Gaming-franchises-turned-movie usually have me on edge. Most of the times, I’m super excited about them while at the same time being a bit reluctant, because moviefication sometimes doesn’t work well…
Remember Street Fighter? Mortal Kombat? And I’m still trying to rinse away that foultasting Mario Bros movie.
So it’s with a trembling hand that I insert the latest Tomb Raider movie into the bluray-player.
I’ve always been a fan of the busty heroine. Ever since the humble beginnings, to the recent reboot. There’s something about tombraiding that’s really alluring. Wether it’s the treasure hunting, the fighting or the nimble gymnastics required to reach deeper parts of tombs and evade traps… I just don’t know. I like Lara, let’s just leave it at that.
In this new version (forget all about La Jolie tombraidering) we meet Lara Croft (perfectly cast Alicia Vikander) as a London-based bike courier. She’s to be the sole heir of the Croft fortune, but only if she signs the papers declaring her father legally dead. Richard Croft has been missing since Lara was a child while searching for Himiko, queen of the dead and presumed keeper of supernatural secrets. When Lara finally decides to sign, she receives a pivotal clue that could lead her to her father. On a whim, she decides to follow the trail and bring home dad.
The plot is loosely based on that of the first of the rebooted games. In it, the MacGuffin is also Himiko, and her presumed supernatural command over the dead. While most of the similarities end here, there’s enough easter eggs and blink-and-you’ll-miss-them moments that reference the game to keep fans entertained.
And while I had fun pointing out all those references to my uninterested audience, mrs. NxG and Her Majesty Dame Lemmy Von Motörhead (our cat), I also found myself enjoying the movie. I loved the action, I dug the plot, I laughed at the jokes and I tensed during cliffhangers. This is one thrill-ride of a movie!
And I’ll go you one further: had this movie been released without any ties to the Tomb Raider franchise, were it stripped of all its Croftiness so to speak, it would still be the same hugely enjoyable movie. The point I’m trying to make here (badly) is that Tomb Raider is not simply riding the coattails of its game-relative. Love and care was put into the movie to make it feel and look great.
Mission accomplished, I’d say.