Tomb Raider is an action-adventure film directed by Roar Uthaug with a screenplay by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons. It is based on the 2013 video game of the same name and its sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and is a reboot of the Tomb Raider film series (review here). The film stars Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft and she is supported by Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu and Kristin Scott Thomas.
The Story/The Direction:
The film starts out with 21-year-old Lara working in London as a bike messenger, practicing mixed martial arts, while avoiding her right to the Croft fortune. This was left to her by her adventurer father (West) who is missing and presumed dead. Lara does not believe he's gone and when she finds clues left by him to follow, she journies to her father's last-known destination to find out what happened to him. She finds out that he had been researching into the tomb of Himiko, the “Mother of Death,” located somewhere in the Pacific in the "Chasm of Souls."
Mostly thanks to the direction of Uthaug, this film is able to be a decent action film with some very good stunt choreography. He also emphasizes problem-solving as a crucial element for Lara to get out of situations. He succeeds in providing a much more grounded version of the character. This film is almost the exact storyline of the game that this film is based on and the inspiration does not stop there. Many visual elements are translated to the big screen such as tip-toeing across a fallen tree over a cliff and wounds that Lara obtains from surviving falls are very similar. This movie is loyal to that game and if anyone is a fan of it, they would enjoy these aspects of the film. He also emphasizes problem-solving as a crucial element for Lara to get out of situations. He succeeds in providing a much more grounded version of the character.
Angelina Jolie's version of Lara was over the top and kicked butt. Lara, in this film, has to learn how to do all of this. She has to learn how to fight, how to shoot an arrow, and how to kill someone. She has to learn how to deal with the latter bit and move on. Also while the first film touched on Lara's relationship with her father, the audience never really knew their backstory. This film goes more into their relationship and that is helped by the acting of Vikander. She honors the character and is able to portray this character in a much better way than Jolie. This is not to say Jolie was bad but the audience will feel more connected to the character of Lara thanks to Vikander. The supporting cast does well in their roles but one could say that some of them were overacting.
This film does not do anything new when it comes to origin stories and it plays out exactly how one would imagine. Additionally, the twist at the end did feel a little lackluster but it was not terrible. There are some also bits of the film where the CGI looked a little too similar to the video game. The main antagonist of the film, Vogel (Goggins), while intimidating at times had a very simple motive which took away from his stature a little bit.
This film does have some action scenes that are fantastic to see and while some of the ultimate decisions by Lara may defy physics at times, this is a Tomb Raider film and that can be expected. This may be one of the best video game adaptations and the Lara character is without a doubt the best part of the film. Uthaug and Vikandere are able to give audience members a character to care for instead of one that is larger than life similar to Jolie's version. While not too original, if one is a fan of the new video games or is in the mood for a decent action-adventure film, this good film is worth a watch at a matinee or perhaps on video on demand.
Rating: 3.0/5.0 bowties
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