Movie Reviews: Tomb Raider (2018)




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     Warner Bros. (1hr. 2 mins.)
     Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.
     Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Hannah John-Kamen
Bottom Line:

Jon Rutledge

Laura Croft (Alicia Vikander) is a young girl trying to live her life after her father goes missing on an expedition. She has refused to admit that her father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), who has been missing for seven years is most likely dead.  She gets a puzzle box from her father as his last wish. Inside is a clue that she starts following up on. She sets out after the same mystery that took her father from her. This new reboot to the Tomb Raider franchise takes a lot of flavor from the successful Video game reboot in 2013. It doesn’t follow the game directly but all the same elements are there. She hires a ship and lands an unforgiving island with hostile inhabitants trying to survive and unravel the mystery of the island.  An action film with just the right touches of story.

Looking to possibly launch the franchise again they slyly blend in some story elements from the second game in a way that gives them a logical launch of a sequel. Fans of the game series will see all the nods to setting up Laura to be the hero she is destined to be. We see her firing a bow and pick up a climbing axe as well as pick up two pistols. She now has all the tools she will need to continue the adventure in the next film… if they have one. (I hope they do). This movie almost feels like the first X-men movie, it seemed like a test run for something much bigger. I’m invested in seeing more if they do them. There is a rumor of them trying to do a shared universe vis-a-vis Marvel. I hope they don’t try and pare this up with some of the lesser impressive video games. I shudder at the thought of a Hitman /Tomb Raider cross over. 

You can’t look at this film and not compare it to the 2001 version of this same franchise. I don’t think it’s a fair comparison. The 2001 film was only tangentially related to the game. They cast a mega star, Angelina Jolie, and run her through some archeological sets with shooting and a love interests. This one seems more realistic in that they have a person who takes on the look of Laura Croft way better than Jolie’s incarnation. Alicia Vikander looks like she walked off the video game. She brings a more realistic physicality to the action scenes. 

Video game films in the hands of studios who don’t understand or respect the source material can be detrimental to the game title. Look at some of the horrible video game moves in the past years. The pitfall filmmakers stumble into is assuming that the fans will flock to the theater regardless of content. This one takes time in getting us invested in the character. It was an action film but it did an excellent job of making us feel for the characters. As a reviewer I get to screen the film for free. You can tell a movie is good when I am willing to spend my own money on seeing it again. I am, and I am going to bring friends.

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