Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tomb Raider: the Intelligent Fighter

When I decided to work on "Tomb Raider" for my final project, the first thing that came across my mine was the objectification of women. I watched 'Tomb Raider" pretty long time ago, and the only thing that I could pretty much think of was Angelina Jolie in her tight black spandex suit with long braided hair, holding guns in both of her hands. What came off as the most significant in my mind were the fact that the character was played by Angelina Jolie, the actress known as a sex symbol, and that she wears tight black garment in the movie. Therefore, even before watching the movie, I simply judged the character Lara Croft as another victim of female objectification. However, after watching the movie, I realized that I should have known better before judging her so quickly.

Although Lara Croft is a very agile and physically strong warrior (like many others), she came off as a very intelligent heroine to me. Her fighting skills and flashy use of the guns and blades were impressive; however, behind many moves and decisions she made as the protagonist of the movie were her genius kicking in. To me, it didn't feel like she was behaving impulsively at all. A daughter of a renowned archaeologist, Lara Croft has inherited a gift of intelligence and a passion for antiquity. Unlike impulsive and dishonest Illuminati in the movie, Lara is able to study and understand the ancient triangle that controls the time, and she uses that knowledge as a base to negotiate her way through preventing a disaster from happening (the triangle in the hands of the evil guys).

She is different from some other heroines, whose motto is to never negotiate with the villains and overpower them physically to gain victories. Lara Croft is cunning and smart. She knows how to negotiate with her enemies yet controls herself so well that she does not let herself get tricked into their evil master plans. For example, she forms a semi-alliance with the Illuminati to get to Siberia where she could prevent them from seizing the control of the time and to put them under her watch. Although her desire to reconnect with her dead father sort of plays into her decision, her primary concern lies in preventing the power of time from falling into the wrong hands, and she carries on with her plan and her father's wish (to stop Illuminati) very intelligently. The way she deals with her enemies is not all about fists and guns. She is calm in facing her enemies, and when Powell (the main villain)'s minions attack her mansion to take her ancient clock, she uses various tools like her cars' headlights to make the enemies confused and defeat them at their most vulnerable. Their sizable "army" is overpowered by Lara's tactical use of the surroundings and wit.

Because Lara Croft strongly came off as a highly intelligent genius heroine, the "sexy" part of the character was not of a primary focus in the movie. Although some scenes were pretty exposing of her body, most of the times, it did not distract me from getting into the movie because what really stood out in the story was the heroine's bravery and intelligence, which were perfectly combined to enhance her as the great warrior.


  1. Film directors don't think that men will want to see movies with mediocre looking women in them.

  2. True, film directors use sexuality to attract viewers. In fact, in "Tomb Raider," Lara Croft's hot body is highlighted except in a very subtle way. "Sex" has become a very natural part of heroine action movies that, to me, as I was watching the movie, Lara Croft's sexy body did not stand out too much (at least not as much as her actions and intelligence).


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