Tomb Raider Movie Review

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Michael Aaron Coopersmith | mcoopersmith@radford.edu

On March 15, I went down to the Radford Theatre to watch an early screening of the latest iteration of one of my “favorite” videogame to movie adaptations; Lara Croft as the Tomb Raider.

Now, to clarify, this review will look at the movie in both of a film and video game adaptation perspective.

With this version of Tomb Raider, Lara Croft was not played by the titular Angelina Jolie but replaced with Alicia Vikander whose acting career consists of parts from films such as Ex Machina, The Danish Girl, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

To those who are familiar with 2013 Tomb Raider videogame reboot, you might be able to see that Alicia Vikander fits the Lara Croft well rather than an Angelina Jolie type, which was playing of the 90s’ classic Tomb Raider but, yet, they trimmed down the “fat” of the main story line.

The plot of the movie consists of Lara Croft having to go out into the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia to find her father who had disappeared while on an expedition. He was last noted on a deserted island that was rumored to have the tomb of a Japanese Empress who possessed the touch of death.

Lara enlists the help of Lu Ren, the son of the Hong Kong sailor that took Richard Croft into the Golden Triangle.

The movie’s narrative is a straightforward action-adventure that almost feels as if it used a checklist. Even when you get to the tomb, which is the “meat” of the movie, the trials and booby traps seem too predictable, it could not bring you to the edge of the seat if it even tried.

Moreover, the twist at the end came way out of left field but still didn’t feel impactful since it was unnecessary and random.

Since the movie is a videogame adaption, I would say that half of this movie relates to the videogame. It has the same set-up and setting, but as we enter the actual tomb portion of the film, it felt as we lost the mystical and dangerous tone that you get from the videogame itself.

During the action scenes we get these wide shots of all the destruction that Lara has to run away from or parkour her way out of. At times these shots can be exciting, yet they are not focused on, and we move away since the pacing of the movie is quite fast.

Furthermore, the characters were very underdeveloped; everyone’s motivations felt very one note. For example, our villain; Mathias Vogel played by Walton Goggins; the film tries to portray him as a psychopathic character to the point that our character tells us he is a psycho, but it never seemed that way.

In my own opinion, Walton wasn’t going all the way with Mathias as a psychopathic leader. From what you see, the only indication of him being “psychopathic” is that he has been on the island far too long and badly wants to return home. He might kill a few “slaves” from time to time to make an example, but it doesn’t seem that he takes enjoyment in it.

In fact, when they are in the tomb, he is quite level-headed and focused on the goal at hand, not getting swept up in the idea of it being a cursed tomb. This is just one example of not going far with the characters that you have. It seems the themes were there and they could have shown different perspectives, but they did not.

It seems that I can only say is that if you want a by the book action-adventure movie based on the new Tomb Raider games, then I recommend this movie; But there are better action-adventure movies out there.

The dust on this tomb should have been left alone.

Photo Credit: (imdb.com)