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The first film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, was released in 2001. Lara is off looking for the Triangle of Light, which the Illuminati seek in order to control time. She has until the planetary alignment to do so, and has rival/love interest Alex West (Daniel Craig) in her way.
The second film, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, has Lara in search of Pandora's Box. Evil scientist Jonathan Reiss (Ciaran Hinds) seeks to weaponise the contents of Pandora's Box for biological warfare. Lara is paired with mercenary and former love interest Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), an ex-SAS man who betrayed the country and gets his chance to pay penance. While the first movie embraced its video game roots, the second attempts to insert a little actual drama and tries to take itself seriously as an action-adventure flick — so seriously that some considered it not fun enough.
These films provide examples of:
- Ammunition Backpack: Lara could reload her pistols using a mechanism in her backpack.
- Artistic Licence Astronomy: Pretty much everything to do with the planetary alignment in the first movie.
- Artistic Licence Biology: The Cradle of Life has a roaring shark.
- Awesome, Dear Boy: Angelina Jolie agreed to do the first film because of all the locations she would get to visit. She fell in love with Cambodia, leading her to move there and help with a minefield cleanup. It was also where she met and eventually adopted her first son, Maddox.
- Battle Butler: When her mansion is being invaded by Manfred's men in the first film, Hillary dons a bulletproof vest and wields a shotgun. Too bad we never get to see him do anything.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lara and Alex in spades.
- Between My Legs: During the fight between Lara and the robot in the first film.
- Braids of Action: Lara.
- Bulletproof Human Shield: In the first film, Powell grabs one of his Mooks to block a thrown spear. One he could easily have dodged.
- The Cast Showoff: Jolie did most of her own stunts. In The Cradle of Life, there is a scene where Lara plays with a switchblade — Jolie collects knives.
- Covers Always Lie: The poster for the first film featured Lara in her trademark short shorts and tank top. In the actual film, she doesn't wear this clothes combo at any point; in the first action sequence, she's wearing the short shorts but has a t-shirt, and later in the film, she's wearing her sleeveless shirt but wears long pants with it.
- Dismantled MacGuffin: In the first film, the Triangle of Light is split into two pieces that were "hidden at the ends of the earth".
- Dramatic Landfall Shot: In The Cradle of Life.
- Ho Yay: Hillary spends the better part of The Cradle of Life living in Bryce's trailer. At the end of the film, Lara meets up with the two of them as they are being groomed by a group of tribeswomen. For their wedding. They beat a hasty retreat, but one must wonder what gave the women that impression. It's possible they were being dressed up to marry women in the tribe, but that's sure not the impression you get when you watch it — and if they're running away from being married to women, doesn't that make it even more suspect?
- Male Gaze: Basically Male Gaze the movie!
- Overcrank: Utilized in the finale.
- Stripperiffic: Some of Lara's outfits.
- Real Life Relative: Jolie's real life father, Jon Voight, as Lara Croft's dad, Lord Richard Croft.
- Real Life Writes the Plot:
- Real Life Designs the Costumes: The second film puts Lara in more outfits with longer sleeves. This was done because the makeup used to conceal Angelina Jolie's tattoos during the filming of the first film was not as effective as it was supposed to be.
- The scene in the first film where there is a large procession of Buddhist monks was not originally in the script. Simon West decided to shoot it because the monks just happened to be having their procession, and agreed to be filmed for the movie.
- The "duck boat" transports at the end of the first film were spotted on location, and the filmmakers requested to borrow them because they looked cool.
- Ret Canon: The success of the first movie led to certain elements to appear in later games of the series. The most notable is Lara dad being an archaeologist named Richard.
- Scenery Censor: Daniel Craig in the first film.
- To Raiders of the Lost Ark — just watch carefully how Lara deals with a stone statue that is showboating with its sword.
- Shower Scene: Male and female shower scenes.
- Smug Snake: Manfred Powell.
- Time Stands Still: One of the functions of the Triangle of Light.
- Underwater Kiss: Type B is used in the first movie, when Lara does it to Alex.
- What Could Have Been:
- Kirsten Dunst, Charlize Theron and Catherine Zeta Jones were some of the original choices to play Lara. Liv Tyler and Uma Thurman were two that were offered the role, but turned it down.
- When Things Spin Science Happens: The Triangle of Light.
- You Can't Thwart Stage One: The first movie would have ended a lot sooner if Lara Croft had followed her father's instructions and destroyed her half of the Triangle of Light.
- You Killed My Father: Powell reveals he killed Lara's father just before the two fight at the end of the first film.