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  Tomb Raider Pathetic PixelsBuy this film here.
Year: 2018
Director: Roar Uthaug
Stars: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas, Derek Jacobi, Alexandre Willaume, Tamer Burjaq, Adrian Collins, Keenan Arrison, Andrian Mazive, Milton Schorr, Hannah John-Kamen, Peter Waison, Nick Frost, Jaime Winstone
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: When Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander), heiress to a multinational corporation, was a little girl, her father Richard (Dominic West) became obsessed with locating an island where, it was said, priceless treasure was situated. However, as nobody had ever found this island since it was used by a Japanese princess for her hideaway many centuries ago, his endeavours to do so ended in him disappearing, presumed dead, and Lara was brought up by staff, which has left her something of a rebel who has eschewed university to go her own way as a kickboxer and fast food courier. This might not be the best use of her time, but she will soon be following in her father's footsteps...

When Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark became a hit, it may not have been as influential as Star Wars, another George Lucas pet project, but it definitely made its mark on pop culture. Yes, we had that classic serial-inspired adventure to thank for such behemoths as Cannon's Richard Chamberlain Alan Quartermain movies, Christopher Biggins' children's game show On Safari, and the Terry's Chocolate Orange television advert, but the world of computer gaming was not immune to its charms either, and come the late nineties Lara Croft became one of the most famous characters in that field with the Tomb Raider games. As was the way, they became movies eventually.

Not very good movies starring an enhanced Angelina Jolie and lots of CGI, but despite that pair not exactly enthusing anyone wanting authentic thrills at a night out at the pictures, in 2018 someone wanted to translate Lara's popularity to the big screen once again: this flop was the result, demonstrating once again that what gamers like to play is hardly ever what moviegoers want to watch, and those subsets of the audience are by no means exclusive to each other. This was an origin tale as was traditional with a rebooted franchise, though quite why they had to delve into origins that were as arbitrary as these was a mystery; the only mysterious thing about this.

Everything else was mired in a would-be blockbuster designed by committee, with nothing inspired, original, or crucially, fun. You would get none of the satisfaction of playing the games from watching this, despite the inclusion of sequences where Lara had to problem solve much as she had in her source material, if anything these were groaners of pandering to what the production mistakenly believed their target consumer wanted to see. The cast were far overqualified to be delivering dialogue that sank under the weight of cliché, the sort of movie where you could predict what everyone was about to say before they said it, which they apparently compensated for with a contest to see who could be the smuggest in what screen time they had. Nobody here was charismatic or seemed entertaining to be around.

The plot, which never explained why a multi-millionaire would be chasing after treasure anyway when they could have anything they wanted with those aforementioned multi-millions, had Lara finding a puzzle containing a photograph of her younger self and her father making a seriously offputting grimace, and this made up her mind to put her puzzle-solving mind to good use and trace her disappearing dad's path to the island. En route, she aimed to win over the Chinese market with yet another of those Chinese stars who show their faces but are given nothing of importance to do, Daniel Wu in this case, and once at what she described as her "final destination" (she must be a fan of the horror movies since that tautology was never used before them) there were the most perfunctory, yet overextended, storyline and setpieces imaginable. There wasn't even a dinosaur. If a film must be judged a failure because it bores when it seeks to entertain, Tomb Raider was nothing short of a disaster. Music by Junkie XL.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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