Alicia Vikander Dominic West Walton Goggins Daniel Yu Kristin Scott Thomas Derek Jacobi
This Tomb Raider movie is based on a videogame series, which it tries to emulate and serve as a kind of prequel to the 2001/2003 Tomb Raider series starring Angelina Jolie. Here, we get a few scenes of Lara’s (Vikander) childhood with her father (West), in which he is teaching her things about life she should know and saying goodbye as he takes off on an adventure. Years go by; it appears he is not returning, and Lara has become a risk-taking bicycle courier and aspiring boxer (which she is not very good at).
Multiple times when she is asked to sign documents related to her father’s company, she shows little interest, but when shown a puzzle cylinder left to her by her father, she is fascinated. She easily solves the puzzle and finds a message from him. That sets her off on a daring journey (she is her father’s child) that will take her to faraway exotic locations in an attempt to continue her father’s life-long odyssey.
The film does have the look of a video game made into a movie. The production design is artistic and somewhat enticing; however, the story comes across as completely improbable with a rather clunky script so that it keeps the viewer from becoming fully engaged. Seeing Lara getting tossed about on raging seas, beaten and battered by evil men, and surviving a tomb that is disintegrating around her on a video game is very different from seeing such events in a movie. After a while, the reaction is “Oh, c’mon!”
Alicia Vikander is a gifted actress, but her fine, nuanced, dramatic talents are lost in this action movie that is all about brawn and physical feats (most of which turn out to be unbelievable, really). I don’t know how many of the stunts were done by her or someone else (if by her, they’re impressive!), but look at her work in Ex Machina, The Danish Girl, Anna Karenina, A Royal Affair, and The Light between Oceans, for instance, if you want to see award-worthy acting. Other actors like Dominic West, Walton Goggins, and Daniel Yu likewise have diminishing roles that don’t serve their talents. The only supporting actor given a juicy tidbit is Kristin Scott Thomas, who plays it up admirably. She is always good, and the script serves her well here.
This is a film for video game fans, but for the rest of us—no.
Do you really want to see another Tomb Raider movie?
Grade: C- By Donna R. Copeland