“Tomb Raider” Falls Flat


Photo Courtesy of Geek Culture

    “Tomb Raider” is a fantasy/action movie that was released to theaters across the United States on March 16, 2018. The film presents Alicia Vikander as the new face of Lara Croft. It’s also filled with other stars such as Daniel Wu, Walton Goggins, and Dominic West.

    The movie follows Lara Croft as she discovers her father’s study and follows the trail of notes he left behind in an effort to solve his disappearance. Richard Croft (Dominic West) disappeared seven years earlier while investigating the lost island of Yamatai and Queen Himiko. Lara enlists the help of the sailor’s son who went missing along with her father, Lu Ren (Daniel Wu). Upon shipwrecking on the island, Lara discovers that a group by the name of Trinity has sinister intentions on the island. The excavation efforts are spearheaded by Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins) who hasn’t been able to unearth Himiko’s tomb in over seven years.

    Vikander does a fantastic job of bringing her own interpretation of Croft that is drastically different from Angelina Jolie’s Croft. Vikander’s Croft is much more serious and its refreshing to see a much more realistic character. It’s clear that this new Croft is rather impulsive and learning as she goes. The same goes for the other actors in the movie. However, I find that Daniel Wu was severely underutilized.  His character is inexplicably pushed aside for over half the movie. Walton Goggins was also a standout who did an amazing job of portraying the sleaziness of the character. It’s actually a shame that the actors weren’t given a better movie to star in.

    The movie is based on the reboot game by the same name that was released in 2013. The director, Roar Uthaug, knew how difficult it would be to make yet another game based movie. A lot of things are ripped straight out of the game, such as the the island of Yamatai, Queen Himiko, Trinity, and Mathias Vogel. The translation of these aspects from the game to the big screen was executed beautifully, however, the movie struggles when it came to taking creative liberties.

    The creative liberties taken by the director and the writers does pertain to major plot points in the story, so there will be spoilers. One of my biggest issues with the movie is the omission of the Solarii Brotherhood that acted as the primary antagonist of the first game. There was no Trinity, just a group of brainwashed and shipwrecked sailors who were under the leadership of Mathias Vogel. Taking away the supernatural aspect that plays such a pivotal role in Lara’s character development and the story line ruined the movie. Lara’s transition from a skeptic to witnessing the supernatural firsthand just isn’t the same. The lackluster reveal that Himiko’s curse was a disease a let down compared to the original story line.

    Movie Lara just isn’t the same as the Lara that most are used to seeing. In the movie it’s revealed that she never went to college and works as a bike courier in London. However, this just doesn’t tie in with other iterations where she extensively studies history and other cultures. To make up for it the film has Lara follow her father to Yamatai, a decision that undermines Lara’s entire character. She isn’t drawn to Yamatai out of her own curiosity, rather dependent on other character’s to push her through the story.

    Overall, despite the great acting and cinematography, the movie fails to redeem itself. Both the ending and the journey are unsatisfactory, and it fails to leave you wanting more. There are high stakes in making a game-based movie, but this one just falls short on every expectation. Most ideas independent of the games lore was executed poorly and ruined the movie. I wouldn’t recommend watching this movie in theaters, it would be a waste of both money and time.