Oh, what ever happened to Jan DeBont? Once the best cinematographer in town, he then turned to directing with initially successful results: Speed and Twister were really cool, fun flicks. But then he made Speed 2 and The Haunting. Oh dear. For a while, he was supposed to make Minority Report, but Spielberg took over that one, and poor Jan got a producing credit. So what would he do to reclaim his fame? Well, he would direct the movie with the most words in the title this summer: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Crade of Life.
The trailers for the film looked cool. The first one was just alright, but entertaining enough – and I figured with DeBont at the helm, this might be a really exciting action adventure film. Unfortunately, the “adventure” part is just missing altogether. It’s an action film – and not a very engaging one at that. Sure, the sequences are fun, Angelina Jolie is easy on the eyes, and overall the movie progresses at a steady clip – I was never bored. But I wasn’t excited, either. Lara Croft kills plenty of bad guys in this film (I think she only killed one guy in the first film), and she’s in plenty of peril – but I never felt excited watching her escape. For me, the only really cool part was the beginning, with the discovery of the Luna Temple underground off the coast of Greece. Now that was a cool setpiece, and the mythological origins of Pandora’s Box, tying it in with Alexander the Great, etc – all that backstory – was really fascinating and cool. I wanted more of that. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t there.
Alan Silvestri’s score was servicible, but never really struck me as anything overly cool. I was hoping for a big-ass thrilling adventure score… and instead I got a rather unmemorable theme, with some emotional bits that sounded like the dramatic music from The Quick and the Dead. I hope that the score makes more of an impression on me when I get the CD, but until then, I won’t be thinking about it. One interesting thing was the inclusion of a track called “Lab Scene” by composer Craig Armstrong, who was tossed off the picture earlier this year. Seems they wanted to keep this one track, and I will certainly say that the music sure worked in the lab scene! If you’re looking for a fun film, though, I still say go see Pirates of the Caribbean.