Release: 16th July 2018
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
After a violent storm wrecks their ship, Lara finds herself on the mythical island where she becomes embroiled in a fight against archaeologist Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins), who has taken over the island along with members of the shadowy organisation Trinity as they also investigate the legend of Himiko, but with more sinister intentions in mind to harness her great power…
It is no great secret that most video game to film adaptations suck the big one. Whether you are watching something boring (Hitman, Assassin’s Creed, Warcraft), something crappy (Rampage, Street Fighter, Silent Hill), or whatever Mario Brothers was. Unless you are Uwe Boll, everyone seems to accept that films of games just don’t work. Resident Evil and Tomb Raider, however, do not seem to be afflicted by this fact. The former because it is its own beast of ludicrous addictive popcorn fodder, and the latter because aside from a few kitschy odes to his origins, this Alicia Vikander vehicle seems intent of following the path of being a film rather than a game. Albeit a vanilla one.
Based predominantly on the 2013 Playstation 4 reboot, Tomb Raider is a down and dirty origin movie that plonks Lara, battered and unarmed, in the jungles of a mysterious island. And, like the game, this is a film less about the raiding of tombs, and more about the snapping of necks, the shooting of baddies and the verbalization of pain. There is a bit of folk law at the film’s centre, and to its credit, act 3 mostly explores this, but there is no denying that Roar Uthaug’s heart is set on taking names and kicking ass.
Surprisingly, for a film besieged with set pieces there is little tension or adrenaline. An early doors bike chase through London makes promise of realistic and edgy action, but by the time Lara greenscreens her way through a plane wreck sequence noticeably inferior to that of the game, Tomb Raider becomes an oddly anesthetized experience. Which is a shame, because the film looks b-e-a-utiful in 4K. You can practically smell the jungle mist, and the sound design makes you beg for more adventure laden escapades. The acting isn’t bad, and nothing truly insults the intelligence of the viewer, but here is a film that just doesn’t have any teeth. Vikaner’s Lara is, dare I say, clearly the definitive onscreen version; with Angelina Jolie’s sexed up tomboy befitting a truly dated, and naff early noughties outing. Yet somehow, she grunts and screams more than she demonstrates any of the sass or acumen that made the character so much fun to begin with. There is still hope though, as a closing sequence baits more to come, and this time there is at least a decent model to build upon. And with no signs of her computer game career slowing, here is hoping that the cinematic Lara Croft has finally found her footing too.
Film Grade: C
A few Making Ofs are split in to a few small chunks. There is Tomb Raider: Uncovered which glosses over the entire production process, Croft Training which is designed to make you hungry and tired (being an action hero is no fun), then Breaking Down The Rapids which goes no way to explaining why the scene looks so awful, and Lara: Evolution of An Icon. A rather self-explanatory and fun little EPK.
Special Features Grade: C-
It won’t change your mind about computer game films, but it might go same way to offering hope. Get it in 4K if you can.