Tomb Raider is an action-adventure film that is based heavily on the rebooted video game franchise of the same name. It stars Alicia Vikander as the famously known raider of tombs, Lara Croft. Tomb Raider (Video Game) released in 2013 and it was absolutely fantastic. It was a much more realistic take on a franchise that had lost its way. Gone were the cartoony visuals and themes, instead they were replaced with something dark and gritty. We’re all aware by now that movies based on video games haven’t turned out like we’d hoped. However, they keep getting made. Let’s have a look at the latest attempt and see if it breaks the curse.
Following the disappearance of her father, Richard Croft, Lara Croft makes a living as a bike courier. When she is arrested after a bike accident involving a police car, Richard’s business partner Ana Miller posts her bail and warns her that if she does not claim her inheritance, her father’s estate will be sold off. Lara reluctantly accepts and gains access to her father’s office. There she finds a pre-recorded message from Richard detailing his research into Himiko, the mythical Queen of Yamatai who was said to command the power over life and death. Richard warns Lara to destroy all of his research but Lara decides not to so she can investigate further.
Lara travels to Hong Kong where she hires Lu Ren, captain of the ship Endurance, to sail into the Devil’s Sea to the island of Yamatai. The ship capsizes in a violent storm and Lara is washed ashore where she is knocked unconscious. She is revived by Mathias Vogel, the leader of an expedition to locate Himiko’s tomb. The expedition has been funded by a shadowy organisation called Trinity that seeks to harness Himiko’s power. Vogel takes Lara prisoner, claiming that he killed her father and intends to use Richard’s research to continue his expedition. Lara escapes with the help of Lu Ren, who also survived the storm and has been put to work with the local fishermen digging for Himiko’s tomb. She evades capture but is seriously wounded in the process and passes out from her injuries.
Lara regains consciousness after nightfall and is forced to kill a Trinity guard when she is nearly discovered. She follows a mysterious figure wandering the island and discovers that the figure is her father, who himself had been held captive on Yamatai. After Lara convinces him that she is real, Richard treats her injuries. Together they must combine forces to regain the research, stop Vogel and ensure Himiko is never released.
Firstly, I genuinely believe that Tomb Raider breaks the video game, movie adaption curse. The main reason I make such a statement is because it sticks closer to the source material than any adaption has before. My biggest gripe with others is that they always attempt to add in characters and stories that had never existed in their respective universes. Tomb Raider plays it safe and delivers something that is very familiar for those that have played the game. Some may cry for originality but we all know what that has given us in the past. If they ever make a movie adaption of The Last of Us then they should look at this film as a blueprint on how to do it right. Why change what isn’t broken?
In fact, this film adds certain aspects that we missing from the game. The main one being who Lara was before she got to the island. Also, it does a much better job of making you feeling emotionally invested in her relationship with her father. Dominic West is a good casting choice, I enjoyed his dynamic with Lara.
Talking of casting, Alicia Vikander is a great Lara Croft. Throughout, you can tell that she’s truly giving it her all. There is a lot of physicality in the role and she absolutely nails that side of things. However, she lacks charisma and comes across quite wooden at times.
There are plenty of cool looking action set-pieces in Tomb Raider. Although, the CGI in certain areas is quite poor. At times it resembles the video game so much, you’d think you were simply sitting through a lengthy cutscene.
The story in Tomb Raider is quite generic. This is something that you can get away with much easier in a video game. In a movie, it comes across as uncreative. However, I feel it is a decent starting point for Lara. Just like in the game, she grows throughout the film which is good.
Overall, Tomb Raider is a very good adaption of a video game. It has faults, some that could be more glaring depending on who you speak to. Still, for those that don’t play games it’s enjoyable. For those that do, it’s a decent alternative just less interactive.