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Film Review

Tomb Raider (2018)

Directed by Roar Uthaug
From: Warner Bros.
Released: 03.16.18
Review by Julian Lytle | March 15, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Basically: You’re watching someone play Tomb Raider on Xbox One.

It goes without saying that one of the worst sub-genres in movies right now is the video game adaptation. Time after time movies based on video games fail miserably. Up until this point, there’s been only one watchable video game movie, Mortal Kombat, and no one can say that was a good movie. Now we have a reboot of a movie franchise based on the reboot of a game franchise: Tomb Raider, a symbol of the PlayStation era of video games. Lara Croft, the first real sex symbol of gaming, already had her shine in the early 2000s when played by Angelina Jolie. This time around, much like the game it’s based on, the latest movie is an origin story, showing us how Lara became the badass she’s known to be.

Photo by Ilzek Kitshoff - © 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 
Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This film stars Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, a reckless young woman who after the disappearance of her father, Richard played by Dominic West (The Wire, The Affair), refuses to accept his death or her inheritance of the Croft corporation. After solving a mystery left by Richard, Lara goes on an adventure to a mysterious Pacific island to find out what happened to her father. While there she encounters Mathias Vogel (Walter Goggins) who is searching for a legendary Japanese tomb with his team of mercenaries. Lara has to face-off with these guys while searching for answers about her father.

One of the standout things about Tomb Raider (2018) is how much it actually looks like the video game. If you’ve played or watched any of the game you question why the movie was made. There is a point where it feels like cliff notes. That, similar to book adaptations, is the problem of trying to condense a story that is way longer—the game is over 10 hours—into two hours. Too much gets left on the cutting room floor. Tomb Raider (2018) isn’t terrible but it’s also not the best movie you’ve seen. It’s right there in the nice middle and a lot of what makes it bearable are the performances by Vikander, West, and Goggins. Even with a basic-as-hell script, that is practically paint by numbers, their performances brought a level of believability to the characters.

© 2017 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights 

All that being said, this movie has a ton of issues, one is that unlike playing a game our hero needs motivation for her actions, and Lara just does things because that’s where the story goes. The only character to have any real reasons why they do anything is our villain, Mathias, who just wants to go home but can’t until he completes the job for his employer. Many of the leaps in logic in the movie can be tempered with the questions: What would this be like with a controller in my hand? Is this where I press the “A” button to not die? It’s a weird mental distraction that only works for fans of the game, but it keeps you from raising your hands in disbelief at the plot.

Tomb Raider (2018) isn’t great cinema, folks, but it is a decent little action movie with a woman hero. Even being average it’s probably the best video game adaptation Hollywood has ever made. Don’t put that much weight on the “greatest” tag since the bar is so low but it is a step in the right direction and that might be a reason to watch it all within itself.

In The End: Alicia Vikander is securing that franchise money after getting that Oscar gold, and you might enjoy it if you liked the 2013 game.

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