Tomb Raider Review – Alicia Becomes The Angelina For 2018
Angelina is back. Sorry, I mean Lara Croft is back! Alicia Vikander steps bravely into the iconic role first imagined by Angelina Jolie in 2001 under the directing vision of Simon West. This time round, relatively new director Roar Uthaug takes on the mantle of remaking ‘Tomb Raider’ for the modern audience.
Editors note – Dave here. I should point out, Gray is not a video gamer, so his previous experience of ‘Tomb Raider’ is basically the Angelina Jolie movies…
As someone who sat through the original films in 2001 and 2003, I was eagerly excited whether Uthaug could repair the damage that 2003’s ‘Cradle of Life’ caused. The cinema was full of similarly-aged people who surely were feeling the same, and I think, like the majority of them, we all left a little bit underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong Alicia Vikander was fantastic, Walton Goggins was the perfect archetypal villain and Nick Frost made an excellent cameo that made me chuckle. The main issue was that I saw the twist almost straight away and felt this robbed me of enjoyment as the story progressed.
The story follows Lara, a bike-courier and amateur fighter, who is resisting her heritage as heir to the Croft fortune because she is convinced her exploring father is still alive. After a few guiding words from surrogate carer Ana (Kristin Scott-Thomas), Lara stubbornly decides to go on her own adventure to discover the truth about her father’s quest. The majority of the story then takes place on a remote island off the coast of Japan where Lara goes through a very cliched bad day involving a shipwreck, gunfight, cliff dive, waterfall, wing-walking, plane wreckage, parachute, pigmy goat rampage and assassination attempt (please note not all of these are true…but it wouldn’t have surprised me!) before the audience can finally take a deep breath. The exhaustion of that sequence drained me that I almost lost my focus as Lara completed her journey, made a tough sacrifice and defeated the odds to reveal the twist I’d seen coming since about the 20th minute.
The action sequences were great, and I was really appreciative that Uthaug got it right, he created some excellent set-pieces and I think possibly hit just about the right balance between video-game and film so that it isn’t going to go the way of many before. We may have got to a point in Hollywood now that we believe video games can never really make the successful transition to the big screen following on from the disappointment of Assassins Creed, Hitman and Warcraft before. We, therefore, await eagerly for Spielberg’s alternative approach of Ready Play One to see if there is an approach the many directors before have missed.
Vikander was a good choice for Croft, she stepped brilliantly into the role vacated by Jolie, and stood strong and felt more real as a character (sorry Angelina!). A great ensemble cast of Frost, Goggins, Scott-Thomas, Jacobi and Daniel Wu support Vikander (please read between the lines that I have left one person out…not a fan of this particular performance) and I can already see the sequel in pre-production. If you need 2 hours of not needing to think, or to realise that your day was definitely not as bad as Lara’s then go and see this before ‘Ready Player One’ is released.
‘Tomb Raider’ is in UK cinemas now!
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Gray has been teaching Media and Film studies for 11 years now, and saturates himself in a world of TV and Film. Can most regularly be found with his iPad bingeing on a TV series whenever there is a spare moment between planning and marking. Gray has 3 years of writing experience for exam boards and educational resource companies too.