Tomb Raider 3D
Lara Croft (The Danish Girl's Alicia Vikander) travels to a mythical island to uncover the mystery behind her father's disappearance. Yes, based on the video game series of the same name, which has sold over 58 million copies to date.
Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer (Dominic West, TV's The Wire) who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father's global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he's truly gone. Going explicitly against his final wishes, she leaves everything she knows behind in search of her dad's last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. Suddenly, the stakes couldn't be higher for Lara, who, against the odds and armed with only her sharp mind, blind faith and inherently stubborn spirit, must learn to push herself beyond her limits as she journeys into the unknown.
Action, Adventure, 3D, Blockbuster
Rating: M Violence
At some point, Hollywood is going to realise they will never make a successful video game adaptation. This new Tomb Raider might not be the final nail in the coffin, but it definitely won’t zap any new life into the genre.
The problems start from scene one. This iteration of Lara Croft is introduced doing some boxing training, which it turns out she can’t pay for (she has refused her inheritance, Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins-style). Seems like an expensive hobby to take up if you’re broke, but then the film needs her to know how to fight.
So far, so nonsensical, and events proceed in a similar fashion before winding up on an island off Japan, and eventually, a tomb. That should be where things get good, but we’re served up the same type of spiky traps and puzzles that we’ve seen a million times before, while the plot flirts with the supernatural before settling on something much more boring.
It’s an attempt at a more ‘grounded’ Tomb Raider, and to be fair, we’re a long way from Angelina Jolie punching a shark.
And Alicia Vikander can act (although this Lara is, as has become de rigueur for modern blockbuster leads, a bit of a dickhead). In fact, the casting is all great, down to distracting cameos from the likes of Kristen Scott Thomas and Nick Frost.
But why get Walton Goggins as your villain then give him such a milquetoast role? The highlight of the entire film is the few seconds where he taunts Lara with her childhood nickname ‘Sprout’, and we’re given a tantalising glimpse at what Goggins can do when he’s off the leash.
Some dismal attempts at Marvel-style franchise-building are threaded through Tomb Raider leading to its final sequel-threatening moments. It’s endearingly optimistic, but it’s mainly just irritating.
Sydney Morning Herald
Total Film (UK)
New York Times
NZ Herald (Dominic Corry)
Newsroom.co.nz (Darren Bevan)