An open letter to Sherry Lansing, CEO, Paramount Pictures:
Dear Ms. Lansing,
I just witnessed the recent cinematic effort of your studio titled "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life" and would like to convey my reaction to this film with the following missive: I have never come closer to tearing my own penis off and throwing it at the screen while watching a movie. I'm really being serious here. You may already know me as somebody apt to threaten damage to his own genitals, but all those other times were strictly in jest. I was just kidding all those times before because I knew that most juveniles find genital mutilation incredibly funny and that I would benefit immensely from all the Google searches utilizing the word "penis."
This time, the impulse was very real. To paraphrase Lara Croft, "It was a feeling more powerful than you can ever imagine." However, you shouldn't be overly concerned that you caused me any serious pain because, by that time, I'm pretty sure all the blood had drained out of my brain and pooled in my feet.
Ms. Lansing, I sat through at least the last hour of this abomination in a frightening mental fog. I had no idea what was going on at all, nor did I care. Lara was grabbing and jumping onto things we'd never seen before, things that were just materializing in front of her. One second, she was riding up an elevator in a hotel, the next second she was on the roof and heading up another elevator at a construction site. It was all just a bit confusing.
Do you realize that the morons who made this film perpetrated the same asinine plot device on us, your unsuspecting audience, as the first film? I believe that the question facing Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie) in the first film was essentially this: I have one piece of a two-piece puzzle that I don't want an evil guy to put together, for fear that he will unleash an unspeakable horror upon the world. What do I do?
Maybe I'm simply thinking here and that is precisely the sort of activity you would like me to avoid, but my answer to that question is simple: Destroy my piece of the puzzle. I mean, that way the evil guy can't put the puzzle together and destroy the world, right? Well, I figured that little conundrum was so idiotic that nobody in their right mind would ever use it again, but not only was it reused, it was reused in the sequel to the film that used the idiotic plot device the first time. It's almost like your filmmakers are proud of their stupidity.
This time Lara is walking around with some kind of orb she needs in order to find Pandora's Box, which apparently contains some kind of plague. Naturally, Jonathan Reiss (Ciaran Hinds) also needs the orb. So what does Lara do instead of simply destroying the orb? She goes flitting off to Africa so she can find Pandora's Box, where she almost lets Reiss get it and destroy the world, before finally killing him and throwing Pandora's Box back in the black acid from where it came. Does this make sense to you? It seems to me that given Lara's inability to follow simple logic, you'd be better off giving Lara something simple to do in "Lara Croft 3," like baking a pie. Try this: "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Baking a Pie." It just rolls off the tongue.
I'm just curious as to how exactly you do business at your studio. Do you flip coins to see who writes the screenplays and directs the movies? Do you pull people off the street at random? Is the screenwriter's name, Dean Georgaris, an actual person or is that lab monkey #427? Really, if this guy is a real human being, I'd suggest you experiment with different mammals. They couldn't do any worse. The amazing thing about this screenplay, and I am absolutely not joking here, is that you could pull anybody off the street and they could easily write a screenplay this bad. Next time, just pick a homeless person to write the screenplay, feed him lunch, and you'll save yourself a ton of money and nobody will be the wiser.
And speaking of bad, you do realize that director Jan de Bont is already responsible for one of the worst sequels of all time, "Speed 2," right? Guess what? Now he's responsible for two of the worst sequels of all time. Jan couldn't direct himself out of an empty parking lot. I mean, why don't you see if this guy can successfully bring you a cup of coffee without spilling it all over the carpet before you give him another movie to direct? Seriously, see if he can do a good job cleaning your office toilet or something.
Since it's pretty obvious to me that at least a few people in your company couldn't differentiate between competence and horse shit, I feel it's necessary to point out a couple of things.
Very early in the movie, Lara takes a long underwater journey to a tomb where she first discovers the orb. She then has to escape the tomb minus the little underwater propeller boat that got her there. On her way down she passes cliffs and it basically takes forever. On the way out, she appears to emerge in a different ocean. However, Lara is smart, so she slices open her arm to attract the sharks and when one of them comes hurtling toward her, she punches it in the face, stops it cold, and then grabs onto its fin. The shark, obviously stunned, guides Lara safely to the surface of the ocean where she operates a safety beacon to signal her friends to come rescue her.
I actually watched a lobotomized four-year-old squeal off in his electric wheel chair to sign for his refund after this scene. So, let's just skip the part about getting the bends and holding one's breath and asking stupid questions like why exactly the shark decides to surface. Here's my question: How does anorexic Lara Croft stop a 1/2 ton shark moving 20 miles an hour right toward her with one punch? Have you even heard of momentum? Amazingly, this wasn't the thing that really burned my nads. At the end of the movie, she has her inevitable showdown with Reiss, who's apparently won a Nobel Prize at some point during his lifetime. You're trying to tell me that Lara Croft can't easily and efficiently kick the ass of a Nobel Prize winner but she can stop a 1/2 ton shark with one punch? Have you seen any Nobel Prize winners lately? Martial arts and kick-boxing isn't really their thing.
But wait, Ms. Lansing, there's more. Lara enters a houseboat in Shanghai and borrows the television of the family living there so that she can send a video message to her assistants. She does all this fancy stuff to hook up the system while the family watches her. Here's my question: Where did this Shanghai houseboat family get the money for the Panasonic Plasma television? Are the houseboats in Shanghai just equipped with those things or what? Look, I've heard of product placement, but your people there at Paramount need to get some perspective. To make matters worse, Lara discovers she needs to go to Africa right after that and, sure enough, in the next scene, she's in Africa. We then cut back to Shanghai where Lara's partner, Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), enters the houseboat and learns of Lara's whereabouts. Naturally, Terry follows her to Africa.
Okay, the thing is, Lara spends the day hooking up with Kosa (Djimon Hounsou) so that she can travel to Kilimanjaro where the tribal elders protect the tomb. I think she's with Kosa for safety reasons because the African people don't generally like white women running around in their tombs. Naturally, that night, Terry drops in at just the right time to help Lara out. Look, I hate to be picky, but Terry has been dropped from Lara's elite flyer's club, so he's pretty much stuck taking public transportation. I don't know if you're aware, but Shanghai and Africa are really far apart. How does he get there so fast? I've heard of getting lucky with a few connecting flights, but this is pretty ridiculous.
And can you believe it, Ms. Lansing, that I haven't even written one word about Angelina Jolie? Since she's now our Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations, I thought I'd leave her out of this. Besides, she's been going through the very painful process of having the "Billy Bob" on her Billy Bob tattoo removed via laser surgery, so not only does she have my sympathy, but the empathy of women throughout the South, I'm sure.
So, Ms. Lansing, I'd like to close this letter with some bit of advice, some clever anecdote that might provide perspective to your situation. However, after seeing "Lara Craft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life," I simply don't have much life left in me. I don't know what to say to you that might prevent the suffering of the millions of people who go see this thing. Frankly, if I were you, I'd hire some extra security over the next few weeks to keep some of those disgruntled moviegoers off the Paramount lot. Be safe.