The Tomb Raider Origin Story Nobody Asked For

Tomb Raider, starring Bojack Horseman

Hey guys,

Caught Tomb Raider on demand a couple weeks ago and after having done so, I’m quite thankful I didn’t waste 15 bucks on this turkey in the theater.  My god, it’s just so goddamn bland. I had to look it up on Wikipedia to remind myself whatever the hell the plot was about.  I couldn’t remember, and it’s been like a week and a half.  It’s pretty clear Hollywood still hasn’t learned its lesson from garbage like Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake/origin story, or The Amazing Spider-man reboot that came out a mere 5 years after Raimi’s Spider-man 3 and revisits the very same well-worn radioactive spider material everyone on the planet is already 100% aware of, not to mention the king mother of stupid and unnecessary origin stories (that even has the word in the title), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (with specific reference to one Wade Wilson, aka, Deadpool).  This entry on the endless Hollywood reboot train finds Laura Croft a bicycle messenger mostly oblivious to the shenanigans of her rich, globe-trotting adventurer father (I should mention she is unaware of his latest exploits because she thinks he’s dead – spoiler alert: he’s not).  This is the somewhat naive version of her pre-dating the video game and film versions audiences are already well familiar with.  We see her fight training, for no other reason than we know Laura Croft should know how to fight (even though she’s a bicycle messenger).  We see that’s she’s handy with a bow and arrow because we know Laura Croft should be handy with a bow and arrow (even though she’s a bicycle messenger… in a city… where a bow and arrow are pretty goddamn moot).  You see where I’m going with this?  Tomb Raider has got to be the laziest origin story I’ve ever seen.  We are not shown how she acquired all these various skills, because one would assume she had acquired all these skills through the experiences of being the Laura Croft we all know, the tomb raiding ass-kicking Laura Croft.  Instead we’re merely shown she has all these skills… before becoming the Laura Croft we all know.  If it sounds stupid, it’s because it is stupid.  It’s really really stupid.  It’s so stupid that I’m going to spare you further ruminations on the topic of Laura Croft becoming a tomb raider.  Nobody cares.  Trust me.  Instead, let’s have a brief discussion regarding Dominic West.

Dominic West is such an extraordinarily odd actor.  He kinda came out of nowhere in The Wire, having had mostly tiny roles in a slew of little-seen films, most notably as a slimy shitbag Spartan statesman in 300, which wasn’t really a notable role at all.  And then, The Wire.  In which, he is absolutely fantastic.  A career-making performance in a career-making role.  And then nothing but garbage after.  And not just garbage, but garbage he’s terrible in.  See exhibit A:  Punisher: War Zone.  Jesus Christ, I haven’t heard a New York accent that bad since Steven Seagal’s cartoonish Brooklyn accent in Out For Justice. Seriously, just sit back and take in this fucking malarky.  My god.  I mean, seriously, WTF? (I will admit, I love Out for Justice.  It’s like a a bunch of film students in  Canada made a movie that takes place in Brooklyn after watching My Cousin Vinny). But back to Dominic West. Post The Wire: Centurion, From Time to Time, Johnny English Reborn, The Forgotten, Words of the Blitz, John Carter, Pride, Testament to Youth, and of course, Tomb Raider (in which he plays Laura Croft’s father, the ridiculously named, Lord Richard James Croft, Ph.D).  ‘Nuff said.

Tomb Raider is terrible.  In case there was any ambiguity in the above paragraphs.  The only interesting thing about this inert turd is the colossal Photoshop fail when designing the movie poster that made Alicia Vikander look like a giraffe (or Bojack Horseman).  I am reminded of the Netflix banner poster for The Babysitter.

While some people have two left feet… this woman has two right hands. Literally.


p.s.  The Affair?  Never heard of it.


Jurassic Blender


Film Title: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Awww, what an adorable man-eating monster.

Hey guys,

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom looks great.  If taken as a series of still images, some of which have an almost classical painting quality to them, it’s great.  To look at anyway.

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See what I mean?

But ultimately, it’s a hollow film.  There are no new ideas, but rather a mish-mash of previously covered material across the 4 previous films.  It’s like someone took all these varying concepts explored in the earlier movies, dumped them in a blender and turned it on. What came out was Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. It also suffers from poor character motivations, clashing with established characterizations from Jurassic World before it.  Everything feels retconned and awkwardly forced to fit with whatever it is they have planned for the inevitable next film.  In fact, the one new idea they do introduce in Fallen Kingdom is totally out of left field and utterly ludicrous within the context of a film franchise about dinosaurs.  The filmmakers suffer from the same issues they’re forcing into the films… the idea that basic dinosaurs are not good enough.  They have to keep inventing new, crossbred never-before-seen dinosaurs who are bigger, meaner and even more blood-thirsty than the humdrum T-Rex and, yawwwwwn, Velociraptor (because these two fucking monsters aren’t impressive enough?).


And so the filmmakers introduce the idea of human cloning at the end of Fallen Kingdom.  It’s a random question whose answer is two simple words:

Who. Cares?

This idea has no place in Fallen Kingdom, but plays like a post-credits sequence to tease the next film in the series.

The plot of Fallen Kingdom continues elements from the last film and goes all in.  Bad guys steals dinosaurs, bad guys sells dinosaurs to more bad guys.  Dinosaurs get loose. A common theme that has been run through the ringer at this point.  But hey, at least in this movie, the dinosaurs only eat bad guys, so that’s a plus.  For the good guys anyway.  For the audience, it’s a total cheat and undercuts the dread and menace inherent in a story about giant wild animals free from empathy who are turned loose on their food supply. The cast is great, again, but mostly wasted.  Jeff Goldblum returns as Ian Malcolm, but is relegated to the role of Chorus in a Greek tragedy.  His scenes occur solely in a courtroom as he testifies before some official body whose point I’ve already forgotten.  His lines are all thematic commentary the audience doesn’t really need.  We get it.  Bryce Dallas Howard and Chris Pratt have pretty good chemistry, but the filmmakers have decided to waste that fact by completely underwriting their relationship, which at the time of the film has devolved into ex’s.  Also, in a broader sense, why even cast Chris Pratt in this film if you’re not going to take advantage of his talents?  He has little to do in Fallen Kingdom, other than to run around and look ruggedly handsome.  He has exactly one good line in the whole film. Such an odd choice to cast someone with great comedic timing and then hamstring that talent with stilted and sparse dialogue.

The only way I would have any interest in the next Jurassic film is if they go full-bore Planet of the Apes.  Fast forward several years to a planet overrun by free-roaming dinosaurs, with humans an endangered species.  I’d pay to see that.  Otherwise, probably not.

I left Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom comparing it to the most recent Godzilla movie that came out in 2014.  It was exquisitely shot, but to what end?  There was far too much focus on bland human characters and whatever the hell they’re up to and not nearly enough on the giant goddamn monster wreaking havoc across the planet.

I mean, holy shit, look at this imagery… in such a tragically dull film.

I hope the filmmakers behind the next film,  Jurassic Planet (or whatever they decide to call it) wake up to the fact that dinosaurs are fucking awesome all on their own.  Lots and lots and lots of dinosaurs… is even better. You do not need more dinosaur-y dinosaurs. And don’t let a bunch of boring humans doing stupid bullshit get in the way.


p.s. We could have seen The Incredibles 2 or Hereditary instead of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.  Balls.