Tomb Raider 2018 Movie Review

Tomb Raider 2018 leaderboard poster
credit: TombRaidermovie.com

Tomb Raider is a decent origins story. We follow into how Lara Croft came to be: from fighting for play to killing for survival. Alicia Vikander did a pretty decent job and she did it with grace all on her own. Alicia Vikander's portrayal of Lara Croft was rather good, contrary to the majority's expectation. The plot will also take you in, it was solid and well-conceived. The movie has its own plot and doesn't take too much from the game that even gamers will be surprised. It's a satisfying film if you watch it with a clear mind.

Disclaimer: This review practically has no spoiler and might be vague for those who haven't played the game.

About two weeks ago, Square Enix had a sale on Steam's Publisher Weekly sale. Out of all games on sale, Tomb Raider (2013 reboot) is the only one that's cheapest with a ton of overly positive review. I thought I'd never be snubbed of what little I'll have to give to avail a very decent and rave-reviewed game. Fine, it's more on the fact that it's one of the few good games that my laptop could handle when it comes to system requirements.

And so, I played for 40 hours because I'm never a good gamer and I hate shooter games. I love stealth (like Assassin's Creed) and I can't quite manage the sophistication of having to press so many keys at once (don't even get me started with the mouse, especially having the need to use the middle button) but Lara Croft has to use everything on her arsenal: a bow, an ice ax, a rifle, and a shotgun. I'm a clumsy gamer so I can't always make Lara Croft opt for stealth and add to the fact that there's no other way for Lara to proceed forward but to keep shooting at the enemies, which she never got to do on the film.
The film feels so short. It runs at 2 hours and 10 minutes and it felt rushed. Of course, 2 hours got nothing on 12 hours of gameplay. There are times on the film that Lara could have salvaged a weapon or two from her enemies but chose a different path instead. In the end, she just grabbed a particular someone's set of bow and arrows which she got to use for a very short time.

Because I just recently played the game, the feeling of immersion in the game feels so fresh. There's one particular sequence in the game that made it on the film which made people around me on the cinema fidget on their seats and verbally express their fear for Lara. I guess it's suffice to say that they got so immersed on the film, too. Even though I already know what's going to happen next, I actually appreciate how much I recognize that sequence on film. It's one of my hated sequences on the game. As uncomfortable it is to watch on the screen, it's so much worse when you have to be the one to navigate it on the game.

Obviously, Tomb Raider 2018 film is adapted from 2013's game reboot. The new Lara Croft has a palpable general makeover: she's skinnier but not as skinny as the new actress to play the role. Alicia Vikander's figure is the sole reason gamers and pseudo fans of the original films got them moaning against. We can all agree that Angelina Jolie was the perfect person with the perfect body (thicker build, thick pouty lips, and boobs) to ever portray the role, but let us not forget that she's also the sole reason Tomb Raider never pushed for a third film and never made it to become a film series empire that it could have been.

Angelina Jolie simply refused to make a third film. Meanwhile, you can never hear Milla Jovovich complaining of reprising her role that made Resident Evil run for a six-film series. Jovovich even started with filming the last film two months after giving birth to her daughter. That's such dedication. Yes, I'm that salty.

Sans Alicia Vikander's body, I got nothing to complain about her. She's good, like a really, really good actress. Like in the rebooted game, Lara Croft is emotional and she never hides it. She's tough but she never acts tough. Alicia Vikander was able to elicit that. Despite the very dark setting, her emotions truly shines on the screen (eyes glassy and all).

There's one thing I would definitely complain about the film, it's so realistically dark. It would have been better if the filmmakers thought of putting the setting on a full moon. But alas, it has to be with just a bit of moon. I think for this part, it would have been better if I watched the film on 3D. It would pay off, I swear. The cave was a different issue though.

In a quest to find her father, Lara Croft finds herself drifting in the Devil's Sea where the island of Yamatai finds her. The film then goes forth with the story of finding the tomb of Himiko, supposedly the first queen of Japan who was relegated to a small island in the Dragon's Triangle. Yes, we get to see Yamatai but not in its full glory like in the game. The film is so time-constrained that you don't get "to explore the island". The plot rather takes on a different path. Instead of going paranormal, it went so scientific. Perhaps, if this reboot gets to become a series, the new series will most likely not touch the paranormal. I like this new take though. It's so tangible in real life.

This saddens me a bit though. I really want to be scared. I thought I was going to see the scary things I'd seen from the game, but instead, not only did the film do a different take, it was so subdued that it was rated PG. It's not as lacking as it felt with Hunger Games though. There are just certain presences that went absent in this film.

I was anticipating for something similar to this:
Tomb Raider 2013 Himiko the Sun Goddess

Needless to say, I wasn't satisfied.

Because there's a new plot, there are new things that you can only see in the film. For one, there's this amazing puzzle. No, not the one to open the entrance to the tomb, it's one of those booby traps inside. I rather like the ingenuity of that one. That just goes to show that there's so much that the creators of Tomb Raider could come up with. Had that been in-game, I wouldn't even bother to think, I'd just scramble (like I did with the underground puzzles in Assassin's Creed III).

While that puzzle to the death was amazing, the journey through the cave was rather short. I expected more. But even with over two hours, there's just so much you could squeeze into. I had to think about the film so much. Was the intro too long? It was not. It felt short too. I get it. Lara Croft simply refused to accept that her father is dead even after seven years. I saw her struggling to get by in life. I saw her grief. You can see the effort the filmmakers did to build upon her story. While her adamant refusal to take over her father's empire felt tacky, it was so funny when she finally did a 180. The audience had a laugh.

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