Tomb Raider (2001)

To me, this movie was always “that famous one about the hot female character from some video game I’ve never played because (a) I’m not a guy and (b) I prefer games where I get to make colored shapes disappear.” Even after I went to Cambodia and poked around in the tree-covered fallen temple famous for having been in the movie, I didn’t really much care whether I ever saw Tomb Raider or not.

Now that I’ve seen it, I understand what all the fuss was about: this movie launched Angelina Jolie’s career. The character is awesome, and the stunts are awesome, and Angelina Jolie is awesome for playing the character and doing the stunts.

Nevertheless, the whole thing felt like an expensive, lame joke. I think I enjoyed Prince of Persia more. The movie I was most reminded of was the lopsided 2017 China/India project Kung Fu Yoga, in which Jackie Chan unleashes his inner Indiana Jones.

I live in Southeast Asia and have been to Cambodia multiple times because Angkor Wat is the awesomest UNESCO heritage site in the region. See below for more of my thoughts on the movie’s setting.

Thoughts on Tomb Raider‘s Southeast Asia Setting

I think living in Southeast Asia has soured me on adventure scenes in “exotic” Southeast Asian locations. Thomasville, the fictional rural American town featured in Cars 3, was in some ways more alien. The stone temple with dozens of elaborate carvings and a giant cross-legged statue with more than one face and more than two arms didn’t strike me as being fantastical, it struck me as being Hindu or Buddhist or both—or at any rate it did, until the statue stood up. I’ve seen a lot of statues but I’ve never seen one do that. Lara promptly destroyed it. Um, hooray, I guess?

I’m glad I’ve seen Tomb Raider, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it. If you’re planning a visit Cambodia, however, you’ll need to watch Tomb Raider so that you’ll be able to participate knowingly in all the silly posing at Ta Prohm.

Christmas Eve 2010

Neither I nor my dad had seen the movie, so we just copied what we’d seen the other tourists doing. More or less.

If I’d been more informed, I would at least have braided my hair! Ah well. Next time.