I have been a huge fan of the Tom raider video game series, my personal favorite being Tomb raider the last revelation. When I was a child I used to carry two paper made pistol and pretend like I was Lara Croft. She is the most popular action heroine in the video game world. Then, in 2001 Angelina Jolie stepped into the shoes of Ms Croft. The first movie was a success but the second film garnered more rotten than fresh. Basically the two films were more of a repetition of Lara’s action in the video games.
This time Oscar winner Alicia Vikander gives a whole image of Lara Croft. After her father’s (Dominic West) disappearance in 2011, Lara had been living a very adventurous life with no interest over her inheritance. But fate brings her to hr father’s path and she ends up discovering more of his secrets including a potential disaster which may strike the world.
After her Oscar nab, I knew that Vikander will be given her own platform to exhibit her personality. Brie Larson, who won best actress trophy the same year is cast as “Captain Marvel”. Vikander’s version of Lara Croft is different from Jolie’s version. Jolie’s Lara Croft is more of a wild child, who goes all reckless and adventurous.
She has less security system in her big mansion because she wants things to go all berserk. She is eccentric and sarcastic in her approach. Vikander is more sensitive, vulnerable and at times humane. But she fights it all back with her determination and courage. She knows that the army of automatic guns could finish her but she will do whatever it take to rescue people enslaved by Vogel (Matthias Goggins). At the same time, she is curious and would like solve the puzzles.
I am glad that the filmmakers showed Lara more humane than she is in the video games. Vikander, with her expressive face and flexibility blended well within the person though peripherally she might look bland. Her strength is her weakness backed by determination. She knows how to be merciless with those who showed mercy to her or the vulnerable even if that is not who she is. Lara’s form with bow and arrow with the costume hat is familiar from the games is on point. And we know that the girl would like to run and do that long jumps.
The visual effects are good, the sound effects during the climax scene will put in the room with the characters. The final twist regarding the one who is communicating with Vogel and the legend altogether is presented well. So this will seem less like a video game film due the depth of the characters and story. The camera and editing captured Lara’s moves and persona like we know from the games.
Vogel is shown as a ruthless and merciless person who shoot anyone who falls sick or disobeys him in the head. At the end we know that it is because he is too desperate to go home as he is separated from his two daughters for seven years. He knows that by the time he goes back, they will same as Lara’s age. He can’t afford to give a moment of rest to his workers or show leniency. He has to take the package back, no matter how dangerous it is as it is the only mode of transport that is getting him out. Unlike, stereotypical narcissistic villains who is just ambitious or greedy, it is nice to witness a bit of humanity in him. Lord Richard Croft played by Dominic West is determined. He might seem eccentric but he is just filled with loneliness and grief. His daughter is his priority. Though I was kind of disappointing with how the makers handled his character at the end, after all that was what Lara desperately went for, it is a good way for him to go. Richard Croft has the platform and it is nice to see him have the upper hand. Richard casually tells Vogel “it is not too late to change your mind” to which Vogel further shows his over-confidence. Richard knows what they are in for.
Another major plus point of this film is the lack of male gaze, except at one or two instances. The film captures Lara’s personality more than her sex appeal. It was the major disadvantage in Jolie’s version. Lara’s is more “hot” (with that unnecessary bathing sequence) and the shots where she had to sit or stand such that her boobs were visible enough for the camera. Exhibiting we know that in the games, Lara looked too slim but her breasts were big or visible enough. I guess, filmmakers learned that it is possible to exhibit a character without the need for the same.
Tomb Raider is a very good popcorn flick that you could watch with your friends. So, go for it. If you like Jolie’s Lara Croft then you will love this, unless you miss Angelina Jolie.
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