Could ‘TOMB RAIDER’ be the best movie based on a video-game?

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Alicia Vikander in TOMB RAIDER. Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures.

Courtney Howard // Film Critic

Turning Lara Croft into a big screen heroine has been a long and winding road. Back in 2001, her first cinematic outing, LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, did fairly well at the box office despite much critical derision. Directed by Simon West, and starring Angelina Jolie (who certainly looked the part), the film made around $131 million – a smidge over its $115 budget. It’s Jan De Bont-directed sequel, 2003’s LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: CRADLE OF LIFE, in essence, sealed the tomb shut as, this time around, it was both a critical and commercial failure ($65.6 gross on a $95 mil budget).

And now, a little under fifteen years later, someone smart has decided it’s time to revive the property in TOMB RAIDER. With an Oscar winner Alicia Vikander in the lead role, and being that we’re now in the era of the “strong female character,” what could go wrong?! I’m putting the farm on the line when I predict, not much. She could be the one to finally give us a good video-game movie – at least, that’s my guess judging by this exhilarating teaser.

Pretty badass, no? I love how it lays out the path simply and directly, already making you feel like this game is worthy of entering. It’s also worth noting that the director’s name is Roar (Uthaug) – and, hello! Doesn’t that just say all you need to know?!

Here’s the official synopsis:

Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. 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. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death. 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. But her mission will not be an easy one; just reaching the island will be extremely treacherous. Suddenly, the stakes couldn’t …

Sure. There were critics who called both WARCRAFT and (Vikander’s real-life boyfriend Michael Fassbender’s) ASSASSIN’S CREED great adaptations (cough, cough. Not I here or here, respectively). However, unlike those two aforementioned films, TOMB RAIDER looks like it boils down all the elements of the thrill of game play into an easily palatable and understood feature.

That said, the poster…well… have a looksie:

This Photoshop gone awry may not inspire the same confidence the trailer does, but that doesn’t mean it should totally be discounted.

TOMB RAIDER opens on March 16, 2018.

About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.

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