When the fantasy comic book genre (I know this is a video game) is kind of pushing the boundaries by becoming more story and statements driven, you do tend to expect the bar to rise to a certain extent. The new Tomb Raider starring academy award winning actress Alicia Vikander is far superior to the earlier versions, but still an average creation because of the lack of reinvention.
Lara is a self made woman who decided to give up on the enormous wealth she had. At one point Lara is asked to return to the company and sign on papers as there was no news about her missing father for over 7 years. That meeting to sign the papers gives Lara a picture about where her father went and what was his purpose. The movie Tomb Raider is about Lara’s attempt to go to that place from where her father never came back.
It’s the improvement in terms of visual quality and production design that mainly attracts you here. The last quarter of the movie has certain horror elements, puzzles and action bits which make it look pretty engaging. But if you look at the story, the pattern is quite familiar. Creating a story out of a game character isn’t that easy and not every attempt is a POTC. You know how the villain will behave, you know he won’t believe when someone says something is dangerous and you know that not everyone is dead. For majority of the time you can kind of sense why certain characters are placed, how they will behave etc. and there is hardly a point where you might feel this movie is interesting.
The obvious limitation of making a layered, nuanced, fresh story from a game is quite a task. And that limitation is pretty evident here. On a game play level, solving puzzles, running fast and fighting bad guys are fun. But you need something beyond that in a cinema. Why this movie was a non boring film was because of the action set pieces in which Alicia Vikander was able to shine. Roar Uthaug has tried to keep the proceedings exciting by making the visuals grander and there isn’t much there he can do to elevate the simple flat script.
Alicia Vikander is good as Lara Croft. It’s not just the physically challenging part that makes you appreciate her but also the emotional side. Walton Goggins as the antagonist was a really good choice. Dominic West plays the role of Richard Croft and there is a nice sync between Vikander and West that gives more to the father daughter relationship.
Tomb Raider is popcorn stuff that you can watch without any sort of boredom. Whether it will stay with you after leaving the theater depends on your exposure to this kind of movies. For me it was just a watchable average film.
Tomb Raider is popcorn stuff that you can watch without any sort of boredom.