Tomb Raider 3D

Lara Croft (The Danish Girl's Alicia Vikander) travels to a mythical island to uncover the mystery behind her father's disappearance. Yes, based on the video game series of the same name, which has sold over 58 million copies to date.

Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer (Dominic West, TV's The Wire) who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father's global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he's truly gone. Going explicitly against his final wishes, she leaves everything she knows behind in search of her dad's last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. Suddenly, the stakes couldn't be higher for Lara, who, against the odds and armed with only her sharp mind, blind faith and inherently stubborn spirit, must learn to push herself beyond her limits as she journeys into the unknown.

At some point, Hollywood is going to realise they will never make a successful video game adaptation. This new Tomb Raider might not be the final nail in the coffin, but it definitely won’t zap any new life into the genre.

The problems start from scene one. This iteration of Lara Croft is introduced doing some boxing training, which it turns out she can’t pay for (she has refused her inheritance, Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins-style). Seems like an expensive hobby to take up if you’re broke, but then the film needs her to know how to fight.

So far, so nonsensical, and events proceed in a similar fashion before winding up on an island off Japan, and eventually, a tomb. That should be where things get good, but we’re served up the same type of spiky traps and puzzles that we’ve seen a million times before, while the plot flirts with the supernatural before settling on something much more boring.

It’s an attempt at a more ‘grounded’ Tomb Raider, and to be fair, we’re a long way from Angelina Jolie punching a shark.

And Alicia Vikander can act (although this Lara is, as has become de rigueur for modern blockbuster leads, a bit of a dickhead). In fact, the casting is all great, down to distracting cameos from the likes of Kristen Scott Thomas and Nick Frost.

But why get Walton Goggins as your villain then give him such a milquetoast role? The highlight of the entire film is the few seconds where he taunts Lara with her childhood nickname ‘Sprout’, and we’re given a tantalising glimpse at what Goggins can do when he’s off the leash.

Some dismal attempts at Marvel-style franchise-building are threaded through Tomb Raider leading to its final sequel-threatening moments. It’s endearingly optimistic, but it’s mainly just irritating.

Sydney Morning Herald

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If the entire exotic adventure genre is built on an irresponsibility that no longer passes muster, why bother with a new Tomb Raider at all?

Telegraph (UK)

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More than the sets or spectacle, Vikander pulls you into her picture, as if we’ve signed up for a special edition of the game where Lara Croft has only one life to spare, one go to get it right.

Total Film (UK)

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Vikander packs a punch but this Tomb Raider is a long way off the Holy Grail of the first three Indy movies.

Empire (UK)

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It’s a different kind of Tomb Raider, certainly. But for an adventure film, it’s disconcertingly dull.

Guardian (UK)

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Throughout Vikander maintains a kind of serene evenness of manner. Blandness is Lara’s theme.

New York Times

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Ms. Vikander certainly looks the role, with flowing hair and a washboard stomach you could play the blues on. She runs, jumps and leaps into this yawning void with grim determination.

FilmInk (Australia)

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...while it never becomes eye-rollingly awful, it rarely attains a level much higher than mildly interesting.

NZ Herald (Dominic Corry)

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There are worse ways to spend two hours.

Newsroom.co.nz (Darren Bevan)

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Underneath the spit and polish of the regeneration, there's a nagging feeling that what passes in Tomb Raider is all too familiar...