Tomb Raider 2018
A big-budget film with a new actress portraying Lara Croft. It has all the elements, some of them superbly done, and yet at the end, when all the dots were connected, the picture it drew was uninteresting, an imitation of a dozen films which have done it before, but better.
Things it did well:
- Introducing Lara Croft, with a back story. It’s like the comic book film that tells the ‘origin’ story of how the superhero chose to become a superhero. The end, one of the best shots in the film, is Lara Croft with her guns which we’ve not seen so far. She’s more like Wonder Woman with a bow and arrow than the Lara Croft of the video games.
- Alicia Vikander is likeable, pretty, toned, athletic, and has a smile behind a lot of the things she does, and manages some emotional scenes really nicely
- The relationship between Lara and someone like her, with a missing father, develops unexpectedly, but never becomes too much of a buddy movie. She’s the star, but having that relationship develop, is nice.
- The shipwreck, the action scenes on the island, the sequences in the rapids headed for a crashed plane at the top of a waterfall, all very well executed.
Things it didn’t do well:
- Create something really interesting, with any sense of feeling unique, for her archaeologist father to investigate. The Mummy films and the King Solomon’s Mines films and any good archaeological or Comic Book film requires a good set up to create something so amazing, it’s worth discovering. It tries to do it by making it something so terrible that it needs to be found and destroyed so that no one else can find it and expose the world to it. It’s a quandary. If you need to find it to destroy it so that bad people don’t find it first, then you risk leading the bad people to it. Not so smart.
- The powerful supernatural entities (from this world or another dimension or another planet) that populate The Avengers films and Transformers films and Batman, Superman, and Underworld films, threatening Earth are becoming more tiresome and less likely to have the original, brilliant kernel, that makes anyone scared about the impending doom just about to rain down on Earth – again.
- Villains, for quite some time, now kill without a second thought while the good guys continue to allow themselves to be dominated by the villain, because villains shoot first and ask questions later, and good guys won’t shoot first when it matters. The entire idea of James Bond for example – in the books – was that James Bond is ruthless. He has a licence to kill. A licence. To kill. When Roger Moore took that mantle, James Bond might as well have retired his double-oh and admitted that he’d secretly joined the boy scouts. Ridiculous.
- The sequences where the tomb raiders get to the thing that they’re all searching for, is so like Raiders of the Lost Ark’s opening sequences and climax that it’s a steal, almost scene by scene. Very disappointing.