Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared.
A reboot of the Angelina Jolie ‘Tomb Raider’ films of the early 2000s was not something anyone was really asking for, in large part down to the general record of video game adaptations, but I was intrigued enough by this, mainly through the casting choice of the genuinely great Alicia Vikander in the leading role. The end result is a fairly average film that has its high points, but isn’t anything really worth writing home about, although it does live up to its title as a tomb is most certainly raided at one point! The premise of this film focuses on a young Lara Croft, living in London and struggling to make ends meet whilst lamenting the loss of her father (Dominic West) who went missing seven years ago and is now presumed dead. Upon claiming her inheritance, a key left behind leads her to her father’s office where she discovers his last piece of research before he disappeared, setting her off on a quest to find the remote island he was headed for in his last correspondence.
The quest elements of the film are comfortably the weakest with mythical and supernatural symbolism that never appears as anything other than corny, but I enjoyed many of the elements surrounding this. Vikander is solid in the central role (if a little po-faced) and it’s clear she spent a lot of time getting in shape for the role with her athleticism really selling the action sequences, which I found to be tense, exciting and well put together, particularly the best scene involving a fast moving river and a waterfall. The plot itself is no great shakes, involving a conspiracy, over the top villains (led by Walton Goggins, which was a bonus), and some elements clearly thrown in as a nod to the video game origins of ‘Tomb Raider’, which like many things in video game adaptations, work better as puzzles to solve yourself than to watch on screen. Croft’s journey from little girl out of her depth to action heroine happens with limited development, although I’m willing to overlook that as it avoided an increase in the time spent in the bloated middle part of the film. Despite this, the plot does have a feeling of getting to A to B with minimal thought for the mechanics in between times (fun action sequences aside) and that’s not a great way to keep the audience entertained from start to finish.
‘Tomb Raider’ is a decent enough return to the cinema for the video game franchise with a strong leading lady in Alicia Vikander, although it doesn’t do enough in terms of plot to interest me in a sequel, even if the final scenes are clearly setting that aspect up.
Directed By: Roar Uthaug
Starring: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Hannah John-Kamen, Antonio Aakeel, Derek Jacobi, Jaime Winstone and Nick Frost