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March 16, 2018

New Tomb Raider Fails To Steal Away The Film Franchise

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Written by: Byron D. Zero
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Video games adaptations do not have a good track record in Hollywood. There is the occasional fluke like Mortal Kombat which is remembered fondly by many a ’90s manchild, but the rest range from “just okay” to “meh” to “so bad it’s good” to “avert your gaze lest ye desire eternal damnation!”

The 2018 movie reboot of Tomb Raider lands somewhere smack dab in the middle of that scale.

Tomb Raider stars Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, who embarks on a perilous journey with the help of sailor Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) to her father’s last-known destination, hoping to solve the mystery of his disappearance.

Anyone who knows me will tell you how much I love video games, and that love of the medium forced me to initially put on rose-colored glasses as I sat through this muddle of mediocrity.

As I watched Tomb Raider, I kept feeling the faint sensation of being underwhelmed for some strange reason. I could only figure it out after re-watching the trailers — the movie was never able to live up to its own hype.

The name of the game here was wasted potential, from setting, to script, to its use of talent.

Walton Googins plays bad guy Boyd Crowder ... err, Mathias Vogel.

Walton Googins plays bad guy Boyd Crowder … err, bad guy Mathias Vogel.

Previews set up Lara Croft to be a more fleshed out version of the character established from the previous incarnations, much like the recent game series did. Unfortunately (to no fault of Vikander’s acting chops), she comes off initially as a spoiled brat with daddy issues, and magically she transitions into a fully developed (no pun intended) protagonist.  

All this is thanks to screenwriters Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons abandoning one part of the three-act structure.

Daniel Wu, one of my favorite modern martial arts actors was amazing, when he was given screen time. I’m grateful that director Roar Uthaug (yes that’s his real name) didn’t turn him into a walking cliché, but he deserved better than being a glorified extra.

And since Miguel Ferrer is no longer alive, they cast Hollywood’s other type-cast bad guy Walton Goggins as rival archaeologist Mathias Vogel, and he was consist in his bad guyness.  

Dominic West was honestly better at playing at dignified researcher Richard Croft than Jon Voigt ever was in the Angelina Jolie movies, but that comes down to personal preference.

Roar Uthaug clearly had no intention of having the movie live up to its title, seeing as how less than 1/3 of it actually took place in a tomb. Because what Tomb Raider was missing — seeminlgy in his mind — was a bike race in the streets of London, or a restauranteur’s son crushing on Lara and having it go absolutely nowhere.

Scenes in the jungle were cool, but felt like pandering that just made me wanna play Rise of The Tomb Raider instead. Fight scenes were cool, if you like the same MMA moves you see in almost every modern movie.

And the music, it was generic.

This movie is on par with Paul Andersen’s Resident Evil Franchise, in showing us how you don’t do a video game movie. It’s not the worst, but it is kinda bad, and I will be jumping ship before this franchise catches momentum.

I give Roar Uthaug’s Tomb Raider (MGM, PG-13, 1hr 58min) a 2 out of 5.



About the Author

Byron D. Zero





 
 

 
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