This evening I watched Tomb Raider for the first time. I had avoided going to see it in the cinema due to the fact it was universally panned by the critics. Kind of takes the motivation out of it when you’ve already been assured by every tabloid and its supplement mag that the movie is a turkey.
What was interesting was the amount of hard work that Angelina Jolie put in in order to look convincing on screen. On the flip side it’s amazing how a director who is so far out of his depth can convince the studio that he has some kind of vision that will be in the best interests of the project.
This is where Dominic Senna and Simon West have more than one thing in common. Both have directed the talented Angelina Jolie in Gone in Sixty Seconds and Tomb Raider, and neither could direct their way out of a paper bag. It’s just something they cant hide from – it spews forth from the screen, even embarrasingly so on the extras on the DVD for each movie when it becomes quite clear that each of them is convincing no one.
Tomb Raider suffers, for me, because it has so clearly been hacked to death as the movie went along. This has to fall at the feet of the director. The amount of material in the deleted scenes that if left intact would actually have given the story more depth and a little more credibility than the mish-mash of set pieces that it turns out to be.
A shame, really, as Tomb Raider does look great for the most part and the effort that Jolie put into the movie was not matched by the director. With Jan de Bont at the helm of the sequel it will be interesting to see if the franchise can be saved, although I suspect that given the slap-dash treatment de Bont usually delivers (Speed, Twister, et al) it’ll take some doing.