Tomb Raider – Film Review by Katie McCann
Director: Roar Uthaug
Writers: Geneva Robertson-Dworet (screenplay by), Alastair Siddons (screenplay by)
Stars: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins
For a lot of people Lara Croft needs no introduction. The female hero of the hugely successful Tomb Raider franchise has had her fair share of screen time. With two movie adaptations starring Angelina Jolie and sixteen games so far, it’s fair to say that she is something of an icon. So why bring her back to the big screen? What new angle could this character possibly offer a film going audience that they haven’t seen already?
In the previous adaptations the character of Lara has been overwhelmingly two dimensional. Aside from her dual revolvers and overtly sexualised persona the character didn’t have an awful lot going on internally. Questions like “why did she choose to devote her life to raiding tombs?” or “how did she develop such a unique set of Bond like skills that enabled her to raid said tombs so effectively?” were unimportant. It wasn’t until the release of the hugely popular 2013 version of the game that Lara was finally given a back story and, more importantly, the emotional arc she deserved. How she became such a badass bitch was finally the focus of the games plot and it is this version of Lara that lies at the heart of Roar Uthaug’s Tomb Raider.
The plot follows Lara (Alicia Vikander) as she is trying to cope with the disappearance of her father, Richard Croft (played excellently by Dominic West), as well as her own personal struggles to find meaning in her life. After uncovering her father’s secret office, she sets out on a mission to discover what really happened to him on the lost island of Yamatai. Here is where Lara begins her adventure to become the legendary Tomb Raider we know and love.
What really sets this Tomb Raider apart as “not another failed video game adaptation” is the casting of Alicia Vikander as Lara. Vikander is a fantastic actress and the ideal new age action hero. She perfectly captures the struggles that Lara faces both emotionally and physically (with some very impressive upper body strength to boot). Most importantly she doesn’t act like she is in a video game. Vikander plays the part with real integrity and heart, having you rooting for her every second of the way. Though the plot has a few holes here and there and they could have toned down a lot of the overly used CGI the film holds its own and sets a new standard for video game adaptations.
Tomb Raider is a wonderfully entertaining treat for long-time fans of the game as well as those who have never turned on a console in their lives. A balls to the wall, thrill filled action movie with one very welcomed exception; that of a female lead who holds her own in this male dominated genre and rightfully earns our admiration. Lara Croft has once again taken her place at the heart of pop culture and long may she stay.