WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Even though the first Tomb Raider film was lambasted by critics, video game-inspired treasure seeker Lara Croft returns to her gun-toting, globe-trotting ways in The Cradle of Life. “This one is better,” Angelina Jolie says. “It’s smarter and sexier and a bit darker. The fans should be happier this time.” We’ll see. Once again, any plot is simply an excuse to string together action sequences. When an earthquake creates access to a submerged temple off the coast of Greece, fortune-hunters with opposing agendas converge in search of a golden orb able to direct them to the legendary Pandora’s box. The evil Jonathan Reiss deals biological weapons to the highest bidder, and believes unleashing the power of the box would be like exposing mankind to a virus for which there is no cure. So Lara tries to reach it first. She enlists the help of Terry Sheridan, an old flame doing hard time for treason. Their action-packed journey takes them to the jungles of Africa by way of Hong Kong. Of course, since Terry is a mercenary, it’s hard to know exactly where his loyalties lie.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Lara is loyal to her friends, and ultimately resists the temptation to recover Pandora’s box in the better interests of humanity.

Spiritual Content

A seaman suggests that a series of natural obstacles to their quest may mean that God doesn’t want the underwater temple found. The story is told of a king who made statues of warriors intended to protect him in the afterlife. The whole notion of Pandora’s box existing with all of its mythical power flies in the face of biblical creationism. Lara raises the question, “How do you think life began?” Her answer includes the idea that the same box spoken of in Greek mythology that “brought life to earth” contained a plague—an equal, yet opposite force capable of destroying life. Lara refers to this as “the Sunday school version,” though it’s doubtful any Sunday school teacher ever used a felt board to explain that. The fact that Pandora’s box exists in the context of the film implies that the story’s explanation of its origins may be accurate as well.

Sexual Content

Imagine a female cross between Indiana Jones and James Bond with an exaggerated hourglass figure, bedroom eyes and pouty, collagen-enhanced lips. Then instill brooding hostility and a thrill-seeking spirit. That image as a noble bad girl makes Lara Croft both a symbol of female empowerment and 14-year-old male fantasies. And just like in the Charlie’s Angels films, it infuses a certain sexuality into the barrage of action violence. More specifically, Lara and Terry allude to their sexual history together with a few mild innuendoes. Both half-dressed, they kiss passionately and writhe on the floor before she handcuffs him to the bedpost (he assumes she’s getting kinky; she’s not). [Spoiler Warning] There’s a disturbing pairing of sexuality and violence at the end of the movie. After defeating Reiss, they kiss tenderly, but quickly find themselves rivals. Terry smacks Lara to the ground and she defends herself by shooting him dead.

Violent Content

Countless people are killed, mostly victims of shootouts. Two men have their throats cut. There are martial arts showdowns between Lara and the bad guys. Her friend’s boat is blown out of the water with him in it (implied). A Chinese crime boss attacks Lara with large swords before she finishes him off with a knife to the chest. She punches a shark in the snoot. Several people are pistol-whipped or shot at close range. Reiss infects a traitorous businessman with a fast-acting form of Ebola and watches dispassionately as the man vomits blood and dies. A villain falls into a pool of black acid that eats away his flesh (cheesy computer effects are used to show him thrashing about, skinless and tormented). Another presses Lara’s head down against a table covered in broken glass. Soldiers use automatic weapons to mow down natives. One tribesman hurls a spear into an attacker’s chest. Before being stabbed in the back, a thug has nasty bacteria sprayed into his eyes. Soldiers are snatched or devoured by grotesque monsters guarding Pandora’s box.

Crude or Profane Language

A mere seven profanities (one of which is the s-word). God’s name is used as an exclamation.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Alcohol is served at a wedding. People take pills containing an antidote to a deadly virus.

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

A slight improvement over the first film, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is the cinematic equivalent of getting blasted in the face with a Super-Soaker; it’s a stinging, immature assault that’s not terribly pleasant, but at least offers a brief escape from the summer heat. A few action scenes pack a "wow” factor. One tracks Lara and Terry as they leap from a skyscraper and glide to earth wearing only webbed suits—a stunt actually performed without the usual CGI sleight of hand. But overall what passes for adventure is a lot of running around, dodging bullets and avoiding falling debris. The kineticism is designed for mind-dulled action fanatics. It’s noisy, numbing eye candy that dares us to care a lick about what’s going on.

What bothered me most about The Cradle of Life is the same thing that has bothered me about a lot of recent action movies, including X2: X-Men United, Daredevil, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and The Matrix Reloaded. All of those films pit men and women against each other in brutal hand-to-hand combat, sometimes to the death and often with sexual overtones. In the interest of making women equal to men in every way, Hollywood has turned them into fierce warriors who trade kicks, punches and karate chops with guys. God’s Word and the vast majority of human history tell us that a healthy society should value and respect women. Cheapening ladies by lowering them to this level does just the opposite, especially when that violence is intercut with shots of females in skimpy or provocative outfits. In other words, if Angelina Jolie decides not to strap on her pistols for a third installment, the world will be better of for it.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!