Tomb Raider, 2018
Signed up the 28/03/2017
Eversince the Alicia Vikander version of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, came out I've seen a lot of comparisons with archaeology-focused film favourites such as Raiders of the Lost Arch, cult classic (depending on who you ask anyway) Indiana Jones, the original Tomb Raider movies, and even the likes of The Mummy, The Goonies and Stargate. These comparisons aren't without good reason, though. The movie does play on nostalgia by using the same old formula the mentioned movies have long adopted in succession.
We're in year 2018 (just to make it clear to the human being out there who'll be using this very site as a capsule and some sort of digital artifact or puzzle piece to solve whatever mystery they've embarked on), using a template that is exactly the same as ones used in the 80s, 90s and even early 2000s to reboot a film that's already been done and tested is all but becoming. If a studio insists on rebooting supposed beloved films then I'd imagine that they'd at least be focused enough to breathe new life into the reimagined movie, as well smoothen previous rough corners, so that it may at least be worthy.
Roar Uthoag's Tomb Raider is an unfortunate event that can be easily discarded if you're not easily swayed by vintage action-scene flare. Only during action scenes does it redeem itself to some extent, for as long as you forget that we're now a people who have evolved to want more than just blood, gore and some broken bones from a movie. The film does try, though, to embed heart and emotion between its grand action scenes as we get to see a Lara Croft that's more vulnerable than she'd ever been depicted both in previous flames and in the videogames/profile.
Alicia Vikander's Lara Croft sets out into the Pacific island, in search of the cursed tomb of a Japenese shaman queen, Himiko, upon discovering that her archeologist father had been doing research on the forbidden myth. There she discovers that she isn't alone as the are others in pursuit of the same tomb, having deemed it some sort of treasure. This treasure hunt takes a turn for the worst as the pack of excursioners butt heads, which results in a ruinous, physically demanding race to the mysterious tomb.
In the midst of all of this we at least get to witness Vikander shine as a dedicated and believable hero. Unfortunately the supporting characters aren't developed or made interesting enough for us to be emotionally involved. The antagonist, mercenary Mathias Vogel, looks the part but is hardly believable (blame the scriptwriters). All it becomes from the point Lara and the group of bad guys cross paths forth is a race to the finish line; one packed with some pretty convincing and thrilling action, only to be drowned by hollow emotional scenes, which are obviously only there to convince us that the journey has been worthwhile.
The movie-going audiences do like their fair share of epic action, but as I've said, we've evolved as movie watchers since the 80s and 90s, and this film just doesn't know how to adapt to and engage a 2018 audience. In the 1st act we're introduced to a Lara who's broken and yearning her late fathers presence and guidance, we later see a young woman who's gotten closure and is now ready to take on and conquer the world. All this could've held more significance had the script been paced well enough to have had us genuinely connect with Lara as a person. All the intimate moments are brushed over and rushed to get to the gritty and pacy parts, and that's where the disconnect takes place. You end up feeling like you're watching something that was never really meant to be watched unless you had run out of things to watch; like those weird looking DVDs you had at home but never really got to watching because, honestly, what the hell?
Tomb Raider is action-packed alright, so if you're into that kind of thing you're in luck because that's the only part of the movie that's done well. From rusting fighter planes over a hill overlooking a raging river, to the dangerous surroundings of a haunted island, you're set for a visual adventure. For those who seek an overall great, balanced story, watch this movie only when you're out of options, but this is not the one for you.
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