Tomb Raider 2018 is Lara Croft reborn in the guise of the 2013 reboot game, of which I was not a big fan, unlike the 1996 original and a number of its sequels. I seemed to be in a small number when it came to that reboot, however. As for this film, and given that the Angelina Jolie movies were passable at best, this was clearly one of the movies I was least looking forward to, this year.
Alicia Vikander is the best thing about this, as she looks tanned and well-toned, jumping about, falling onto rocks and into CGI water, all of which comes after a so-so opener as she takes the lead in an overly-dangerous bike chase before heading over to Hong Kong after learning there’s more to Daddy than meets the eye, and certainly from what she can remember in her two flashback scenes to when she was a youngster.
Yes, she starts reading his diary, which begins on May 27th, 2009, yet I was first thinking that when we see her in flashback with Daddy (Dominic West) around age 7, Alicia clearly looks a lot older than 16… if only 9 years have passed in that time. Okay, later, we see a flashback of Lara at 14, but even then, I was thinking 23 seems too young for Alicia, and I was originally figuring Lara was 32, as 25 years would make a milestone number, but no… and as it turns out, Alicia Vikander is currently 29 years old.
Daddy is missing, presumed dead, so there’s a large inheritance to be claimed, but she’s refused to partake of it until now and would rather stay broke – which is ridiculous in this day and age. Good job she does capitulate in the end, though, since that leads her to a discovery with all of his research on some mysterious being known as Himiko. There’s a discovery for us viewers, too, since the graveyard highlights her mother as being alive from 1964 to 1996… the latter being the year in which the first Tomb Raider game was released.
Of course, the biggest discovery must be the battery powering the camcorder she finds, since it’s not been used in nine years and STILL has a full charge on it!
And surely the biggest mystery must be… if he really *has* gone missing, how did all his Himiko research get back home?!
Anyhoo, does Lara pack up and go home, or complete her father’s quest to discover what Himiko was all about? It would be a VERY short film if she did the former, wouldn’t it?
Tomb Raider 2018 falls down in so many ways. The usually engaging Walton Goggins makes for one of the worst baddies ever as Mathias Vogel. Lara is 23, Vogel must be pushing 50, and even *I* could’ve overpowered him and done him away with the moment I first clapped eyes on him, and she has AT LEAST three chances to easily take him out (see spoiler section below), and once he’s dispatched, all the henchmen (none of whom actually have a name to their characters) would certainly just naff off home.
This film also suffers because it plays out like a female Indiana Jones movie but without any humour. Dear Hollywood, when you make an action film for the family, MAKE IT FUNNY! There’s a brief idea when she’s accompanied by a guy called Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), but when they’re in Vogel’s camp and looking to escape, and get separated, he’s all for staying and waiting for her with “I’m not leaving Lara behind!!”… despite the fact that out of everyone on the entire planet, she is top of the list at looking after herself!
It’s also achingly formulaic and predictable to the last. Ms Vikander certainly makes a good action heroine, but this movie is just going through the motions from start to finish, serving up a handful of substandard action scenes which you’ve seen many times before in other films and in this big-screen experience, there’s zero sense of peril for every main character. There is NOTHING original, here, even when discounting its links to the titular videogame franchise.
There’s plenty of lazy writing, meaning the best catchphrase they can give her is “I’m not that kind of Croft” when people misjudge her character’s resilience.
Now a number of reasons why this film was predictable, and there will be a few spoilers, hence the spoiler header:
And there’s a not-quite-mid-credits scene, as clearly, Warner Bros chickened out of doing this, but crammed it just after the title appears at the end of the movie:
Given that this is a 12-certificate, no-one can say the f-word multiple times, plus it’s a family film, so any swears are commuted to a handful of PG-certificate non-confrontational mutterings like being asked something obvious, to which the reply comes, “No poop”, I mean… yes, you know. However, there are two brief attempts at an f-word – one involving the police and another on a boat – where she starts to say the word and then is stopped in her tracks, or the camera cuts away.
Rather like Now You See Me 2, it’s one of those films that just washed over me, unimpressed. I came, I saw, I was underwhelmed.
At least Peter Rabbit is bound to be a worse film than this.
So, will we get a sequel? Well, the film cost $94m to make and in its opening weekend in the US, it took… $28m. Worldwide, it’s amassed $100m so far, but Warner Bros will have been looking for Wonder Woman-style numbers, which eclipsed $100m in the US in its first weekend. Unless Tomb Raider improves, there will be no sequel, and it has strong competition over the next few weeks with Pacific Rim: Uprising, Ready Player One and Rampage.
So, am I looking forward to a sequel? Well, Lara gives me thoughts in the video below…
Also available is the Soundtrack CD.
Running time: 118 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros
Format: 2.35:1 (Dolby Vision)
Released: March 16th 2018
Director: Roar Uthaug
Producer: Graham King
Screenplay: Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons (based on a story by Evan Daugherty and Geneva Robertson-Dworet)
Music: Junkie XL (as Tom Holkenborg)
Lara Croft: Alicia Vikander
Lord Richard Croft: Dominic West
Mathias Vogel: Walton Goggins
Lu Ren: Daniel Wu
Ana Miller: Kristin Scott Thomas
Mr. Yaffe: Derek Jacobi
Lieutenant: Alexandre Willaume
Mercenary: Tamer Burjaq
Mercenary: Adrian Collins
Mercenary: Keenan Arrison
Mercenary: Andrian Mazive
Mercenary: Milton Schorr
Sophie: Hannah John-Kamen
Taxi Driver: Peter Waison
Chinese Kid: Samuel Mak
Young Lara (7 years old): Maisy De Freitas
Young Lara (14 years old): Emily Carey
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.