Tomb Raider

A Film Review by Joseph Waukechontomb raider movie poster

Based on the, "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” video games, this film follows Croft, the fierce English daughter of a renowned explorer whose work leads her on a quest to the place where he disappeared. Directed by Roar Uthaug, starring Alicia Vikander, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu and Dominic West, the film’s primary setting is a mysterious island infested with an apocalyptic relic, a shadowy organization trying to obtain it, and the adventure of a lifetime.

I went into this film knowing nothing about the source material, and I’m happy to report this film manages to engage and entertain newcomers. Even though the idea of an island mystery-action adventure is nothing new, the first few minutes indicate that it is indeed a fresh new take on a very worn genre.  Lara Croft’s character, and the tone of the movie itself, feels very much like a reinvention to appeal to today’s sensibilities without being obvious or preachy. I especially enjoyed the new feel to very old video game clichés such as rolling boulders, spikes from the floor and other fare.

There is also a twist I especially appreciated at the end. While I won’t give it away, the film pretends to take on the air of “Magic is real! Science is for weird people,” and flips that ideology very quickly. In an age where conspiracy theories and “alternative facts” have infected the masses, I think the film deserves a pat on the back for that relevant inclusion.

While there is nothing wrong with the film, one flaw is its semi-predictability. It noticeably attempts to be a breath of fresh air in a genre we’re all but rolling our eyes at, but unlike the superhero genre, perhaps there is no room for it to evolve. I read a review in which someone described the plot as “Paint-by-the-numbers,” which unfortunately is rather apt.  The film has great fun in entertaining us in the short term but tends to meander in plot.

A few miscellaneous things I enjoyed were the highly cinematic score and original music, Alicia Vikanders’ performance, and Goggins’ unsettling and sympathetic villain who belongs to an archetype all his own.

Overall, this film is far from flawless, but still manages to hold its own in a spring season of blockbuster hits.  Subtly progressive and full of top-notch acting, let’s hope Lara Croft hasn’t raided her last tomb quite yet.

Joseph Waukechon is a Menominee and Chippewa college student, who’s officially enrolled in the Chippewa Tribe. He has always had a deep and laughably emotional love for film.  He enjoys celebrating and rejecting them, but always giving credit where credit is due.