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TOMB RAIDER ( Movie Review )

Lara Croft may be as rich as Midas—her father having collected scores of businesses under the Croft family banner—but you'd never guess it by looking at her. In fact, she leads a somewhat meager existence on the streets of London and can barely keep up with her bills.

The problem is, this pretty twentysomething simply refuses to admit that her dad is …

She even has a hard time even saying it. Thinking it. To take any money from his wealthy estate, she'd have to sign papers confirming his death. And that, she will not do. No matter how much the corporate officials plead.

Ever since her mom's death when she was a little girl, Lara's father, Lord Richard Croft, had been obsessed with supernatural things. He'd been determined to find any hint of things beyond this physical domain.

That had led him to the mystery of the ancient and mysterious Japanese Queen Himiko—otherwise known as the Mother of Death. Lara's father had invested years of research into finding the woman's hidden tomb. And that nagging quest took him away from his daughter years ago, without a word since.

"You can pick up where your father left off," the estate executor tells Lara in the hope of getting her to sign the necessary papers. But Lara can't do more than frown and assure the woman, "I'm not that kind of Croft."

Lara isn't an explorer. She isn't an adventurer. She's just a young woman whose life has been deprived of her dear father's presence and love for the last seven years.

That's when Lara discovers a strange Japanese puzzle, left behind in her father's effects. His movable wooden puzzles had always been slightly annoying to her as a girl. But she was also very good at them—the cylinders clicking and shifting beneath her fingers as if on their own. And as this complicated gadget clicks into place, revealing a photo, a key and a further riddle, everything changes for Lara.

Could it be? Is there more to her father's disappearance? Are there clues just waiting to be turned over, manipulated and clicked into place like an ancient wooden collection of gears, slides and nobs? Has something been left behind just for her? Some truth? Some message?

She has to find out. And along the way, Lara is beginning to suspect—deep down in a hidden corner of her puzzle-shaped core—that she just might be that kind of Croft after all.

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