‘Tomb Raider’ is a shadow of an adaptation


Tristan Reyes

Tomb Raider is a long-running video game franchise that went through a reboot in recent years. In the first film adaption, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Angelina Jolie portrays the unstoppable gun-wielding action heroine. In the new 2018 Tomb Raider, Alicia Vikander plays the Lara, seen in the 2013 Tomb Raider video game reboot, who has just started her adventures.

After Lara’s father, Richard Croft, went missing on an expedition 10 years ago she gets confronted by her father’s company to accept her inheritance. Before doing so, she finds out that he was looking for the ancient tomb of Himiko, a queen who killed whoever she touched. After looking through the research her father left, she finds coordinates to an island where the tomb is located in and decides to venture off to find him.

Let’s start with Lara. Alicia Vikander does a great job. You can tell that she’s trained hard to do her own stunts, like Lara would do in the games. She does a lot of climbing, jumping, and some small bits of puzzle-solving that hits all of the elements that the Tomb Raider series is known for.

Her training definitely shows in scenes that play homage to the recent games. The scene where she must figure out how to survive being in an old airplane on a waterfall is a great example of this. She has that iron grip and she even uses the parachute to escape, a scene pulled straight out of the game. Instead of her signature two pistols she used in the past games, she dons the bow and arrow she’s known for in the reboot, though her two guns do make a special appearance.

Warner Bros.

One of the first problems with the film is that it takes too long to get the main story moving. I did not need to see any bicycle races for Lara to prove that she’s clever and athletic.

The other characters in the film don’t really do Tomb Raider any Justice. Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) is seriously underplayed. Initially we are introduced to him, he’s unreliable and drunk, but his father took Richard to the island. After Lara shows Lu Ren that she knows where both of their fathers went, he agrees to help her sail to the island. After that, it seems like his character develops way too fast.  After being caught on the island by the evil organization Trinity, he helps Lara escape by basically risking his life and occasionally helps her out by shooting. He also seems experienced in using guns, but that isn’t explained too much.

Walton Goggins is the antagonist film, Mathias Vogel, a member of the evil organization Trinity. He’s initially an interesting and almost insane antagonist who only wants to get Himiko’s body so he can finally go home to his own family. That about it for him. There’s nothing else the film gives us to fear, or even be sympathetic for. It’s almost unusual how normal of a villain he is and the only thing that makes him imposing is hearing that he killed both Laura and Lu Ren’s fathers. We’re more more interested in his organization if anything, and it’s barely explained in the film.

The best part of the film is when Lara enters Himiko’s tomb with Vogel and his goons. Watching all of the traps in action against Vogel’s men and how Lara narrowly escapes death is really fun to watch. For example, watching Lara and Vogel’s men work frantically to find these gems in the wall to stop the floor from falling is both hectic and entertaining to watch even if it’s a bit silly. It’s such a shame that there simply weren’t more traps for her or Vogel to deal with, as I believe those were the best parts of the film.

If you’ve played the games, you will be impressed by how much work the director Roar Uthaug put into the film to make it feel like an authentic video game adaption. In fact, he’s worked closely with Alicia to make it all work and it does seem like they enjoy working in the film. It’s just that Tomb Raider simply glosses by some information that seems crucial in the film. We don’t know too much about Trinity and the ending itself doesn’t make any sense to those who haven’t played the game.

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

3/5 Sails

3 out of 5 sails