Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Tomb Raider

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Lara Croft, the fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, must push herself beyond her limits when she discovers the island where her father disappeared.

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Cast

Alicia Vikander – Lara Croft

Walton Goggins – Mathias Vogel

Kristin Scott Thomas – Ana Miller

Dominic West – Lord Richard Croft

Daniel Wu – Lu Ren

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Prayer Wheels

I had absolutely no idea what to expect from Tomb Raider. Given the hugely popular preceding movies of the same franchise as well as various computer games, I just couldn’t imagine what this installment would bring. But it could go one of two ways: Brilliant. Dire.
So I grabbed my usual Starbucks vente latte, took my seat next to a random guy (who I swear kept farting throughout the film), and prepared to enjoy..

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This movie isn’t bad. But it’s certainly not brilliant. It contains a good amount of action-adventure for those who relish this, with Vikander putting a lot of energy into her role as Lara. But other than the fair-skinned actress hanging from rocks and running through forest whilst shooting  arrows there isn’t a hell of a lot of incentive to keep watching.

The story is very simple, easy to follow and plays out in obvious sequence until its finale. It also blends Lara’s present day with her younger ones as the viewer gets a glimpse of what the relationship between her and her father was like. A nice touch of emotion, but let’s be honest – who gives a shit? Viewers want action, not This Is Your Life – action. The essence of film this movie contains largely during its final hour, but lacks sorely at the beginning..

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During the opening credits I was gearing up for a good film. Sadly, the first half hour was just arse-numbing as I sat there watching Lara Croft zip around London on her bike as she went about her daily job. She delivers a parcel at one point to a foreign man in his restaurant who obviously has a crush on her.
Lara delivers the parcel.
The man gives a bashful response.
Slight moment of nervous comedy.
Lara leaves.
The man is never seen again, thus being an object of affection whose story is immediately cut short with no development.

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We then see her at a local boxing ring, taking part in the activity she enjoys – which leads to a locker room conversation between her and the boxing club manager about being late on her membership payments.. my god, was this Tomb Raider or RockyIn fact, was this the film I wanted to see or just a load of recycled shite?

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Fortunately towards the end of the movie as I was hoping for a bigger touch of the Tomb Raider games, prayer wheels popped up. I vaguely remember these useful tools when playing the game back in the 90’s, as well as Angelina Jolie mentioning them to Gerard Butler’s character (“you stole my prayer wheels”) in Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Vikander uses them to solve a mind-boggling death trap in one of the final scenes of this instalment which fortunately, is a scene that more excitement has gone in to. Whereas a lot of the beginning of Tomb Raider focuses on the lifestyle of a young woman as she works to pay her way through life, the last hour or so is what you want to see. It gathers the main characters together and puts them in situations avid Tomb Raider game fans will enjoy.

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Crumbling floors, clinging to walls, cryptic messages written on walls, it’s all there for you if you loved / love playing the games. Sadly, this and the crashed airplane scene are the only ones with oomph and both together make up about 25 minutes of the film. Thank god for a touch of familiarity amongst other dull scenes, even if in the shape of prayer wheels.

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Prayer Wheels. Tomb Raider 2, 1997

Plane Sailing

The scene involving a crashed aircraft and Lara having to scale it to survive a deathly accident is packed full of action. The tension is literally non-stop as Lara has seconds to climb her way to safety – before a twist of fate sends the aircraft plunging down a gigantic waterfall.

But does she go with it?..

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It’s a superb scene and uses the same height of adrenaline most of the original games do; I.E. Lara dropping hundreds of feet down a cliff face and splashing into gushing water, or using her agility to pounce on to passing ledges to find an escape route. This scene paints a historic picture of military wreckage in the foreground of a sumptuous tropical background and adds much needed excitement to the film. Very crisp optical effects used here too.

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Scenes like this are what make Tomb Raider (both games and films); slick action playing out in a beautiful but dangerous setting. And this film captures that daunting atmosphere nicely during certain parts.

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Tomb Raider
was half and half for me. I personally found most of it boring due to very long face-off’s between characters and more focus on Lara’s schedule than adventures. Lara riding around London delivering parcels. Lara at a local boxing club. Lara sat round a table with her father’s business partner discussing her inheritance. Lara reaching her mystical destination..

..and then stood talking to the enemy for a while before any action happens. Not great. But equally the movie seems to capture the essence of Lara Croft nicely during the adventure scenes.
Let’s be honest – no female portrays Lara Croft better than Angelina did. She actually was Lara, in every aspect. Whereas Vikander actually wasn’t. And I was hoping for a brief cameo in this movie; perhaps Vikander’s version discovering a magical mirror or other object which allows her to glimpse into the future. Imagine, her staring into a mirror – Jolie staring back..

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..magic.
That’s all I wanted. A touch of Jolie to place a stamp on the production and secure the mystical reputation of Tomb Raider. Just a few seconds.
If you’ve seen the rest, you may as well give this one a go. It contains some brilliantly breathtaking action, but be prepared for a lot of talky moments too which slow it down somewhat. Vikander gives it a bloody good go but just isn’t a patch on Jolie in terms of – well – everything and doesn’t quite make it as the computer game heroine.

Worth a watch, but let’s see how many more movies they try and rinse out of Croft’s comeback..

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This entry was posted on July 23, 2018 by .
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