It ain’t easy being a video game movie. If there’s something the past 35 or so years has taught us, it’s that the interactive world doesn’t translate so well to the scripted one. While movies are often seen as a “definitive” version of content adapted from other mediums, with others, it’s more of an additive deal.
When adapting novels, you’re adding visuals, music, and performances. When adapting comics, you’re adding motion. However, with video games, you’re literally taking away part of the experience and adding nothing (unless you’re adding a completely unique story). Take away the interactivity, and you’re often left with more of a shell of an experience, and it’s because of that that we’re left with subpar adaptations.
But Hollywood keeps trying, and their latest attempt comes in the form of the Alicia Vikander-starring Tomb Raider. Can this be the one to break the video game curse? Sadly, I was unable to make the screening for this particular film, but there are plenty of others across the web who did see it, and the overall response isn’t the greatest.
IndieWire – Kate Erbland
“Familiarity with the Tomb Raider video game series isn’t required when it comes to enjoying the Tomb Raider reboot. By the time it gets gunning on its second act, shrewd audiences should be able to identify not only broad strokes of gameplay, but also whole missions required of Alicia Vikander in her quest to, well, raid tombs and such. Roar Uthaug’s new feature is positively jittery with action sequences, hopscotching from one scene to the next with little connective tissue. That’s okay: When Tomb Raider digs into its more creative action, including a breathless bike race through London and a genuinely queasy shipwreck, it’s about as entertaining as popcorn entertainment gets these days. It’s when the film falls back on the old tropes that things grind to a halt.”
USA Today – Brian Truitt
“Video-game adaptations continue to be the action-movie albatross around Hollywood’s neck, and the most egregious aspect of director Roar Uthaug’s Tomb Raider reboot (★½ out of four; rated PG-13; in theaters nationwide Friday) is that it makes the two earlier (and forgettable) Angelina Jolie films look good. While those at least had a B-movie sheen and owned their campiness, the new effort is too earnest, too belabored and too predictable: It steals liberally from Raiders of the Lost Ark and National Treasure without ever having a vision of its own.”
Los Angeles Times – Justin Chang
“…The makers of the successful 2013 Tomb Raider video-game reboot made a few shrewd course corrections that have carried over to this big-screen, live-action entertainment, giving Lara a less full-figured appearance and replacing her short shorts with trousers.
The tank top stayed, though, and Vikander steps into it — and crucially, into the character’s mythology and emotional backstory — with unsurprising ease. She is allowed to rebuild the character from the inside out, piece by piece. Her Lara Croft is one tough fighter but also vulnerable and untested, an action heroine with little to lose and everything to prove. It’s telling that when deadly circumstances force her to exact her first kill, in self-defense, she reacts not with a satisfied smirk but with a sharp inhalation of breath, as well as an expression somewhere between devastation and disbelief.”
TheWrap – Alonso Duralde
“Such a uniquely interesting character deserves more than a run-of-the-mill action franchise, but Tomb Raider is exactly that, a formulaic adventure so predictable and pre-ordained that it could have been written on one of the many maps the characters use. Nearly 40 years after “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and we’re still getting pits and spikes, spiders and snakes.”
EW – Leah Greenblatt
“The latest big-screen iteration of the blockbuster video game isn’t a film for the ages, but it’s actually pretty good fun; an old-fashioned treasure-island adventure tale gilded in circa-2018 wokeness (Lara Croft’s breasts no longer command a lead supporting role) and anchored by an Oscar-winning actress far more gifted than the story requires. It’s also a vast improvement on the 2001 original starring Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, and a pre-Bond Daniel Craig — which, revisited, has the distinct whiff of late-night ’90s Cinemax: erotic slow-mo shower scenes, hokey digital effects, prancing villains with George Hamilton tans.”
THR – Todd McCarthy
“It’s a new package for old goods in Tomb Raider, a grimly determined by-the-numbers rehash of the same sort of plots and action moves that animated the first two Lara Croft films back in the early 2000s. Brandishing impressively packed abs and enough upper body strength to pull herself out of countless jams, Alicia Vikander gamely steps into the kick-ass role twice played by Angelina Jolie, but the derivative story and cardboard supporting characters are straight out of 1930s movie serials.”
So all in all, it doesn’t sound like Tomb Raider is a bad film, but it does appear to be an aggressively mediocre film, which isn’t really something the medium needs right now.
Will you still be checking it out this weekend? Let us know down below!
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