15
Mar
2018
0
Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Eking out a living as a London cycle courier, Lara Croft lives her life on her own terms. However, tracked down by her late father’s secretary, she is forced to recognise his disappearance and presumable death. Even now an heiress to a huge business empire, Lara still wants no part of his fortune. However when his lawyer imparts a mysterious Japanese box from his estate, this unlocks a vital clue to his disappearance…

More likely to think her way out of tight situations than shoot, Lara is in many ways, a more pro-feminist character than last summer’s ‘Wonder Woman’...

Video game franchises generally don’t make good movies. Confined and constricted by overly simplistic back stories, they suffer the same fate as many comic book adaptations. Caught between their fidelity to their fans and appealing to a wider movie-going audience, neither are served well. Such was the case of director Simon West’s 1990’s ‘Tomb Raider’ with Angelina Jolie. High on bangs and crashes and the physique of its female lead, Lara came across as a gun-blazing wet dream. However, many years later much has changed, both in this movie and the game that inspired it. Gone is the overt sexualisation, the ridiculous bouncing breasts and predisposition to fight. Not beholden to anybody and more likely to think her way out of tight situations than shoot, Lara is in many ways, a much more pro-feminist character than last summer’s ‘Wonder Woman’.

Much of this can be attributed to an engaging script, a well-thought out storyline and some surprisingly sparkly dialogue. New to the role of Lara, actress Alicia Vikander brings a fresh-faced, no nonsense earnestness to her that makes Lara both grounded and relatable. Never presented as a super-woman, Lara is shown as a woman who can fail, who can make mistakes and yet still pick herself out of the mud and the grime. Any on-screen violence here is shown as a last resort, never as a first recourse. As a result, the plot’s action flows well and each scene becomes a key that unlocks the next problem to solve.

Surrounded by talented stalwarts such as Dominic West, Kristin Scott Thomas and Derek Jacobi, this ‘Tomb Raider has a rich seam of acting running through its branches. In particular, the relationship scenes and flash backs between Dominic West and Lara’s character carry a real heft. Their believability quickly erases the more pantomime-like attempts of Angelina Jolie and (real-life) father Jon Voigt in the previous ‘Tomb Raider’ and pushes this movie into a different category where you can enjoy it without previously being a fan of the game or its lead character.

Watching this “Tomb Raider’, it quickly becomes clear that the filmmakers identified at source what didn’t make the first movies work and what they should avoid this time round. With a gravity that never becomes as ponderous as Zak Snyder’s ‘Man of Steel’, this is a movie that is both enjoyable and engaging. Eschewing the maxim that computer games make terrible movies this “Tomb Raider” reboot is an exception to the rule. Neither brazenly brandishing its feminist credentials or the flesh of its lead, the new ‘Tomb Raider’ finds gold in previously ploughed pastures.

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