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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a 2001 action movie in which Angelina Jolie stars as the heroine of the popular video game series. There is frequent action-movie violence: Characters do battle with machine guns and knives and fight with fists and kicks. There are some sexual insinuations, including an off-color joke about needing to take a cold shower and a scene that serves absolutely no purpose except to gratuitously show Jolie taking a shower. Her character wears tight, form-fitting outfits. There is some moderate profanity, including "s--t." Overall, this movie could be seen as one long commercial for the video game series. (The franchise got a reboot with 2018's Tomb Raider.)
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
The lead in TOMB RAIDER is Lady Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie), who is something of a cross between Indiana Jones, Batman, and Barbie. She lives in a huge old mansion with an Alfred-style butler and a computer geek (Noah Taylor) who helps her with technology, except when she doesn't let him; as he meticulously documents each screw he removes from an antique clock she interrupts by smashing it apart. The planets are about to align for the first time in 5,000 years, which means that she has only days to collect the two pieces of a triangle that controls time from ruins on opposite sides of the globe. Meanwhile, the bad guys want it, too, and will do anything to try to stop her.
Is it any good?
More like a video game than a movie, Tomb Raider has some great action sequences and the ever-watchable Angelina Jolie. What it does not have is much of a plot, interesting characters, or a reason to care about the outcome. A clumsy salute to Raiders of the Lost Ark is only a reminder of how much better that movie is. At least when you're playing the game, you have points to keep you going. This movie sags whenever the action stops.
The action sequences are fine for the most part. Jolie has the kickboxing skills and the acting chops to deliver what people who go to this movie want to see, but the screenwriter and director let her down when it comes to the boringly generic bad guys and the missing-father motivation. Maybe it's too much to expect the people behind this kind of movie to attempt to create a real character or know very much about women, but even by those standards, this movie gets it so wrong that it interferes with our connection to Lara. She's so tough that she shrugs off the near destruction of her home, but she's willing to risk her life to save a man who has done nothing but betray her. She always looks a little relieved when she gets a chance to fight, and we feel the same.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Croft is such a loner and whether she has any interest in the history or art of the treasures she raids from tombs. They may want to discuss some of the conflicts between people who see antiquities as art for universities and museums and those who consider them sacred items that should never be moved. If you had the chance to stop time and see one person who has died, who would it be?
What are some other examples of video games being adapted into movies? What's the appeal of these types of movies?
Was the violence necessary to the overall story, or did it seem put in to make the movie more exciting?
For kids who love strong female characters
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.