So the first trailer’s landed and we’re already asking the age-old question when it comes to this kind of movie – ‘Will it be the first good video game movie?’ So far we’ve sadly only been given substandard video game movies (Prince of Persia, Assassin’s Creed, Doom, the original Lara Croft films…take your pick!), all for a plethora of reasons; they stick too closely to the game, there’s more action than anything else, bland characters, stories riddled with plot-holes – or they’re just plain bad. So whenever we get one with promise we get excited. And this film sure does have promise…and now the trailer’s out, should we start getting excited? Or will this be yet another videogame movie disappointment to add to the list?
An over-sexualised, female counter-part to Indiana Jones, Lara Croft is immortalised in video game history. This is largely due to the gameplay of course, but the importance of the design of the central character cannot be understated. The classic look of Lara is iconic and instantly recognisable (particularly in her famously revealing tomb-raiding outfit). With incredible (and rather unbelievable) bodily proportions she became a hit with teenage boys around the world (I wonder why…), her character too adds an enjoyable element; sassy and always armed with a witty retort alongside those dual-wielded pistols.
As iconic as this was though, it was a wise move when the character was updated in 2013’s reboot, Tomb Raider. Still beautiful, smart and determined, she lost that overtly over-sexualisation (a good thing to avoid abundant criticism), but seemed to lose a bit of that sharp, witty edge (a less good thing).
So how does the upcoming movie iteration of Lara look from the trailer? Well in my opinion and from the trailer, it seems like they’re combining both versions of Lara – hopefully resulting in the ultimate Lara to please fans of both the old games and the new. Like the rebooted game series, Alicia Vikander seems a pretty perfect fit – beautiful and slightly petite enough to come across as innocent (this is an origin story we’re dealing with after all). She’s a perfect real-life version of the rebooted Lara, beautiful but without the quasi-sexist, unrealistic body.
Yet towards the end, we see a slightly different Lara – one who’s been through her origin and is more the iconic one we know. Not that they seem to be relying on that costume, rather we see those famous dual-wielded pistols, the plaits and the sassy edge to her. This is the blend of Lara’s we need for this film; beautiful and realistically sexy; innocent-looking at first, but developing into an iconic bad-ass. With any luck Alicia Vikander will prove to all that those first-class acting skills she got an Oscar for will lift the videogame-movie-curse… But if Marion Cotillard and Michael Fassbender can’t do it for Assassin’s Creed and Jake Gyleenhaal and Gemma Arterton can’t do it for Prince of Persia, can anyone…?
Obviously gameplay is the most important aspect of a videogame, and sadly trying to stick to close to it can be one of the major downfalls of many videogame movies. Yet here Tomb Raider’s action looks promising enough – although how many times do we say that from the trailer alone? Sleek, exciting and varied with bow and arrows, rock-climbing axe and pistols, as well as jumping, climbing and avoiding deadly traps. This is the action we want from a Lara Croft game – the same as we get in the game and the reason they’re so fun to play. Done well this should, in theory at least, be as much fun as the games; well-choreographed action scenes are always a joy to behold. Still this is similar action to Assassin’s Creed games and look how that turned out… Still we can see some action moments taken straight from the 2013 Tomb Raider game on which it’s based – jumping from a sinking boat, jumping from a breaking wing of a plane, shooting bad guys with a bow and arrow – this is the stuff we loved from the game, so long as it’s shot well and not stupidly over-stylised like in the Assassin’s Creed movie, it should be good.
3.) The Tombs
So it looks like the story’s a bit of a mixed bag. Not a direct copy of the story we get from the 2013 Tomb Raider game, producer Graham King has stated that the story is more about Lara “in search to see if her father is dead or alive.” This aspect differs from the game, which is nice to see – we don’t want just the same old story copied completely (then again, I’m sure some like me will be starting to get fed up with the constant father thing with Lara Croft…).Then again, she’s stranded on that island again just like the game, so it seems like it’s a blend of a new story with the original game’s story.
I can’t decide whether I like this or not. I feel like as an origin story this all might work out quite well. However if it’s a success (fingers crossed) and develops into a franchise, I’d like them to be more independent films, not all linking into each other. Like the old Bond movies or Indiana Jones, it would be nice if each film was its own globe-trotting individual adventure with original stories, so fans of Lara can get a new plot and not the same one they’ve already played.
So all-in-all my thoughts on what this trailer shows us are fairly positive. Alicia Vikander so far looks like a good fit for their iteration of the character, the action has potential, and the plot is a blend of old and new… like we often say, this could be the first good videogame movie. Statistically it’s unlikely, but it’s very possible. And now having seen this trailer my hopes are even higher… This was quite a bland trailer though, not showing us much – I’ll try to reserve my hype for the next trailer.