Don't have an account yet? Get the most out of your experience with a personalized all-access pass to everything local on events, music, restaurants, news and more. You would never know it from the movies, but the Tomb Raider video games have, for the most part, offered a quiet, even thoughtful experience. For twenty years following its debut, the series centered on patient exploration and puzzle-solving, with players guiding a posh bombshell through lavishly expansive caves and lost temples.
Sometimes lonely, sometimes soothing, often comically frustrating, Tomb Raider was something like Myst as reimagined by Russ Meyer after marathoning the Indiana Jones movies. Sure, the hero, Lara Croft, once in a while had to machine-gun a T. You could idle there, on a precipice, and rotate the camera around her, taking in the world. The movies, by contrast, have shied away from quiet, solitude or exploration. In theaters, Lara Croft is always running and fighting and explaining to her companions or enemies how putting this doohickey there will open this 1,year-old stone door.
They pulse along with the metabolism of action films rather than exploration games. One reason that Raiders of the Lost Ark or Alien or The Fellowship of the Ring have proven more thrilling than their sequels is that in each, the filmmakers took the time to allow us truly to discover the treasure cave, the mystery spacecraft and the deathtrap mine.
But movies like Tomb Raider , so eager to hustle us to the next story beat or action flourish, deny us the opportunity to dream along with them, to imagine that we could actually be there, raiding the damn tomb.
Just over halfway through the edition, directed by Roar Uthaug, our skeptical Lara Croft a marvelous Alicia Vikander at last plunges with a squad of villains and her own father into the usual under-mountain hellmouth.
Uthaug smash-cuts from one peril to the next, the explorers never seeming to move from chamber to chamber. We keep joining them, the exploration already in progress. Then, when we are privy to her problem solving, in a sequence involving colored prayer wheels and holes in a door, the film is too quick cut in its editing, too shouty in its dialogue, for us to play along.
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls. So, no T. The recent games have, like the adventure movies they rip off, come to prize killing over exploring. In fact, it emphasizes that killing is brutal, miserable work.
Vikander makes clear, as her Lara strangle-drowns a henchman in a mud puddle, that the act of killing has hardened and traumatized this young woman. The film starts out promisingly, with some witty sequences set in London, where Lara — not yet a tomb raider — takes MMA classes and works as a bike courier. Both are strong and seem even stronger compared to what comes later: As in a Tomb Raider game, you have a breath to survey her surroundings and consider her next move.
In one, long, fluid shot, she picks her way through tents and trees, avoiding guards and Goggins. In real time, we see her study and respond to the situation around her. What is it about tomb raiding that reconciles fathers and siblings? Still, I admire the seriousness with which everyone involved treats these characters, and the smart ways that the script from Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons on several occasions dashes expectations to the rocks.