Translating video games into movies has not always been a success, a curse exists which is yet to be fully lifted. Surely Lara Croft can negotiate the many spike filled pits a move from pixels to the big screen can generate?
As most viewers will know, this is not the first cinematic Lara, Angelina Jolie first put on the skimpy skin tight shorts with mixed box office/critical success. We now have a re-imagined Lara in the rather pleasant shape of Alicia Vikander .
It is obvious Vikander has hit the gym hard, looking fantastic and fulfilling many fanboys fantasy as Lara, so all boxes ticked there.
Vikander is of course an actress of some note with a Oscar win under her belt, so we can expect some decent acting alongside the green screen CGI enhanced action.
The story itself is straight out of central casting, in fact you can almost count the story beats as the screenplay travels on predetermined rails, rather like a theme park ride.
Young daughter taught various skills by overbearing, loving father who is always away on secret adventures, scene one.
Father (Dominic West ) later in peril and daughter keen to find out where he has disappeared to, necessitating many further dangers, scene 2.
Should father happen to be found, placed in danger with Lara forced into the tombs to recover usual movie MacGuffin, or father dies. Scene 3 and so on.
Add in cardboard stereotypical yet ruthless villain “Mathias Vogel” (Walton Goggins) and handy Asian sidekick to help Lara “Lu Ren” (Daniel Wu ) and everything is in place, including most audience demographics.
How do we know the villain is ruthless? Because we witness an off-camera execution of random generic slave/worker, somewhat predictable within the films running time.
This is not a bad film, but damning with faint praise, it is merely adequate. There are the makings of a good film, certainly the cast is in place and budget seemingly adequate but the story is oh so predictable.
Whilst Lara is constantly placed at risk, with the obvious CGI in play there is no real sense Lara will ever die. In fact, the screenplay writers could have done more hanging by their fingernails on hard to see ledges, to introduce more edginess into the script.
Vikander gets few opportunities to act and one assumes spent most of her time playing against a green screen, which is a pity. Some greater depth, risk and variation in the screenplay would have paid dividends.
Director Roar Uthaug plays it safe at every turn and based on box office and Vikander’s now A-List status, it is unlikely this Lara in particular will be back any time soon, with or without her rather spiffy new Volvo XC-40.
Not bad not great, which is a shame with such a talented actress, with a better screenplay and direction this could have been so much better.
There are however worse ways to spend a rainy evening than watching a buffed Vikander do her stuff.