Director: Roar Uthaug
Some several years after her Father’s disappearance on a quest, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) still refuses to accept that her Father is dead and will not accept her vast inheritance. Working as a courier is failing to pay her bills and she reluctantly has to accept what is coming to her. Whilst signing to accept her Father’s last will and testament she uncovers a clue as to his fate and embarks upon a mission to solve the mystery surrounding his disappearance. This leads her to an uninhabited island off the coast of Japan in treacherous waters but she is not the only party interested in what lies on the island and faces a race to reach the tomb of the First Queen of Japan who, myth says, was laid to rest there having ruled using black magic throughout her reign.
When I heard Alicia Vikander was lined up to play the Lara Croft I thought this was a good choice. She certainly looks the part in line with the more recent versions of the video game. I was pleased she didn’t force the English accent the way Angelina Jolie in her two outings as Croft. It gave you impression she was taking the role a bit more seriously than Jolie did. She also strikes me as a good actress who can get into the action role. It’s worth remembering that this is more of an origins movie than the earlier movies and, as such, she doesn’t start out as the all-conquering action hero, quite the opposite. Vikander does a decent job of Lara’s journey but in fairness the story really isn’t good enough so it feels like her efforts were somewhat in vain. She also doesn’t have much in the way of decent support. I’ve never really been a fan of Dominic West and he hasn’t changed my opinions here. In his defence, the script is not great and he repeatedly has to refer to his daughter as “Sprout” and this gets very tired, very quickly. He just came off as wooden and unremarkable. As the chief bad guy, Walton Goggins character Mathias Vogel completely fails to stir any feelings of antipathy from the viewer towards him. It may again be as a result of poor writing that this character came across as instantly forgettable. He just lacked any charisma and didn’t give you any reason to consider him a real threat to Lara Croft.
Overall, this incarnation of Tomb Raider left me feeling like it was neither better nor worse than Jolie’s efforts which are scarily getting on for being twenty years old. Video game transitions to big screen rarely translate well but to be fair you play the game yourself whereas you have no control of what happens in the movie which will always seem frustrating. Visually, you have to say that it looks very much like a Tomb Raider movie should look but behind that a weak story doesn’t keep the pieces moving with any great interest. There’s a brief moment after about eighty minutes where things pick up a little but outside of that the film doesn’t really excite or thrill. If they decide to do more I recommend they need to review their story writing and script teams very closely to try to get something that pulls the viewer into Lara Croft’s world.
The Verdict: 2.5/5 Stars – The tomb felt a little empty