If you compare Tomb Raider to other movies based on games, not only is this a better film, it’s easier to like and to recommend.
If there’s a video game character that managed to invade the cultural mainstream during the 90’s, that’s definitely Lara Croft. There was a period of time where you couldn’t walk the streets of any major city without seeing the female archaeologist somewhere. Apart from being in the cover of the Tomb Raider games, she was also on magazines, billboards, music videos, action figures and of course, she even got her own movie. It was only a matter of time before it happened, but luckily, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider isn’t the kind of adaptation that makes you want to walk out of the theater to never return. At the same time, the film isn’t going to receive any prestigious awards, but at least, it proved that making a good movie based on game was possible and that’s more than I can say about other films (Wing Commander, I’m looking at you.)
Some brilliant (not to mention recognizable) actors and actresses are part of this super production, including Daniel Craig and of course, Angelina Jolie who plays the role of protagonist Lara Croft. Lara is a young archaeologist who spends most of her time fighting bi-pedal robots, interpreting the hidden message behind ancient artifacts and of course, raiding tombs. Basically, she’s doing everything a real-life archaeologist never does, but let’s ignore that for the time being.
This Tomb Raider adaptation is fast-paced, loud and sexy which means that this film gets the job done. Fans of the classic games interested in watching a live-action film will definitely appreciate the craft and work put into this one. As usual, fan service is taken to an extreme, so apart from the mandatory references to the games, you’ll see Lara taking showers and wearing uncomfortably tight catsuits. Maybe something looser would be much more comfortable for raiding tombs, but then again, that’s just my opinion.
After Lara has an epiphany that comes to her in the form of a dream, she finds a secret room in her mansion with a ticking clock in it. Inside thew clock there’s a mysterious key that’s somehow related to the upcoming eclipse and these series of events will take Lara on a journey across the globe. The story can be confusing at times, since one mythical object leads to another and so on. So it’s hard to keep track of where the film is going with all the objects that have other objects inside them, but even if you don’t know what’s happening, Tomb Raider is always entertaining to watch.
For the most part, Jolie plays her part extremely well, but I never got the feeling that Lara Croft was a convincing character. If anything, I thought she was the quintessential action heroine, so while it’s fun to see her fight dozens of trained soldiers at the same time, the action scenes felt way to predictable. Also, everything that happens to the character feels contrived, such as the fact that she finds a ticking clock in a hidden room one week before the eclipse which gives her ample time to use the key, she falls into the tomb by chance and so on. Unfortunately, Lara isn’t the only stereotyped character, the butler, the IT guy and of course, the antagonist follow specific cliches you’ve seen dozens of times before.
In the end, this is a visually attractive, fast-paced, well acted and entertaining film and while it does have some problems, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is far better than I expected. If you compare Tomb Raider to other movies based on games, not only is this a better film, it’s easier to like and to recommend.