Tomb Raider Film Review
Well… Here it is folks. The long awaited and much anticipated Tomb Raider reboot. Now with Alicia Vikander in the role of Lara Croft, the latest film version of the acclaimed game is different to say the least.
And order not to seem uneducated and half baked in my reviews, last night I actually started playing the most recent Tomb Raider video game. Courtesy of my bae, I actually enjoyed playing it. Even much more than I anticipated, to be quite frank. But I digress. Back to the topic at hand.
The Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander is the much younger, inexperienced bike messenger turned explorer Lara. She’s an heiress to a vast fortune but refuses to touch even a cent from it, because that would mean that she will have to admit her father Richard Croft (Dominic West) is dead, and not just missing. She then heads out to Hong Kong to look for the drunken but experienced ship captain Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) and they both set sails to the island of Yamatai in the Devil’s Sea. You know… To try and find her father at his last known destination. What will find there will be more frightening than Walton Goggins’s Mathias Vogel character, but I’m going to get to that later.
I can see the effort to stay true to the game in this movie. I really can. Both in term of casting of the lead heroine, and the mystical themes in the subplot, but also in the setting. Oh and we have a younger and „poorer“ Lara who works as a bike messenger to make ends meet, but one thing bugged me about this particular character. How scared and very much different this Lara is. Let me explain. I’m perfectly aware that this is a reboot and a movie with an origin story built in, but there is not that much of a hint of that courageous, bad ass, sassy Lara that I saw in the previous 2 films (with Angelina Jolie) and even in the video game.
First of all…. Yes… Alicia is very decent in this role, but i had problems with the role itself. With Lara. She will forfeit a boxing game in the opening scene, just to avoid being choked to death by her opponent (who is also a woman). Secondly… When she arrives in Hong Kong, not only will she be mugged and threatened at a knife point, here response to that will be to run and ask for help. Run. Seriously? Run? I expected a much more finesse in expressing her resourceful and feisty side of her character, but no…
Although the first half of the movie is a little bid subdued and calm (as opposed to the second, more action filled half) traces of generic, bland and uninspiring supporting characters can be found from the start until the very end of the movie. Where do I even begin? Daniel Wu is presumably just put in a Asian supporting character just because the Chinese market demands it, but he deserved so much better than Lu Ren. He’s actually very charismatic and talented, but was given a boring character that virtually does nothing every time he’s on screen.
Kristin Scott Thomas is there for 2-3 scenes and was given a hint of a tease for the possible development of her character (in the potential sequel), while Walter Gogins is the most basic, generic and boring villain I’ve seen in a loooooong time. He’s a mercenary who is on the island for 7 years now, and is in a rush to go home.
And that’s pretty much it. Very little is known about him, other than he is employed by the Trinity. Yes he’s a little menacing with his gun, there is nothing scary of fascinating in him if you take it away from him. Gogins gives his best to be convincing, but there is very little material to work with, even for an actor like him.
Which leads me Dominic West and his likewise boring sappy character Richard Croft. Spoiler. Unlike in the Jolie films, here he’s alive and cuckoo for cocoa puffs on the island. He’s there to protect the world from destruction in the eventual case of Himiko’s wrath unleashing, but like the rest of them.. he’s boring and generic as well.
Such a shame. Tomb Raider deserved a whole lot better. There was potential to be found in this movie, and the intentions were decent to say the least… But that all fades away very quickly, and what you’re left is watchable but very uninspiring film adaptation.