Director: Roar Uthag
Writer: Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons, and Evan Doughtery
Runtime: 118 Mins
You may not know this but the original 2001 film 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' starring Angelina Jolie was a financial success. So much so that a sequel was ordered titled 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Cradle of Life.' Both were successful financially, but were raked over the coals by video game fans and film critics alike. Video game fans would state that Angelina Jolie's breasts weren't big enough (lol) and that they were not accurate to the character in the game. Critics would simply state: it's a movie based on a video game - how good can it be? For the time, where the boundary between video games and film wasn't such a grey area as it is today; Lara Croft: Tomb Raider had seemingly did the impossible: translate a video game into a viable movie franchise that actually made sense.
But since then the Tomb Raider brand had lost it's luster. Game sales sagged, plagued no doubt by the films; it became a joke. Lara Croft loved by chauvinistic horny gamers but lauded by women and feminists for over sexualizing the female body. Lara Croft was not the physical embodiment of female empowerment, she was a virtual action pornstar for boys. That is until 2013 when Tomb Raider was re-launched and re-booted into a more action oriented video game framing and re-branding Lara Croft as this powerful renegade woman. Similar to the Naughty Dog produced video game'Uncharted: Drake's Fortune,' Tomb Raider took on another life and successfully re-launched Lara Croft into the mainstream.
However in today's world the lines between video game and movie have become very blurred. The influx of visual effects in films makes them basically a video game. This being because computer effects are usually favored over practical effects. Plus, video game graphics have also caught up to movies with in-game cinematics rivaling some of the films today. With the addition of quicktime events; which is essential pressing a button at an appropriate time to interact with a movie, there is barely a difference anymore.
Tomb Raider is relevant again. What better time to re-launch this re-branded movie franchise then right after the #metoo movement? Tomb Raider now is a lot less tits but a lot more action. Female empowered action. Lara Croft is boxing, biking, kicking and shooting arrows. All of which is well and good but when she is not doing any of that she is a courier? Regardless of this essentially being 'Tomb Raider: Begins' there are moments in the film that are so outlandish that you will find yourself asking: "am I watching a video game?"
As actress Alicia Vikander essentially revamps the character and gives a decent performance, it seemed as if she was doing her best to bring the fierce, especially in her facial expressions. Almost only bringing her most serious 'Van Damme.' Her facial expression didn't seem to change much. Maybe smiling two times throughout the entire film. Some of the emotional stakes are incredibly high and she reacts to them as if she is keeping a cool poker face and doesn't want to blow her hand. Although she needs to seem tough to sell her as tough, she is not entirely feminine; or even human acting to be more specific. In 'Wonder Woman' Gal Gadot brought humor, strength, heart and humanity to her role. She seemed as if she could really exists. Alicia Vikander plays Lara Croft like a video game character: hollow,without warmth or depth. Her performance seems to be made better though because it is aided by Walter Groggins; who as the villain is incredibly menacing and you completely buy that he has gone a bit stir crazy being on this island for so long.
As an action film it is incredibly engaging and is quite the intense ride from start to finish. Lara, despite her circumstances being incredibly unrealistic, serves as a symbol for female empowerment; not quite as well as a 'Wonder Woman' character but more positive role models for fan girls is always a good thing. Using her feminine power of tenacity; you will enjoy watching as she climbs, crawls, and arm-bars her way to victory. A dash of James Bond here and a pinch of a Indiana Jones there, you will enjoy the film even if it does occasionally dip into the ridiculousness pool.