Lara Croft is back on the silver screen.
Video game adaptations to film have generally been…well, poor. The best attempt to date was the Mortal Kombat movie from the 90’s (do not judge me, I love that movie). Tomb Raider had already been adapted twice with Angelina Jolie in the role. I don’t have particularly fond memories of those films, but they were entertaining enough. The reboot draws more from the newer games by Crystal Dynamics, and takes a grittier approach, and I’m all for that. The movie in general ended up being quite decent, but far from anything amazing.
Alicia Vikander stars as Lara Croft, with this being her first big blockbuster since her Academy Award win two years ago. She carries the film and does a commendable job in the action sequences, and bringing a little class to this otherwise kind of standard action adventure. The only other noteworthy cast members are Dominic West as Lara’s missing father, and Walton Goggins as the main villain of the picture. They are fine, but aren’t good enough to make them truly memorable.
The film is shot quite well, however it had to resort to shaky cam in the action sequences, which is so lazy. I thought we were past that. The movie looks expensive enough. However, there were some green screen shots that were really noticable, and took me out of the scene. The music is excellent, and reminds me why Junkie XL is one of my favourite new composers. On the technical front, the film shines enough that the big screen suits it, but its not a must.
The main issue here is the script. It feels like they didn’t quite know what to do with it. The first 30 minutes of backstory and exposition are pretty boring, and I felt like I was watching some other movie that wasn’t Tomb Raider. The middle portion is better, with some cool action and more advancing plot, but still nothing special. Honestly, I was surprised that the last 30 minutes were actually quite good! The reveals, and setpieces, with some genuinely good dramatic stuff, made the film worthwhile. It felt like a way better screenwriter took over for the ending, and I actually want to see an improved sequel now. Just please get a new creative team, Warner Bros.
If the Jolie films were a knockoff of Indiana Jones, then this is more Uncharted. The grounded nature here as opposed to the silly farce of the originals is definitely a step in the right direction. The ending truly saved this one, and that tone/excitement is what I wanted more of. If you’re a mega fan of the games, definitely check it out. For everyone else, it’s at least worth a rental.