Video game adaptations don’t often fare well on the big screen. For decades, there has been a notion of a video game movie curse due to the box office numbers or critical reception from moviegoers. Whether it is the video game franchise, storyline, or directive approach, the transitions from video game to movie hasn’t clicked. Sure there are a handful of films that went on to become cult classics or spawned multiple sequels, but even those are hardly memorable. Could the rebootedTomb Raider finally break that trend?
Tomb Raider first made its way to video game platforms in 1996. The action-adventure game focused on protagonist Lara Croft and her numerous journeys in searching for secret artifacts and hidden locations. The Tomb Raider franchise would go on to become one of the all-time best-selling video game franchises of all time. The franchise produced 12 installments including a few remakes and anniversary editions before completely rebooting in 2013. The success led to a movie adaptation in 2001 starring Angelina Jolie and included a sequel two years later. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and The Cradle of Life weren’t revered as great adaptations in the eyes of the viewers but it might finally be time for Tomb Raider fans to get the movie they deserve. Here are five reasons why the upcoming reboot might break the video game movie curse:
1. It’s Based On The 2013 Game Reboot
Insane stunts and wild fight sequences played well in early game installments, but probably weren’t the best to recreate on the big screen without doing fully ridiculous. The 2013 game franchise reboot was a breath of fresh air. It was an improved take on Lara Croft, who was given a more meaningful story arc and a greater depth as a character.
Thankfully, the film directed by Roar Uthaug is using the 2013 game as a stepping stone. The story ditches the classic Lara Croft look and re-invents her as a woman fighting for survival. The game garnered rave reviews for focus on explorative gameplay, notable visuals, and character growth. It’s safe to assume the film will take those aspects and dive even further for a live-action look into the life of Lara Croft.
2. The inclusion of an origin story
Video game movies are often created or advertised for the game players in mind but movies should be appealing to almost any demographic. Including an origin story is especially relevant in providing background information into a character or their motivation throughout the film. At times, video game movies tend to overlook those details and jump right into the action just as one would in a game. Tomb Raider will certainly give viewers a deeper look into Lara Croft’s origin.
Just as the video game reboot re-imagined Lara’s origin, the film will use the reboot as an influence into the main character’s story arc. In this case, Lara Croft is a 21-year-old Londoner working as a bike courier finding it difficult to even pay her rent. She is lost in life and in search of forging her own path. Still reeling from her father’s death seven years prior, Lara decides to embark on a dangerous journey in traveling to the mysterious island to find answers where her father died.
3. Adding A Family Element
Adding the mystery of Lara’s father differs from the video game plot. In the game, Lara is an archeology graduate on an expedition to find a lost kingdom. The movie version of Lara will obviously include many of the same character traits. Now with the involvement with a lost family member, it gives the character a more relatable motivation. The stakes are much higher and there is no doubt she will uncover certain mysteries that sweep her up into danger she is hardly prepared for. As she is pushed beyond her limits, Lara will be thrown into the mysticism and ancient exploration which made the franchise so appealing. Getting to know Lara Croft through different stages of her life will be much more rewarding to viewers in witnessing what she becomes while on the adventure of her life.
4. A Woman In Focus
One thing is certain: the world needs more films led by women, especially action films. Wonder Woman reassured everyone that a superhero film with a female character at the focus could be a major success. Having a woman serve as a protagonist in an action film may not be new, but doesn’t occur as often as it should. Ignoring the tropes often portrayed through gender roles in films opens up a world of opportunities for women in film.
It is rare enough to have a woman at the face of a video game franchise. The classic look of Lara Croft has been criticized in the past and now that she is given a practical look, her character can be taken seriously. This is not a tale of a well-trained hero. Lara Croft has a lot to learn but her sharp mind and strength give her a chance at survival. Her thirst for danger might be unique but her goal of forging her own path is extremely relatable.
5. Alicia Vikander In The Lead
It doesn’t hurt to have a strong leading lady as the face of your film. For the reboot, Swedish actress Alicia Vikander takes on the role of Lara Croft. The 29-year-old is already an Academy Award winner, for her role in The Danish Girl. She is also known for Anna Karenina, Ex Machina, and The Light Between Oceans. Vikander beat out a long list of actresses to lead Tomb Raider, and underwent intense training regimes for the role. As fans have made comparison videos of the movie trailer and Tomb Raider gameplay, Vikander looks like the perfect big screen counterpart.
Tomb Raider also stars Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Nick Frost.
Tomb Raider hits theaters March 16, 2018.