Not that kind of Croft – Tomb Raider (Blu-Ray review)

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Lara Croft is an adventurer, explorer and can shoot a gun while flying through the air. She’s a shorts wearing, bra busting, cool girl. A video game icon from the 90s who was then brought to the big screen in 2001 after studios thought it was a great idea to adapt computer games into films with a very low success rate. The film spawned a sequel in 2003, which was the critically panned and not enjoyed by the cinema going audience. But with 15 years gone by, the studios brought the icon back into the big screens. What better time with the new game and new character look.

There is a stigma that surrounds the character of Lara Croft. Obviously she is the creation of male fantasies, which is difficult for women to take seriously or respect. Her original outfit, which was made fun of in the new Jumanji film, is inappropriate for the type of adventures/missions she goes on BUT her attitude and spirit is what makes her a character that deserves far more than how she’s represented.

The action adventure genre isn’t always given the kudos it is sometimes owed which why Tomb Raider might have put people off upon its release. But looks (the trailer) can be deceptive. Tomb Raider is a prime example, never to judge a book (film) by its cover (poster/trailer).

Lara is introduced to us as an amateur boxer, courier and broke Londoner, refusing to sign papers that would declare her father dead and gone but also give her access to her fortune. She really could use the money but refuses to believe her father is really gone. But her curiosity is peaked when she is given one of her dad’s puzzles, which holds a clue to his secret life. Like father like daughter, her intrigue and hope to find out what happened to him, she goes off on her adventure. Her continues her father’s journey as she follows his research to an island where Japan’s first queen and evil sorceress was taken and buried. She also encounters a new enemy and meets someone from her past.

The film has action, drama and yes, adventure, but critics at the time of its release criticized the film for not delivering what the genre suggests. This might be due to the film actually having a story rather than a straightforward guns out, punching the bad guy kind of film. The film itself is very much like its legend of Himiko story, things are not what they seem.

There are several aspects to the film that are refreshing and these elements are noticeable until after the film, you think back and realise, the film stands out on its own. Lara is not invincible; she loses a boxing match at the start and really does take a beating later on in the film. She has a friend (Daniel Wu), not a love interest, she makes mistakes, she uses what weapons are around to defend herself and she is dressed appropriately for her mission. Another great element of change was the story, with puzzles and family drama, but a heart and purpose as well. Co-written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet, who is a name to look out for, as she is also part of the writing team on the upcoming ‘Captain Marvel’.

Alicia Vikander also deserves credit for making Lara more human than plastic Angelina Jolie’s version could ever do. Another great element of change was the story, with puzzles and family drama, but a heart and purpose as well. Co-written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet, who is a name to look out for, as she is also part of the writing team on the upcoming ‘Captain Marvel’.

The latest Tomb Raider shows a more mature view at what a video game adaptation can be when you actually give the character purpose and room to become more than 2D.

Dir: Roar Uthaug

Scr: Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Alastair Siddons

Story by: Geneva Robertson-Dworet, Evan Daugherty

Based on: Tomb Raider by Crystal Dynamics

Prd: Graham King

Cast: Alicia Vikander, Daniel Wu, Dominic West, Walton Goggins

DoP: Tom Holkenborg

Music: Alex Greenwald

Country: USA, UK

Year: 2018

Runtime: 118 minutes

Tomb Raider is out on DVD/Blu-ray on 16th July