The Tomb Raider Movie
is Obscenely Faithful to the Game
By Matthew Arcilla
At some point in time, the amount of superhero comic books that can be adapted will diminish. Hollywood will reach the maximum rate at which it can extract superheroes and then enter into a terminal decline. This is known as ‘peak superhero’ and it’s a terrible issue facing our pop culture.
That’s why Hollywood has been looking to video games, an emerging source of intellectual property to be mined for cinematic fodder. But despite dozens of attempts across multiple decades, Hollywood has yet to produce video game-based movie that succeeds both critically and commercially.
It’s been flops from Super Mario Brothers to Assassin’s Creed but that hasn’t stopped Square Enix Europe and Warner Bros. Pictures from trying to make a go for a Tomb Raider movie, based on the long-running franchise. It wouldn’t be the first time: Angelina Jolie starred in two mostly forgettable movies as Lara Croft. The surrounding hype blitz catapulted Jolie from rising star to recognizable icon.
The upcoming movie is directed by Roar Uthaug and stars Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) as Lara Croft. It is currently scheduled for release on March 16, 2018. A trailer dropped this week, so let’s take a look at the ways it’s obscenely faithful to the video game.
There Are Daddy Issues
Lara’s father, Lord Richard Croft, has always been a fixture in the lore of the character despite numerous adaptations. This new movie is no different, taking inspiration from the 2013 reboot – dubbed the ‘Survivor’ Timeline by fans. In it, Croft is a disgraced scholar whose passion for archaeology has driven him to ruin. Lara reconnects with him through his secrets, which brings us to…
Trinity, Our Franchise Mega Threat
Lara Croft hasn’t had the most memorable iconic villains, at least not in the way James Bond or Batman do. For the movies, they’ve instead chosen to set up a larger threat known as Trinity. This mysterious organization is lifted directly from 2016’s Rise of the Tomb Raider and seeks to control the world through the acquisition of powerful relics.
Daniel Wu Is The Sidekick
Wu plays Lu Ren, a friend of Lara’s and captain of the ship that takes her to The Dragon’s Triangle where much of the action and intrigue takes place. Ren doesn’t seem explicitly based on any character from the games but he seems like a pastiche of Conrad Roth, the captain of the Endurance and Samantha Nishimura, Lara’s best friend, both from 2013 ‘Survivor Timeline.’
Infamous Character Actor Walton Goggins Is In It
“Hey it’s that guy!” You might recognize Walton Goggins from The Shield, Justified or Sons of Anarchy even if you don’t remember his name. This hard-working character actor was tapped to play Mathias Vogel, one of the mysterious inhabitants of the island of Yamatai. Fans of the 2013 ‘Survivor Timeline’ will recognize the name, and it’s spoilers for me to say anything more.
Indiana Jones Has A Whip, Lara Has A Pickaxe
While Lara grew to infamy as a devil may care adventurer, the Lara of recent games is depicted more as a survivor: a young woman with inexhaustible fortitude and grit. The Tomb Raider movie draws inspiration from the latter and the trailer highlights this by giving her the simple but effective gear that serves her in current games: a makeshift bow and arrow and a simple pickaxe.
Those Set Pieces
The trailer showcases several action sequences inspired by the 2013 reboot. There’s Lara’s dramatic leap within an ocean storm. There’s a desperate jump from the crumbling wing of an old plane. There’s a terrifying plunge into perilous rapids. Many of those sequences also had fatal consequences for Lara should she be at the mercy of unskilled players. Let’s hope Vikander’s Lara is lucky.
Her Divine Ponytail Appears
The trailer ends with a callback to the OG Lara. In what may or may not be a post-credit scene, Lara is sporting her iconic braided tail from the first series of Tomb Raider games. In it she’s shopping for guns and picks out two pistols, her signature armaments. It’s a callback that’s similar another one made in the 2013 reboot.
It Looks Just Like The 2013 Reboot
Between the journey to the Dragon’s Triangle, the presence of Mathias Vogel and the liberally borrowed set pieces, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a remake of 2013’s Tomb Raider. That’s certainly what I thought and so did the eagle-eyed people at IGN when they put together this comparison video that underscores the astonishing similarities. It’s almost like the Tomb Raider movie… is based… on a Tomb Raider video game!
What do you think of the trailer? Tell us about it below!