Tomb Raider Talk

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This weekend, Kristine and Matt O saw the new Tomb Raider in theaters and had a discussion about it afterwards. Seeing as it's relevant to conversations that occurred on the podcast, we've brought you a segment of that discussion for your reading pleasure. There are spoilers for the movie and the Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider games - so be warned!

Kristine: We just saw Tomb Raider! So tell me your thoughts Matt.

Matt O: In terms of video game movies, I would put it at the higher end of the spectrum.

K: Because we know how you feel about those.

M: Yeah. I mean, it was OK. It was a very acceptable action movie. It just felt like a watered down version of anything you would get in the games, which is unavoidable when you’re making it into a movie but for a video game movie, it’s definitely one of the better efforts I’ve seen. One of its biggest strengths was it had a pretty decent cast. I think Alicia Vikander is actually a great Lara Croft and I think she was cast perfectly. It felt like it had decent production values; it didn’t feel cheap. There was one scene with young Lara and I thought ‘Thank God this girl is only in the movie for 10 seconds.’

K: Oh, was it the little one?

M: Yes! I just watched A Wrinkle in Time and that had some of the worst child performances I’ve seen in a movie. I no longer accept the excuse of ‘well, they’re just a kid’ because the kids in the IT movie and Stranger Things look and behave like actual kids.

K: She had a really big forehead, that’s what bothered me.

M: She did! But honestly, that’s like a nitpick thing. I think with a game like Tomb Raider, it’s easy to make a passable movie out of it because of the premise alone. It’s like globe trotting, exotic locations, action-adventure type spiel.

K: Yeah, I agree. So, I didn’t think it was a bad movie, but you and I kept nitpicking it while watching. When did you finish the game because I finished a couple of weeks ago.

M: A few years ago.

K: OK, so I recently got the new Tomb Raider because I watched Steve play Rise on twitch and I thought it looked really good so I decided to buy the first one. I finished the first one a couple of weeks ago, so I couldn’t help but notice everything that was different from the game! I just couldn’t help it.

M: I didn’t really care that is was different. I understand that you have to change a lot of stuff for the sake of time constraints and a movie audience.

K: But with the first game...the dad is dead. Like, definitively. And his story in the movie is such a cliche. The second game explores his background more than the first and I felt it's way more fleshed out than how he's portrayed in the movie. The mom died when she was really young while on an expedition to Tibet with the dad. And then he spent the rest of his life focusing on trying to bring his wife back with this elixir of life. So then Trinity is after it in the second game. Aside from a couple of artifact entries you can find, Trinity isn’t prominent in the first game. In the movie, they have a huge role. The whole curse of Himiko is different as well. It is loosely-based enough where you can spot the references and what they took from the game, but it was enough of a difference to bother me. They were going with the whole supernatural bit and then just dropped it.

M: Yeah, they made you think it was going to be something supernatural, but I think it was a good bait and switch. Besides, they could be saving that for another movie. I was convinced there would be an after credit scene of Himiko’s corpse crawling out of the rubble.

K: Oh goodness, I’m glad they didn’t!

M: On one hand, I did wish it had the supernatural elements because that is part of the Tomb Raider games but on the other hand, the bait-and-switch was a really good movie tactic.

K: That’s the thing; games are a very different subset in terms of you can go the fantastical because it’s a video game. I think it’s more widely accepted to have a fantasy game than movie. People do expect some sort of realism in movies, even when it’s like, Harry Potter.   

M: I guess that’s true.

K: It does seem like they set the new premise for the movies now is that it’s Lara’s goal to take down Trinity which isn’t really her goal even in the second game. Maybe in the third game which is supposed to be coming out this year. I will agree that Alicia was an excellent Lara Croft, her performance was really enjoyable.

M: She was toned as hell. She has more muscle in her back than my entire body.

K: Yeah, she had a twenty-pack. The action sequences were really good with a lot of nods to the game.

M: There were a lot of set pieces that were literally taken straight from the game, like the World War II bomber.

K: But I really liked that! It was cool to see all the character references too even if their roles aren’t the same like Anna or Matthias.

M: I will say that her not taking the inheritance made me so angry.

K: Yeah, you literally started to yell in the theater.

M: She pawns off the only thing she has to remember her dad by and gets back not even half of what she wanted it for. She could have just signed the inheritance and looked for her dad anyway! And her being a bike courier reminded me of Premium Rush which is a movie that infuriates me to no end.

K: We’ll save that rant for another time. Overall, it wasn’t bad for a video game movie. It had enough of a basis that people of any audience can enjoy it so long as they like action movies and there was a lot of nods to the game. It was a fairly good action movie as well.

M: It was not offensive, it was totally fine. It was definitely one of the better video game movie adaptations I’ve seen. Alicia’s performance was the highlight.

K: I loved that they based it off of the new Lara because she wasn’t sexualized at all and the fight sequences were realistic.

M: Yeah, they made it believable when she’s fighting against thugs. She actually has to put up a fight, not just punch them in the face and that's it.

K: I would have liked to have seen a rated R version because the video game is pretty brutal. There were a couple of scenes that referenced how you can die in the game which I appreciated.

M: Yeah, but the argument is that PG-13 movies make more money anway.

K: I guess. So, final consensus is...good video game movie, decent action movie?

M: It met my expectations and it didn’t have an excess of pandering moments which was my worry. Decent video game movie, good action movie.

K: I’m also less of a critic when it comes to movies, as you can all tell from Matt’s article about video game movies. I think we can both agree to go see it if you’re a Tomb Raider fan. You heard it here first from the folks at Plus One Player! Thanks for tuning in!