Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

lara croft tomb raider the cradle of life poster 2003 movie angelina jolie
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Better than the first film

Still feels like a work in progress

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Lara Croft Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life

Studio:  Mutual Film Company

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  July 25, 2003

MPAA Rating:  PG-13


Wow, 3D TV…it’s just a fad…

Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) uncovers an orb that could lead her to the Cradle of Life and Pandora’s Box.  The orb is stolen by Chen Lo (Simon Yam) who teams with a terrorist named Jonathan Reiss (Ciarán Hinds) who wants the power of Pandora’s Box.  Lara recruits a former lover named Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler) to retrieve the orb and reach the Cradle of Life before Reiss…if Pandora’s Box is found, will it be opened?

Directed by Jan de Bont, Lara Croft Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life was a follow-up to Lara Croft:  Tomb Raider of 2001.  Once again, the film was panned by critics, but also received a smaller box office return.  Angelina Jolie was once again nominated for a Razzie for Worst Actress (with her other film Beyond Borders).


Lara Croft…Shark Puncher!!!

I saw Lara Croft:  Tomb Raider in the theater, but didn’t enjoy it much.  Despite that, I decided to give Lara Croft Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life (one of the clunkiest titles around) a chance.  Thought it flowed a bit better, the film still didn’t hit the mark.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider:  The Cradle of Life does get the locations right.  The movie is supposed to be a big adventure, the exotic locations do harken to other adventure films like the Bond films or Indiana Jones film…unfortunately, the script doesn’t measure up to most of those films.


I want a flying suit, now!

The idea of the hunt for the Cradle of Life is completely in line with Indiana Jones and his quest for religious artifacts.  I like the style of these stories because they do feel more pulp based and Lara is essentially a modern pulp hero.  Angelina Jolie needed to have more fun with the role…something Harrison Ford does with Indiana Jones.  Fortunately, Gerard Butler is a bit better romantic lead than Daniel Craig in the first movie…plus, Ciarán Hinds and Djimon Hounsou are good back-up characters.


Wow, I bet this scene would be awesome…IF I KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON!!!

Like the first film however, the movie is poorly put together.  It is a bit smoother and action scenes make a bit more sense, but there is still this struggle of bringing the game to life…It doesn’t always translate.  The weird flips and actions of the video game Lara almost slows the real life action down and add to that confusing editing, it comes out as a bit of a mess.  I was glad to have scenes like the monsters at the Cradle of Life, but I still would have rather had the tyrannosaurus.

This movie is almost on the verge of working, but doesn’t quite get over the hump.  The visuals, the acting, and editing just don’t combine right.  When the film was released, the movie essentially killed the franchise.  There were some accusations that the failure of the video game Tomb Raider:  The Angel of Darkness before this film was released, but I think the fault lies in the franchise and the almost B-Movie quality of the film.  The Tomb Raider franchise was rebooted in 2018 as Tomb Raider with Alicia Vikander taking over as Lara Croft.

Related Links:

Lara Croft:  Tomb Raider (2001)

Tomb Raider (2018)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response