ALICIA Vikander is the second Oscar-winning actress to take on the role of Lara Croft after Angelina Jolie’s turn as the character in the 2001 and 2003 films based on the popular video game franchise.
This version of the film, a reboot, is based on the 2013 version of the video game, which itself was a reboot of the game franchise.
Movies based on video games are notoriously bad. Fortunately, this latest Tomb Raider film isn’t anywhere near as bad as most video gamer adaptations. Unfortunately that isn’t actually saying much. It really is a shame, because a lot of the writing in video games is fantastic, and would make excellent films if they were adapted outright.
The Hollywood writers always need to get their hands on the stories when adapting them to the big screen, however, which is where some of the excellent storytelling elements from the games get lost in translation.
It’s almost as if Hollywood filmmakers think that the appeal of video games is only the action, when in reality (at least for myself personally as a very casual gamer) it’s the stories that draws me to the games.
Tomb Raider comes very close to getting it right, though. It had the typical physics-defying action and mysterious puzzle-solving that modern adventure games are known for (several of the action scenes looked and felt as though I could have been controlling the action with my PS4 controller). It also had a decent amount of character development, at least for Lara Croft herself.
Unfortunately, it didn’t have enough of the good stuff that makes these games appealing, and it had too much of the stuff that makes them generic. I would have much rather spent more time learning about Lara Croft as a character, saving the majority of the action for the third act.
The movie had the potential of being a Batman Begins-level origin story; unfortunately it didn’t quite get beyond the stereotypical mediocre action film.
The best part of the film by far was Alicia Vikander. She is fantastic in the role; it was essentially perfect casting. Usually the presence of a phenomenal actor in a mediocre film elevates the film. Don’t get me wrong, Vikander definitely added to the experience, and was my favourite aspect of the film, but not even her presence was enough to make the film anything more special than a typical action-adventure flick.
I’m not necessarily complaining though. The movie was entertaining and had a good balance of action, adventure and mystery. It just isn’t necessarily worth the price of admission. It’s worth a watch; just wait for it to hit Netflix.
Ryan Mackett is an artist and film enthusiast who resides in Thunder Bay. Email questions or comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.