As I’ve observed before, this blog has transformed from being mostly a review site to a platform for my opinions on a multitude of topics. This week, I’m going back to my roots and will offer you a movie verdict. I saw Tomb Raider last Saturday night, with a friend who was running late. There has been some hype around the film, a reinvention of the original. Both are based on the highly successful video game franchise.
Better than the orig.
My friend said he liked the original enough that he saw the 2003 sequel. He likewise played the video games. Regardless, the 2001 version only got a 20 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes. As one critic put it, everything was wrong with that flick, except the casting of Angelina Jolie. Meanwhile, the current iteration has maintained a 50 percent rating on the site. Though not acclaimed enough to get a fresh rating, mixed reviews are still nicer than 20%.
You could likewise say that the casting of Alicia Vikander was one of the bright spots for the reboot. She was the perfect blend of action star and eye candy…until you realise that she’s hitched. The movie was funny at times, and though fast paced, was easy to follow. Scenes were shot on location in London, and in Cape Town. In this version, Lara brushes off her polarising life in the former in search for her father, who has been missing since she was a kid. Presumed dead, she marshalls every effort in finding him, enlisting the help of Lu Ren, a mysterious boat operator, in seeking the treacherous island where her dad supposedly went AWOL. Pure evil confronts her, as does myths and hazardous conditions. She has to stay alive, and avoid her nemesis, Mr Goggins, in getting to the bottom of this.
More than anything, the movie played like a video game. Being based on the 2013 Tomb Raider creation, the fight scenes, treasure hunt, and choreography seemed contrived. The camera angles, sweeping nature shots, and even some dialogue, had a surreal feel. You half expected a battered Lara to crumble, with the words ‘GAME OVER’ plastered on screen. However, as compared to other recent video game adaptations, this reboot stacks up really well. From Assasin’s creed to Pixels, Tomb Raider has found success where many others have failed. While Tomb fell short of dethroning the juggernaut, Black Panther, for numero uno at the box office, make no mistake: this film is no pushover.
When my chiropractor asked me about Tomb, I told him it was okay. The movie got mixed reviews, but was better than the original with Jolie. Personally, the film wasn’t gonna blow you out of the water, while also not quite being a disappointment. If this were a quiz, Tomb would garner a solid C. While doing some things right, it also has much room for improvement. Hopefully, they would iron out those creases in time for the next sequel, which would become a copy of a copy of a copy. Think Baudrillard’s ‘The Precession of the Simulacrum’; although such is the current state of Hollywood. Everything is a sequel, reboot, or origin story.
Outsmarting the baddies
While the choreography wasn’t its best feature, the film had a decent plot. Tomb is heaps more exciting compared to Maze Runner 3, which I also reviewed on this site. The main thing is the growth in both Lara and Lu Ren. Not only does she mature as a fighter, she likewise grows emotionally in dealing with setbacks, whether big or small. We see her being proficient in utilising the bow and arrow, in decoding symbols, and in manoeuvring giant waterfalls. In addition, Lara gets more help than she imagined. She combines this physicality with her smarts, and together these make her quite the formidable foe. Will she be reunited with her father? Or will the evil Walter Groggins get his hands on the prize? Strap yourselves for one helluva game.
***(Out of 5)