HOLLYWOOD—Not every single thing needs to be adapted to the big screen. And if you’re planning to do another adaptation of a popular video game to the cinematic universe it might be important to do a bit of homework first. Lara Croft, does that name ring a bell to any of you? She is the popular character from the video game series that was first introduced back in 1996. A few years later, Paramount Pictures brought the character to the screen with “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” with Oscar-winner Angelina Jolie in the starring role.
Jolie was a perfect fit for the character; she had the look, the athleticism and the character was so popular it was only a given to make a film version right? That movie wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. I will give it points for its ability to deliver some solid action sequences and a somewhat feasible narrative. Its sequel was slightly better, but no slam-dunk. Fast-forward to 2018, yes it’s been nearly 15 years since we last saw the character on the screen, and we have a reboot of the character, with another Oscar-winner, this time Alicia Vikander in the starring role of Lara Croft for “Tomb Raider.”
While the movie looks interesting don’t be fooled. I’m just going to throw this out there; archeology is not the most exciting thing to study. I took a few classes as an undergraduate and you REALLY have to have a passion for digging, bones and artifacts to be entertained by what you’re doing or studying. This remake continues to go back to where the original film adaptation did: following this slow narrative looking at the bond between Lara (Vikander) and her father Richard (Dominic West). Yes, looking at the bond between father and daughter can be a riveting narrative element in the cinematic world, if there is weight and substance to that relationship.
It’s the common troupe of father disappears, daughter acts reckless as a result, and some life-changing incident transpires that gives a bit of perspective. As a result Lara goes on this journey of self-discovery where she learns a ton of secrets about what her father was secretly doing before his abrupt disappearance from her life. The biggest problem with this subplot is the pure boredom that comes from it. Vikander does an exceptional job as an actress and enthralls herself to become this iconic character; there are some stellar visual sequences, and action sequences.
However, there are these scenes that seem to drag; they are much longer than what they actually need to be and I never thought I would say you can have a drawn out action sequence. I suspect that is ONLY if the action-sequence has no connection to the story at hand. Walton Goggins as Mathias Vogel, a rival archeologist and villain of the flick is laughable. I’ve seen much more interesting work from the actor; take a look at “The Hateful Eight” people!
“Tomb Raider” has all the elements to be a successful adaptation/reboot/remake, but it lacks finesse. Just a bit more tweaking with fleshing out the characters (everyone beyond Lara herself), in addition, to fine-tuning the narrative to implement how it ends to where it should begin would have drawn the spectator in even more. Yes, it’s obvious that the movie is preparing for a sequel, but implementing that slight plot twist at the end somewhere in the second act would have caught my attention a lot sooner. “Tomb Raider” should have been a ton of fun, but unfortunately it’s a remake that isn’t as good as its predecessor and that is saying lot America.