Rise of an Updated Franchise: Tomb Raider Game vs. Movie

Tomb Raider, Uthaug, 2018

Tomb Raider (reboot) 

Genre: Action-adventure game

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

It has been around twenty years since I first met Lara Croft. One Christmas, Santa brought me a PlayStation with a couple of games, and I was intrigued by the gun-toting bad-ass that was the “Tomb Raider”. Granted, I thought the aim of the game was to hang around in Croft Manor and do my best to avoid the creepy butler, but come on, I was 7.

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Poor Winston!

Fast forward to 2013 when Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix rebooted the franchise – this time, I was ready to play for real!

The reboot well and truly starts at the beginning, which means you get to accompany this younger, more vulnerable Lara through her first mission, her first kill, and, of course, her first tomb.

The visuals in the game are breath-taking and some of the action sequences are so well put together that you will be sat on the edge of your seat, clenching your teeth. But the reason I loved it so much was the story of the Japanese Island of Yamatai and the mysterious Sun Queen, Himiko, so I was very excited to watch the movie based on the game.

BUT…

When I saw who was announced to play Lara (Alicia Vikander), I was a little apprehensive. Don’t get me wrong, I love her! Ex Machina was my favourite film of 2014. I just wasn’t sure if she was the right fit for the very British, very tough character that Lara is.

I’m pleased to say that I was wrong. Alicia Vikander plays the role so well that I can’t imagine anyone else doing it. The emotion she conveys in the first kill scene (which is very similar to the one in the game) is captivating, and she certainly has the physique for all of that climbing.

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She’s ripped!

The film is heavily based on the game, and I think they did a wonderful job of bringing Yamatai to life. They had to lose a lot of the supporting characters from the game and also some of the story, but that is what is bound to happen when you condense a twelve hour game into a two hour movie.

I’ve seen a few reviews online that have slated the film for not having enough action and giving too much attention to Lara’s back story. But personally, I liked the back story. It gave the film more depth than just your typical action film. In fact, the entire thing seemed a lot more rooted in reality than most action films – the fight scenes were plausible and when she fell down or got attacked, she was hurt. Granted, there were a couple of cheesy moments and lines of dialogue that fell flat, but then what can you expect from a movie that is about raiding tombs?

I also want to touch upon how Lara Croft wasn’t sexualised in this film. It reminded me of Wonder Woman in a way, because there wasn’t one scene shot from the male gaze. It gives Lara a chance to be an action hero, instead of just a female action hero. When she has fights with the bad guys, they punch her as hard as they would any man and when she hits back and overpowers them, it looks realistic and plausible because of Vikander’s incredible physique. (Okay, I’ll stop gushing now).

I hope they turn this into a trilogy like they are doing with the game series as I would really like to see more of this Lara. No spoilers, but the ending is left open for a potential sequel so here’s hoping!

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