If we were to discuss “video game” adaptations for the big screen, I believe the general consensus is that Hollywood just can’t get it right. Maybe, it’s because when we immerse ourselves into a game, like Tomb Raider, we spend countless hours, days even, with the main character and build a connection that the third-person viewing aspects of the theater just can’t grasp.
That being said, the newly released Tomb Raider film makes a valiant effort to bring the franchise’s tenth title and 2013 Game of the Year to life, but sadly will end up atop the pile of B-rate flicks to watch when it hits your preferred streaming platform.
The story itself is picked apart and put back together for what I can only assume was supposed to be more “realistic”. This isn’t a huge problem, until we get to character development. Without any spoilers, a true Lara Croft fan will enjoy Alicia Vikander’s performance but will be downright pissed off when you are provided the expositional narrative of her life before embarking on her journey to Yamatai, the island on which her origin story takes place.
Once the island is reached in the film, the action sequences are pretty badass, and this is where the video game nostalgia will hit home. This is where I found most of my enjoyment, as they re-enacted key points in the gameplay, such as solving puzzles to save their lives and pulling off impossible leaps and bounds to escape mortal danger.
What disappointed me the most, besides character development, was the choice of setting. The island of Yamatai is supposed to be in the middle of the most treacherous part of ocean off the coast Japan, the Dragon’s Triangle. It is a place that’s nearly impossible to reach and even harder to leave, but once they arrive after being shipwrecked in a storm that fits that narrative, the rest of the film looks as if they are on a tropical island where at any moment some dude in a Hawaiian shirt is going to present himself and offer up a mai-tai. With bright hues of yellow always washing out the scenery, it really diminished the quality of work and made it obvious that it was a film set.
So, if you take the good with the bad and understand that film adaptions of our beloved video games will just never get it 100% right, it will ease the pain of knowing this is only the first of what I can assume will be a trilogy with the ending cliffhanger showing no signs of progress in the right direction.