Monday, March 19, 2018

Movie Review: Tomb Raider (2018)

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Good if unbelievable action
Cons: Rest of the film needs to be better
The Bottom Line:
Video game film
Plenty of action but needs
Rest to be better

“It’ll Be an Adventure.”  “Death is Not an Adventure.”

Since I was never super into video games, I don’t know much about most of them, and Tomb Raider is no exception.  I even ignored the two earlier movies released based on the franchise, but when I saw the previews for the 2018 film, I decided to give it a chance.  It looked like it could be a lot of fun.  Sadly, it wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be.

Seven years ago, Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) lost her father when he went off on a trip and never returned.  While the rest of the world assumes he is dead, she hasn’t given up hope, which is why he hasn’t signed the papers that official declare him dead and give her access to the considerable Croft estate.  When she is finally convinced to do that, she is given a puzzle that she quickly figures out.

That puzzle leads her to a secret room that where her father kept his real work and a recording from him that tells her to burn all his research and notes on something called Himiko.  He insists that an organization called Trinity is after it, and the fate of the world is at stake.  While Lara doesn’t buy into that, she does use the research to trace her father’s last trip.  Is he really gone?  What will Lara find?

Based on the previews, I was expecting an action movie.  And there was certainly lots of action.  I didn’t find it all plausible, but I kept reminding myself to just let it go.  After all, realistic action isn’t necessarily the point of an action movie.  Having fun while watching the impossible is.

I don’t have high standards for the other parts of an action movie, however, this film didn’t seem to be trying that hard.  The plot was decent, but fairly predictable.  I found myself getting bored in the scenes between the action.

Part of that comes from the lack of character development.  We really get the very minimum on any of the characters.  Heck, you’ll noticed that I only named a couple in my plot teaser.  That’s because there really isn’t much to make them memorable.  And this isn’t the fault of the actors – the script lets them down.

The effects in the film are good.  In fact, there were times that the way scenes were filmed definitely payed homage to the film’s video game roots.  I’m sure fans who came to the film because they love the games will appreciate that.

As I was watching, I couldn’t help but compare this movie to the Indiana Jones movies.  This film definitely fits into that genre; however, it feels like a poor imitation.  Even the lesser Indiana Jones movies have more life and fun than this movie.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy Tomb Raider at times.  I just found it disappointing as a whole.  I think fans of the video game franchise will enjoy it, but the rest of us can definitely skip this one.

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