By now, everyone knows that turning videos games into movies has been a difficult task. It’s also safe to say that Hollywood will continue to accomplish this what has appeared to be nearly impossible. That’s why we have this rebooted version of Tomb Raider starring Academy award-winning actress Alicia Vikander. When they got a name like hers attached, I’m sure they were confident with what they had. Unfortunately, her name, her talent and her accolades aren’t enough to overcome the problems that come along with making films in this unsuccessful genre.
Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) has been living the last few years of her life aimless and without direction in search of some sort of adventure. After a series of events, she finds that and what looks to be true meaning in her life when she embarks on a journey to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of her father (Dominic West) seven years earlier. Leaving everything she knows behind, the 21 year-old chooses to face danger as she goes in search of her dad’s last-known destination on a mythical island.
Tomb Raider faces plenty of problems. One of them comes in the form of us being emotionally disconnected from the characters we’re supposed to care about. When this happens, it’s hard to really become involved with what’s happening over the course of a movie. This leaves a feeling of emptiness to certain extent even when things are supposed to be picking up.
Obviously, the lack of any connection also includes Alicia Vikander’s version of Lara Croft. If somehow she was able to show us some kind of charisma throughout the movie, maybe there would have been a better chance for success. If I’m looking for a reason why she wasn’t able to own the role as she should have, I could say that it comes down to this being her first true action role but that might not be the why.
I think a lot of things that appealed to many of the fans of the character since her debut ages ago was the fact that she was sexualized. In today’s age, that’s not something the media wants you to do, so that part of her is obviously missing here. If you’re going to eliminate those character traits completely, you have to replace it with something else. They didn’t do that here, and we have an empty character to follow because of that.
While she doesn’t have much personality or charisma neither does anyone else. As an example, you can look at Walton Goggins as the lead antagonist since he isn’t captivating in any sense. In many of the movies he has starred in over the years, he’s portrayed characters who were extremely eccentric and sometimes insane. In Tomb Raider, he’s very subdued, bland and boring. This leads me to believe that this could have been the tone the creators were looking for in terms of the entire movie. If so, they made a bad decision.
A positive aspect of the film does come in the form of the action to some degree. What’s here is fine, but it never elevates to anything higher like it’s supposed to as the movie moves along. The first set piece that works is a good one to start off with. However, every piece that follows feels as if it’s on a similar level. Of course, that should never happen. All of what’s taking place needs to feel like it’s getting more dangerous as things progress.
Outside of the action, everything else is mostly forgettable and sometimes pointless. Like everything else in Tomb Raider, these portions of the movie need more pizzazz and more flash in order for them to work. We’re also forced to spend too much time with these scenes. With something that’s relying so much on action, that probably shouldn’t be the case either.
While I was watching this, I kept thinking how much better this would work if it were a video game. I kept thinking this because they go out of their way to make this feel like a game every chance they got. I understand why they would do this to an extent, but you can’t replace the feeling of actually playing a game. And at least for me, just watching a game is boring.
In fact, attempting to bring the video game world into a more believable realm made it easy to see just how foolish some of the things we do in games can be. In the case of this movie, I’m mostly talking about having to do puzzles during missions. You give this kind of stuff a pass when actually playing because it’s only a game. However, seeing it on the big screen made it look a little more immature than I care to admit.
Because of hardcore fans, you want to try to keep video game elements that they love. On the other hand, you also need to make sure you make a film that has a legitimate cinematic experience. I think the key is to try to keep the tone of the games while giving nods to it as well. Simply giving us actual in-game elements and not much else wasn’t very wise and proved to be what harm’s this movie the most.
Although it’s not terrible or anything, Tomb Raider made me not want to see that Uncharted movie Sony has been trying to get out there for a few years now. I guess they could get it right, but there’s no reason to think that will be the case. If Sony doesn’t achieve success, I’m sure Hollywood will keep trying to get these to work anyway. Eventually, someone might actually accomplish that. If and when they do, there’s a chance that these movies could become just as big as movies based on comic books are now.
Director: Roar Uthaug
Kristin Scott Thomas
Film Length: 115 minutes
Release Date: March 15, 2018
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
- Score - 5/105/10