The cinematic history of video game movies is, shall we say, wanting. For some reason, after decades of attempts, there is yet to be a critically and commercially successful video game adaptation. However, I would argue that among all the misses, disappointments and horror shows, 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider stands as one of the better efforts (well, that and Mortal Kombat of course). The Angelina Jolie-starring film did well enough to get a sequel, and now a decade and a half later, the character is getting a big screen reboot in March’s Tomb Raider. This time, Oscar winner Alicia Vikander is playing the iconic video game heroine. Vikander recently spoke about how her Lara Croft will be different than the one that came before, saying:
[Angelina] made that an iconic role. I knew we wouldn’t be able to redo that, and that’s not what we’re trying to do either. We go back to the beginning, and tell the origin story.
Despite the mixed feelings about the previous Lara Croft films, Angelina Jolie is Lara Croft to the wider public. So this new film will have to do something to differentiate itself and the portrayal of Lara Croft. This shouldn’t be difficult. As a reboot, Tomb Raider will be looking to capitalize on the fanbase and love for the character while also telling a new story and improving on what came before. Interestingly, the reboot of Tomb Raider on the big screen follows a reboot for the character’s video game adventures. In 2013, a new video game was released called simply Tomb Raider, which relaunched the franchise and told a fresh origin story. That is the same thing that will be happening here, and it is clear that this new movie takes a lot of inspiration from the game.
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As Alicia Vikander told Total Film Magazine, this movie will be an origin story featuring a younger Lara Croft, so this film has the opportunity to show a very different character than the one inhabited by Angelina Jolie. Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft was already fully formed as a worldly and confident individual when we met her. She was self-assured and an experienced adventurer. By taking Lara back to the beginning, Alicia Vikander can show a Lara that, though smart and independent, is lacking in direction or purpose. You don’t become the woman Angelina Jolie portrayed without many life experiences to get you to that point. This reboot will allow Alicia Vikander to show how this character matures, grows and learns as she inches her way towards becoming that iconic, female Indiana Jones-type figure.
Tomb Raider is directed by Roar Uthaug and is one of the most anticipated films of the year. The reboot looks like it will be sending Lara Croft on a brutal survival adventure that should grow her legend. With any luck, maybe finally this might be the video game movie to really break through. We don’t have long to wait to find out, as Tomb Raider breaks its way into theaters on March 16. For all the biggest movies hitting this year, check out our premiere guide.