Well, this is exciting, right? Warner Bros has officially released the first full trailer for the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. As campy as they were, the original Tomb Raider movies don’t have quite as negative a reputation as other video game movies. Though this is largely due to their potential as guilty pleasures. In fairness, the original games were fairly campy, so it fit. But this new movie is based on the 2013 reboot of the video game series. Said reboot took itself a bit more seriously. It showed off the origin of Lara Croft, not quite as a Tomb Raider, but as a survivor. And it was easily one of the better games to come out that year. So how does this film reboot look?
Eeeeh… honestly, not awesome. In fairness, it’s far from the worst thing ever. But it really just looks pretty… generic. The “if you’re watching this, I’m probably dead” message was the first not-so-great sign. Even the action doesn’t look especially impressive. There was a clear homage to the 2013 game, given the scene on the ship was nearly identical. So that was a nice little nod. Then the last scene in the trailer with the two pistols was a good nod to the older games. Though with the editing being the way it is, don’t be surprised if that’s the actual last scene of the movie.
The most interesting thing is that this is supposed to be an origin story. But does the trailer really lend to that idea? The 2013 game told Lara’s origin by giving her the training she needed but seeing to it that she was as green as they come. It’s a survival story, through and through. That island did everything in its power to make her situation seem hopeless. Ironically, it came at the expense of the actual tomb raiding being secondary in the game. There’s doubt there because she never had to actually deal with all of this, before, much less fend off an entire island of crazed lunatics. In fact, the first time she kills a man in the game, she just about loses her lunch.
Then there’s the aforementioned “If you’re watching this, I’m dead,” message. It sounds very much like that message is asking her to be a hero. And she seems to be perfectly fine accepting that. Which is the opposite of the games? Lara wasn’t going on her adventure to be some hero. At least not the action hero she inevitably does become. She was just interested in history and archaeology. But after surviving that island, she develops a taste for the kind of adventure she’d just had. She becomes a hero by happenstance, not by choice. So that character arc is out.
The angle of wanting to find out what happened to her father is interesting and new. But with all these inconsistencies, one has to wonder exactly what kind of arc they’re actually aiming to give her. The trailer seems to imply something about recklessness? Hopefully, it’ll be just as interesting as the game and won’t end up being another style-over-substance video game movie, like those we’ve been getting over the years. Despite a great cast, the acting didn’t seem especially spectacular, either. But on the upside, many of the best movies ever have had the worst trailers in history. So we’ll see.
Tomb Raider, starring Alicia Vikander, arrives in theaters March 16, 2018.