Dog’s Movie House: “Tomb Raider” Streamlined Reboot!

Howdy Folks!  It’s The Kendog with a look at the new Tomb Raider Movie!

Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft in “Tomb Raider”



Video game movies have been really hard to do well.  Even the most successful have their share of faults.  “Mortal Kombat” and Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider movies are often considered high points of the sub-genre but the bar has admittedly been set fairly low.  Still, with the video games themselves becoming more and more cinematic in nature, you have to figure somebody in Hollywood’s gonna get it right eventually.   With that in mind, this new Tomb Raider reboot is not perfect but it has a lean pace, a more than serviceable origin story, and strong performances from star Alicia Vikander and Walton Goggins.

“Tomb Raider” tells the tale of Lara Croft (Vikander), a young woman who is coping with the disappearance of her wealthy father Richard by living on the streets of London, rejecting her family’s wealth and barely earning a living as a thrill-seeking bike messenger.   A cryptic message from her father as well as a few surprises as to his lifestyle lead her on a voyage to a remote island in an attempt to find him.  What she finds is an evil organization led by Matthias Vogel (Walton Goggins) attempting to use her father’s research to find an ancient weapon of unimaginable power.  It’s up to Lara to embrace her destiny to stop the bad guys and keep the world safe.

If it sounds like a fairly clichéd plot. . .well. . .it is, but writers Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons are more interested in the details of the story, most of which they provide in an entertaining manner. Director Roar Uthaug (“The Wave”) keeps things moving in a fairly energetic fashion, moving Lara from scenario to scenario without totally sacrificing character development.  One of the criticisms I have is the movie has a tendency to move a little too fast.  It’s not quite two hours and could have used another fifteen minutes or so to flesh out the characters a little more.

However the cast picks up the ball nicely, even though many of the characters are a tad underwritten.  Vikander is excellent as the raw yet talented Lara.  The Oscar-winning actress is highly adept and showing her emotions on her expressive face without dialogue and her action chops. . .well let’s just say that this young woman is fit and just leave it at that.   Credit goes to the filmmakers for not objectifying Lara but making her a tough, capable, and sometimes flawed young woman who audiences will be able to identify with.  Vikander’s a stunning young lady, but her looks are secondary to the character.

As far as the action goes, Uthaug stages a number of impressive set pieces, although he does have a tendency to rely on CGI a little too much at times. There is a propulsive energy about these scenes that drives the film in an entertaining manner, so the special effects goofs can easily be overlooked.  It also helps that you get a layered performance from Goggins as the villain, who plays Vogel as a world-weary employee who just wants to get the hell out of Dodge after seven years.

Fans of the Indiana Jones series will find some interesting, ahem, homages to the Harrison Ford-led series, especially in the finale, but if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery than “Tomb Raider” really loves her some Indy.   That said, this incarnation of “Tomb Raider” is far superior to the Angelina Jolie- led series from the previous decade and a good old-fashioned time at the movies.  3 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkomter!  So Sayeth The Kendog! 

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