Evan Brown

SAINT JOSEPH, MI – Movies based on video games are notorious for being the film equivalent of a big burning pile of old garbage surrounded by stinky sickly rabid squirrels. That is to say, terrible.

Over the past few years, film after film has attempted to break the mold and yet none of them have succeeded. To date, The Angry Birds Movie (2016), in my opinion, is the best one. The fact that The Angry Birds Movie is the best of anything is absolutely incredible, let alone the fact that it is the movie on a list of other movies, but I digress.

Despite the fact that I was excited for the Tomb Raider reboot and I thought it would break the mold and be good. Well, I saw it on Saturday and oh boy, it was bad.

Tomb Raider (2018) was released on March 16th, and despite doing okay at the box office, it was unable to beat out Black Panther (2018) for the number one spot. In its opening weekend it made $23.5 million.

The film stars Alicia Vikander, Daniel Wu, Walton Goggin (Wally the Goggs), and Dominic West and was directed by Roar Uthaug.

The movie follows Lara Croft (Vikander), the daughter of an eccentric businessman who disappeared years earlier. When she discovers there was more to her father’s work and disappearance than meets the eye, she, with the help of Lu Ren (Wu), ventures to a mysterious island to find him.

Video games are known for being action packed narratives, packed with twists and turns, and the 2013 Tomb Raider game, that this film was based on, is no exception. The film, however, is boring and bland. It takes almost none of the elements from the game and the one’s it does take are the worst parts.

The story is repetitive and boring; it felt like nothing happened. All the character decisions don’t make a lot of sense. There are two twists (which I won’t spoil), but one of them is incredibly predictable and the other is so exciting it can barely even be called a twist.

For the most part, the performances, with a couple exceptions, are either flat out bad or forgettable. Even The Goggster himself (Walton Goggins) makes an unconvincing and dull villain. However, he has a great name and it’s really fun to say. Lara’s sidekick, Lu Ren, was comically unconvincing and had nothing to do the whole movie.

The exception to this, is Lara Croft herself. Alicia Vikander not only looks the part, but is perfect for this role. My only problem with her is that she is above this movie. She is such an incredible actress and her skills should be utilized in a better film. (Watch Ex Machina (2014) it’s an incredible film and she is incredible in it.)

The special effects were so horrendous. Everything was so rubbery it was hard to look at. Also, and this is unrelated, everybody falls down in this movie. I can think of at least four different scenes in which a character falls a long distance. Four different scenes! That’s ridiculous! The worst part is, everytime that happens, it looks really bad. Why on earth would you include this so many times if you can’t even make an effect that looks good. This movie is bad.

The action sequences, though few and far between, were actually pretty enjoyable. There is a chase sequence near the start of the film that I liked a lot. Additionally, there are a few moments of tension and jump scares that I enjoyed. But, like the action sequences, they are are rare.

Apart from that, the direction and cinematography of the film are completely uninspired. It looks and  feels like another cookie cutter, studio produced, cash grab. That actually reveals the film’s main issue. It is uncreative and overdone. There is nothing original or refreshing about this movie. All it is is adding to the constant noise that Hollywood studios are vomiting on us constantly.

They take a property that is semi-well known, attach a respectable name and churn out a movie with no substance. It happened here, it’s probably going to be the case with Ready Player One (2018), Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018) and many many others.

So, if you are thinking of going to see a movie this weekend, don’t feed the Hollywood machine that made Tomb Raider (2018). See Annihilation, see Shape of Water, see Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, or wait and see Isle of Dogs. Don’t buy a ticket that tells Hollywood that we want bland movies. Buy a ticket that supports creators who make beautiful art. That is all. Bye!