Believe it or Not, ‘Tomb Raider’ is *GASP* a Good Video Game Movie

VANAPHASE™ the Vanadium powerhouse!

Tomb Raider

There’s nothing in cinema as cursed as the video game movie. Many have tried and many have failed to adapt video games into movies in a variety of ways. Some have been incredibly faithful to the source material while others have diverged greatly, and yet nobody seems to have found that magic formula that works for movie-going audiences. Amazingly, it seems as if somebody has found a way to break the curse. It simply involved a lengthy journey into an ancient tomb and lifting the cursed spirits that have hovered over the subgenre for decades. Director Roar Uthaug has done the impossible and made a good video game movie with Tomb Raider. Based on the classic video game that was previously adapted with Angelina Jolie as the star, Tomb Raider sees Alicia Vikander stepping into the role of Lara Croft and bringing the character to life in a fun adventure story that may very well lay the foundation for a long-lasting action franchise.

As much as I did enjoy Tomb Raider, the first 20 or so minutes of the film are kind of rough. Lara Croft (Vikander) trains in MMA and works as a bike messenger in London. She’s haunted by the memories of her father (Dominic West), and there are plenty of flashback announcing that she has long-standing daddy issues. With an MMA fight and a bike race, Roar Uthaug struggles with the action in these early scenes, chaotic editing and camera movements leading to a few visually bewildering sequences. Part of Lara Croft’s daddy issues involve a refusal to believe that he’s dead and thus refusing a sizable inheritance of his expansive estate and vast corporate holdings despite the pleading of her father’s former assistant Ana Miller (Kristen Scott Thomas). When Lara discovers a clue as to where her father went missing, she dedicates herself to tracking down his last known location.

Tomb Raider really springs to life once Lara Croft pawns a valuable pennant at a pawn shop operated by Nick Frost in a highly entertaining one-scene role. With the proceeds, Lara travels to Hong Kong where retracing her father’s footsteps takes her to the port where Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) lives on docked his boat. Years earlier, Lu’s grandfather and Lara’s father took the ill-fated journey to a mysterious island where an ancient evil is believed to be buried. Lu is low on cash and high in blood alcohol level, a reluctant sidekick who joins the journey when the price is right. The journey to the mythical island of Yamatai is filled with wild waters, splashing and turning our two heroes about before they find themselves washed ashore.

On the island, Lara discovers a massive operation excavating chunks of the island in search of the grave of Queen Himiko, known as the Mother of Death. Leading that operation is Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), who has been stranded on the island for years in search of Himiko’s tomb and is desperate to find it so he can return home to his family. The mythical elements of Himiko’s story don’t captivate Vogel. He simply wants to finish his job and go home. While Lara’s arrival may bring clues that guide him closer to his goal, she’s one tough cookie who is certainly going to complicate matters.

Having proven his action chops on the Norwegian disaster film The Wave a few years ago, Roar Uthaug makes the leap to American blockbusters and delivers a solid action-adventure story that is true to the character’s video game roots while not bogging down the film with a lavish devotion to 20 years of ever-changing mythology. At first Lara is a very one-dimensional character who is driven mainly by her daddy issues, but the script Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons (from a story by Evan Daugherty and Robertson-Dworet) quickly makes the character much more complex than the surface level emotional neediness caused by an absentee father. Once the film finds its footing, this incarnation of Lara Croft becomes a strong, independent hero capable of using brains or brawn to get out of any situation.

The creative team behind Tomb Raider really put Lara Croft in a mess load of unenviable situations, and an incredibly fit and determined Alicia Vikander rolls with the punches. Lara Croft is an immensely physical role but the set pieces of Tomb Raider really raise the stakes for its leading lady, making her run, climb, fight, and swim in various action sequences throughout the film. It’s really in the final set piece that Tomb Raider proves that it’s carrying the goods. (The following is not a spoiler because look at the title!) Lara and company finally enter the tomb of Himiko and the film becomes a chamber of horrors and puzzles for Lara to solve, all the while Roar Uthaug shows off his chops with numerous suspenseful moments cut with sardonic humor as the director channels elements of Raiders of the Lost Ark without lifting directly from the classic adventure. Tomb Raider does take its self seriously for the most part, but never to the point where anyone involved forgot that this movie is supposed to be fun and it’s most certainly that.

After over a quarter century of failures, Roar Uthaug has delivered the first movie based on a video game that is actually good. Don’t get me wrong, Tomb Raider isn’t great but it knows what it is and plays to its strengths more often than not. Alicia Vikander brings some wit and charm to the character of Lara Croft while simultaneously displaying an amazing level of physicality to her role. As that extra bit of flavoring, Walton Goggins savors the role of the film’s villain and keeps the film lively and fun. The adaptation of video games into movies still has a long way to go, but Tomb Raider is the first time there is a definite step in the right direction, a movie that moves with action and humor that doesn’t waste its star power. It took years of digging, but Lara Croft finally was able to break this curse.

YogaOutlet.com

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald Trailer
The Wizarding World Expands Further in the ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald’ Trailer

You can’t blame Warner Brothers for wanting to keep the Harry...

Godzilla: King of the Monsters Trailer
Hail to the King, Baby! The ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ Trailer is Unleashed

Warner Brothers had a big day in San Diego today with...

Shazam! Trailer
‘Shazam!’ Looks to Flip the Superhero Genre on its Head with its First Teaser

Say his name. Shazam! In what looks to be a superhero...

Event News Event Reviews
Blizzard SDCC 2018
Blizzard SDCC 2018 – Blizzard Entertainment Brings Massive Lineup to SDCC

Blizzard in SDCC 2018 – Blizzard Entertainment brings Overwatch, StarCraft, and...

Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018
Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018 – Nuclear Blast Teams Up with JSR and Stern Pinball

Nuclear Blast SDCC 2018 – Nuclear Blast Teams Up with JSR...

Anime expo 2018
Anime Expo 2018 Brings the Heat to Los Angeles

Last year, I picked on Anime Expo not being worth the...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
klab
Exclusive Interview with Mark Mowbray of KLab

Established in 2000, KLab‘s goal is to create a world of excitement...

Jurassic Park: The Chaos Gene
Mondo Games Unleashes Jurassic Park: The Chaos Gene Board Game

MONDO GAMES unleashes Jurassic Park: The Chaos Gene board game for 25th Anniversary...

Great Coffee Break
Escape Work By Playing The Great Coffee Break

You can escape work, in more ways than one, by playing The...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic Novel
Dark Horse Disney Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic Novel Revealed

Dark Horse reveals new original Disney Ralph Breaks the Internet Graphic...

black torch
Black Torch – New Supernatural, Action Manga from Viz Media

VIZ Media releases a new, supernatural story with the release of...

Batman / The Maxx: Arkham Dreams
Sam Kieth Makes Long-Awaited Return to The Outback in Batman / The Maxx: Arkham Dreams

SAN DIEGO, CA and BURBANK, CA (June 21, 2018) – Batman...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
anime pls
Anime Pls by Bioworld – Exclusive Interview

Bioworld Merchandising is a pop culture product expert. The company is considered...

heaven's feel
Fate/stay night [Heaven’s Feel] THE MOVIE I. presage flower Blu-ray Release

TLDR Aniplex of America announced that box office hit, Fate/stay night ...

EVEN H2
Few Even Come Close – EVEN H2 Headphones Review

Even headphones are like having prescription glasses, but for your ears...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
NJPW G1 Special from San Francisco Results

New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) the King of Sports returns to...

Jeanie Buss & MGM TV Tags AXS TV to Broadcast WOW-Women of Wrestling Events

Jeanie Buss and MGM Television Tags AXS TV to Broadcast WOW-Women...

Kevin Belington Faces Martin Nguyen for the ONE FC Interim Bantamweight Title

From ONE FC – 07 June 2018 – Manila, Philippines: The...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Harlan Ellison: A tribute (of sorts)

For the longest time in my life I was afraid of...

Iron Fist Racist
Is Marvel Iron Fist Racist? Part 2- Yeah…

After the casting controversy, two shows, and a guest appearance in Marvel...

Cultural Junkdrawer – Season’s end: The Flash season 4

CULTURAL JUNKDRAWER   SEASON’S END     THE FLASH Season 4...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming. Related

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack
Blake Neely Behind-the-Scenes Recording of Crisis on Earth-X Soundtrack

Check out this exclusive Behind-The-Scenes video with Blake Neely as he...

Rising Country Music Artist Kaylin Roberson Talks About her work with St. Jude

Kaylin Roberson is a singer, songwriter and pianist from Raleigh, North...

MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

%d bloggers like this: