Sunday, March 18, 2018

"Tomb Raider" (2018) -- Initial Thoughts

I've never played the game Tomb Raider is based on.  I've seen both of the Angelina Jolie movies based on it at least once, maybe twice?  But that was back when they came out to video, so it's been a long time.  I only remember bits of them.  I liked them okay, but they weren't something I wanted to watch over and over.  Not the kind of action movie that appealed to me, somehow -- I think Jolie's Lara Croft felt superhuman, yet wasn't technically a superhero, and that never exactly worked for me.  Also, I'm not a huge Angelina Jolie fan.  I don't dislike her, but I don't dig her, you know?

But I'm a big fan of Alicia Vikander.  Last year I put her on the list of my top ten favorite actresses as #8.  After watching Tomb Raider in the theater yesterday, I'd say she's more like #5.  She's definitely my favorite under-40 actress working today.  Yes, she's THAT good in this movie. 

I went to Tomb Raider yesterday under very unusual conditions.  I had not seen any trailers for it.  I had not read anyone's reviews or thoughts on it.  I didn't know who else was in it besides Alicia Vikander.  I just knew it was her playing Lara Croft.  That's it.  I basically never go to a movie with that little information.  Just doesn't happen.  But for whatever reason, nothing about this movie crossed my path before I went to see it.  Which made for a very fun viewing because everything was a surprise!

Like, I didn't know that Dominic West was in it.  I was so surprised and excited when he showed up as her dad!  (But I must admit it's been so long since I saw him in anything, I spent like 5 minutes of the movie trying to remember what his name is.)  I've liked him ever since I first saw him in A Christmas Carol (1999), and he's one of those solidly enjoyable actors that I know will give a fun performance no matter what he's in.

(There are almost no pictures online of him in this movie.  It's like a conspiracy
trying to keep me from knowing that he's in it or something.)

I also didn't know anything about the plot.  Basically, Lara Croft is a 20-something girl living almost on the streets, struggling to make enough money with a delivery job to pay her dues at the boxing center where she trains.  And then it turns out that actually, she's almost very rich.  Almost because, if she wants to inherit her dad's money, she has to declare him legally dead since he disappeared seven years ago.  And she doesn't want to do that.  So she's just scraping by instead. 

But then she discovers that her dad was secretly searching for this mysterious island where this freaky Japanese goddess of death is supposedly buried.  He wants to keep these other people from finding her and unleashing her powers of destruction on the world.  And that's where he went seven years ago, on a quest to protect the world from an ancient evil.

Lara, being extremely clever and good at solving puzzles and riddles of all sorts, figures out where he went.  And she goes after him.  She wants to at least find where he went, some sign that he was there, maybe even find his remains so she knows once and for all that he's truly gone.


She enlists the help of a boatman (Daniel Wu) to find the island, and once there, of course there's a tomb to raid and so on.  The movie as a whole has a very Indiana Jones vibe to it, WAY more than I remember the other two Tomb Raider movies having.  There are lots of traps, vague riddles, creepy ways to die, skeletons, and so on, plus gobs and gobs of Bad Guys.  Including one main bad guy played by Walton Goggins who was, to be honest, boring.  But at the same time, kind of interesting in his boringness because he wasn't some megalomaniac or obsessed fortune hunter or arch nemesis.  He was just a dude doing a job and wanting to go home.  He reminded me of a tame and boring Bruce Dern, actually.  Like, Bruce Dern on a non-spicy day.

And this Lara Croft is not super-human.  She fails at things.  She gets very hurt.  She gets tired.  It's altogether awesome and refreshing and... not entirely believable, but more believable than a lot of action movies, really.  Like Indiana Jones in that way too.

So anyway, it's a really fun movie, and I might actually go see it again if it's still playing in a few weeks.  I'd like to see it over now knowing all the twists to see how it works with that knowledge, because I'm pretty sure it will slot together beautifully like one of the puzzles Lara Croft has to solve in the movie. 

Is this movie family friendly?  There's a lot of Danger and Action and Scary Situations.  Lots of shooting and other violence, but it's non-gory.  A little bad language, some innuendo in dialog maybe?  No nudity, no love scenes.  Lara does run around in a tight tank top for most of the movie.  For teens and up, in other words.


12 comments:

  1. My reaction to this is basically ALICIA VIKANDER!!! If I was to watch this movie, it would be for the exact same reason you watched it. I might check it out once the library gets it in, then. :D

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    1. Gabby, well, that's a perfectly awesome reason to watch this, cuz Alicia rocks this role.

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  2. I haven't seen it (yet) but I've heard it's good. I'm also pleased that they cast this actress, who... well, DOESN'T look like the video game version in certain ways. :P They kept her butt-kicking and lost the top-heavy boy-attracting features. Thank you, Hollywood. For once. ;)

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    1. Charity, I hadn't thought about that, but wow, you're right. Vikander is not at all the same physical type as Jolie. She rocks this role, and if you're looking for a fun thrill-ride, you'll like this.

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  3. I'm kind of intrigued to see this... a huge chunk due to the fact that it's Alicia Vikander. I never saw the originals or played the video games so I won't be distracted by those.

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    1. Lois, Alicia Vikander is reeeeeeeally good in this. I hope you get to see it!

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  4. I love the video game, and I'm excited to see this. I was hesatint when I first heard that they were remaking the movies, but it sounds like they did a good job. :)

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    1. Evangeline, I also thought a reboot was kind of unnecessary, but turns out I'm happy they made it cuz it is all kinds of excellent fun.

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  5. Very interesting review! I might have to try this one. :)

    -Amaris

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    1. Thanks, Amaris! If you do see it, I hope you enjoy it.

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  6. #5, eh? That's impressive. But Alicia Vikander definitely deserves it; she's an excellent actress.

    I don't think I should go see this; but I'm really glad you enjoyed it! :)

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    1. Jessica, yup, #5. She's just amazing, that's all! You're probably right that this is not your sort of movie, though ;-)

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