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(film review) - Tomb Raider

I don't want this to be a long review, but I would like to say first and foremost, this makes for a very interesting review.  Why? Well, I am a gamer and I've always been a fan of the Tomb Raider franchise from when it first came out.  And No! I'm not talking about the films starring Angelina Jolie, I'm talking about the games they were based off of which came out in 1996.  I'm pretty sure a few of you reading this were not even born at this point or could hold a computer games controller, but it was a very long time ago.

You see, the very first game came out when I was in my teens (please don't, I know) and although Lara Croft was essentially a big breasted, no shit taking, gun totting hottie in short shorts and a tight top, the game was actually very decent.  Yes it appealed to teenaged boys, but it also appealed to teenaged girls.  I guess the aesthetic before people started bending over and/or showing their back on Instagram.  But that is a whole different thing altogether.
Lara is an archaeologist similar to Indiana Jones and she's basically out here discovering artifacts but comes across a tyrannical lady named Natla who wants to discover a artifact to become immortal - or something like that.  Then Tomb Raider 2 came out which was also good and after that, 3, 4 etc etc and I dropped off after 2 because the games didn't seem to stretch the imagination in terms of story and gameplay.  Essentially, it was the same shit and it got boring for me, real quick.  Years later, I got Angel of Darkness, which was dry and then once Legend and Underworld came out, we were back on form.  More of what they were going for in the first couple of games and more dynamic graphics, gameplay and challenging puzzles.  I enjoyed those games.  Then they launched the Anniversary of the original which was amazing and then they rebooted the franchise.  Needless to say, I got all the games since Legend and they have been brilliant... especially the reboot in which THIS film is loosely based on.

I didn't watch the Angelina Jolie movies as they looked very cornball and cheesy and very different to the games at the time, but due to this one being based on the recent reboot in which I thoroughly enjoyed, I thought it was only right to watch and undoubtedly compare the movie to the game but to try my best to take the movie as a whole on its own merit.
In short (well, as short as I can), Lara has set sail to discover a mythical island but when her ship gets destroyed through a storm, she is kidnapped, escapes and then finds herself fending for herself and using her survival instincts to kill wildlife to survive.  When she is almost raped, is when she takes her first life and discovers a cult leader named Mathias who is hellbent on releasing the spirit of Himliko for reasons I cannot remember and Lara has to solve puzzles and travel through various terrain in order to stop this mad man and escape the island, if the island will let her escape.  In a nutshell.

This film cherry picks from the above synopsis of the game and if I am honest, I was fairly underwelmed with what they chose from the game to adapt into the film and what they did with the story beats in comparison to the game.  However with that said, the movie was an interesting watch.
In short, the story is similar to the game.  We have a crazy guy named Mathias (Walton Goggins), check.  We have a ancient woman named Himliko, check.  Lara (Alicia Vikander) has to survive and escape the island, check.  There are also some moments which are directly lifted from the game, albeit a few changes, but there is a general flow and storyline to the movie, which involves Lara's father and family secrets.

After watching the movie, I felt like, the movie is only a small part of the game in terms of story, in comparison.  If you enjoyed the movie and don't mind playing the game, then you would love the game as it is more fleshed out and layered.  The game is a cross between some kind of survival horror (in places) and does a great deal to keep you on your toes the entire time and always concerned and wondering how Lara will get out of this situation because it seems very dire.  This movie does not capture any tension at all.  I mean, there IS YouTube in which you can probably watch the gameplay with cutscenes and stuff if you really want, but it also does not do enough to make you feel that invested in some of the characters and although the plot is flimsy (just like a video game), it does not do enough to have you buy into the mystical world and how much of a threat the entire island is as well as the people on it, unlike the game.  This is well the game excels and where the movie could have done a lot to try and capture.

Have a watch though, it is a decent film regardless and I cannot fault any of the acting and cinematography as it was all pretty standard, but 1, doesn't play like a Jolie movie and 2 doesn't play out like the game as it IS its own thing, but a decent computer game movie, unlike countless of others.






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