distrusts, and they share a steamy makeout session partway through the film. And then they come into conflict over the disposition of Pandora's Box at the end of the film. Lara is forced to kill him to prevent him from taking it.
  • Boxed Crook: How Lara acquires the services of her old lover Terry Sheridan.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Jonathan Reiss is thrown into the acid that surrounds the cradle and is melted alive, screaming all the while.
  • Double Entendre: 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.
  • Durable Deathtrap: Present in both films, but taken Up to Eleven in the second.
  • Hollywood Geography: If the establishing shots of Croft's travels in China were to be taken literally, it means that she landed somewhere in the Yangtze River Valley in Hubei (in south central China), rode a motorcycle all the way to the Great Wall in northern China, then turned around and went back south to Xi'an for the fight in the Terracotta Tomb, and then went to Shanghai as she originally intended—that's about 4000 kilometers in rough terrain and she covered it all in a single afternoon.
  • Mad Scientist: Jonathan Reiss is a cross between this and Corrupt Corporate Executive.
  • 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.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Pandora's Box - Meaningful Name, isn't it?
  • Took a Level in Badass: Although she kicked ass and knocked off a few mooks in the first time, in this second movie, Lara acts more like a female James Bond with a licence to kill, leaving behind a high body count and outright warning Sheridan that she is perfectly capable and willing to kill him if necessary.


Alternative Title(s): Tomb Raider, Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Cradle Of Life

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