Tomb Raider (2018) | Kilburnlad | Film | Reviews


Tomb Raider (2018)

Tomb Raider 2018

As a devotee of Indiana Jones, this sort of film will always hold an appeal for me. Add in Alicia Vikander as the resourceful heroine, and there wasn't any real doubt that I would go to see it. I'm not a gamer, so I am unschooled in the original premise of the video game, but I did see Angelina Jolie in the 2001 film, which for me seemed more like a video game than this latest incarnation.

Taking a leaf out of the Wonder Woman book, here we have the genesis of the story, as we see Lara as a rebellious young woman who refuses to sign papers to inherit her father's immense wealth while not knowing if he is indeed dead. Instead she just about gets by as a bike messenger in London. Until, that is, her father's business partner, Ana Miller, has to bail her from the police station after she collided with a police car. Taken to sign the papers to release her inheritance, she is given a Japanese puzzle bequeathed by her father, which she soon unravels - "things like this were always around the house !" This releases a key, which in turn, after solving a little riddle, gives her access to her father's secret den. There she finds a cam-corder, on which is a video left for her by her father. How the battery was still charged after seven years isn't explained. In the video her father exhorts her to destroy all his material relating to Himiko, a mythical Japanese queen said to hold the power over life and death. Lara, of course, completely ignores his request, and sets off for Japan after pawning a rare amulet that her father gave her.

In Japan, an encounter with three youths intent on stealing her bag fortuitously brings her into contact with Lu Ren, the son of Lu Ren (senior), who had taken her father to the mysterious island where the tomb of Himiko is believed to exist. Despite his initial reluctance, Lara manages to entice Lu to sail to the island, the whereabouts of which having been determined from her father's notes, but only after deciphering a coded grid reference based on the positions of clock hands. The reputation of the Devil's Sea, where the island is located, is totally realised when they encounter a violent storm, with both her and Lu being swept overboard. She makes the beach but is promptly knocked out by somebody.

Waking up in the tent of a man named Mathias Vogel, Lara is soon to realise why her father was so insistent on her destroying the information on Himiko. Vogel, who is working for an organisation called Trinity, is looking for Himiko's tomb, and Lara has effectively handed him the location. We see that Lu has also survived, and has been put to work with other labourers who are dynamiting rocks in an attempt to locate the tomb. With the new information to hand, Vogel breaks camp and moves off to find the tomb.

This has now set us up for the classic Tomb Raider scenario, during which we see Lara mature into her more familiar role, performing some impressive escapes from seemingly life-ending situations, before returning, complete with bow and arrows, to take on Vogel and his men. Of course the tomb is raided; of course there are lots of clever devices to keep people out - or is it in? And of course Lara is the brains behind solving a number of puzzles before they can get to Himiko. This is all generic stuff but as always it is exciting to watch provided you suspend disbelief.

This film is clearly expecting to set up an ongoing franchise, as we see Lara in the final scenes with her hair pulled back into a long plait, mimicking the classic depiction of Lara Croft in the video game. She's clearly now ready for more action, especially as her analytical mind has already picked up on the fact that there is more to her father's partner, Ana Miller, than at first meets the eye.

This film certainly hasn't enjoyed the positive reviews that followed the release of Wonder Woman. As usual the critics have been less impressed than audiences, although Alicia Vikander seems to have merited their approval, the plot being the target of their criticisms. Her three months of physical training for the role is certainly apparent when her abs are on display.

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