Sunday, May 5, 2019
For some reason, I'm going to talk about Tomb Raider today....
Tomb Raider (2018) "starring" Alicia Vikander is a reboot of a moderately successful film series which ran from 2001-2003 which was itself a spinoff of a very popular series of video games. The video games featured a number of female voice actors, the original films featured Angelina Jolie in the starring role, and the newest version, as I've noted, "starred" an inexplicably popular mannequin named Alicia Vikander.
I caught this film on HBO the other day and I just have to make a few observations concerning why I found this film so insulting and dumb and am not at all surprised that it was a box office failure:
1. In the opening of this film, we see the character of Lara Croft engaged in a kickboxing contest and even though she's beaten she looks pretty tough. I assumed that the purpose of this scene was to establish Lara as a hard-as-nails type who can definitely take care of herself. Boy, was I wrong, as we'll see later.
2. Turns out that Lara Croft is a lowly bike messenger who jumps at the chance to earn money by participating in a dangerous bike race through the streets of Large City. Thing is, through flashbacks we've already been shown that just as with the Angelina Jolie version, this Lara is heir to a massive fortune, she just has to sign some papers to get it. She's holding back from signing for reasons we're about to get into. Meanwhile, she's willing to risk her skull to go after a small cash prize because She Needs the Money except we know she doesn't. I bet several of her fellow bike messengers could legitimately use that money, Lara. Maybe stop pretending to be poor?
3. Lara doesn't want to sign the papers declaring her missing father officially Dead because she's convinced he's just missing. Never mind that signing would allow her to inherit his massive wealth, which she could then use to go out and find her father. If she believes Dad is really alive, of what benefit is she to him as long as she's scraping by as a bike messenger?
4. When Lara gets to Asian Port Stock Footage Location, she's instantly accosted by three young boys who steal her bag. She runs them down and gets the bag back by putting one of the boys in a headlock, but then runs away when another boy pulls out a knife and threatens to cut out her tongue. Angelina Jolie's version of Lara would have beaten up all three boys without breaking a sweat. A few minutes before this scene we saw Lara holding her own in a kickboxing match. Vikander's version shows panic, runs away, and needs to be rescued by Drunk Asian Boat-owning Stereotype. You go, girl!
5. Lara escapes the Evil Men on the Mysterious Island by Jumping off a Cliff into a Roaring RiverTM, barely escaping going over a waterfall by clinging to the ancient ruins of a downed airplane. The plane looks like it's been perched over the waterfall for at least a decade- yet within seconds after Lara pulls herself into the rotting fuselage to escape the Roaring River, it begins to disintegrate under her feet. Seriously, WTF? This plane has survived floods, storms, probably thousands of tree trunks crashing into it, and has remained perched over that waterfall- but when a 110-pound woman is added to it's bulk, it begins to dissolve like a graham cracker in milk?
6. The Breaking Into The TombTM scene is pretty much a poor retread of Indy's final journey to reach the grail in The Last Crusade. Except not as interesting, because....
7. Alicia Vikander. I'm sorry, can someone explain this person to me? She worked in Ex Machina because she played a soulless android. But in every other film I've seen her in, she's continued to play that same soulless android. Her expression never changed in two hours of Jason Bourne. And she shows all the range of a garden gnome in this waste of time. Did she ever actually act in anything?
The latest Tomb Raider was supposed to launch a new series of films, but it returned only $274.7 million at the worldwide box office- oddly enough, the exact amount of cash generated by the 2001 version, which means that it was a significantly less successful film and that the franchise is probably dead for good (I don't think that 1990s nostalgia is going to come back in twenty years.) So I guess I won't be complaining about any sequels in the near future. Which means commercials will have to stay terrible to keep this blog going. I'm not worried.