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March 26, 2018

Tomb Raider (2018) --- "Girl Uncovers A Fabled Tomb In Japan. What's Inside Unknown."

Plot Summary
Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished years earlier. Hoping to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance, Croft embarks on a perilous journey to his last-known destination -- a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan. The stakes couldn't be higher as Lara must rely on her sharp mind, blind faith and stubborn spirit to venture into the unknown. (1)

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Hello, Movie Buffs! 
     Directed by Norwegian director Roar Uthang (The Wave) and starring Alicia Vikander, Daniel Wu, Dominic West, and Walter Goggins, Tomb Raider (2018) is an action-packed origin story of epic proportions. I was surprised that this film was not directed by a well-known Hollywood director – like Christopher Nolan, Michael Bay, etc. – but rather by a Norwegian director whose prior experience was directing Norwegian films. Comparing what I knew going into the film and what I know now, I believe that Roar Uthang did a wonderful job with this film and I cannot wait to see if he will make a second installment. This is not a reboot of past Tomb Raider films but rather it is a new take on an old series and you don’t even have to play the video game to understand the story.

       According to other reviews, the story is built on the reboot video games but once the film reaches its primary destination then it starts to go a different route. This allows for the filmmakers to show glimpses and teasers of what is to come for possible future Tomb Raider films and by the end, you’ll wish you could go buy it right now. The story is well-grounded and gritty with more focus on Lara Croft’s earlier days making this an origin story which is a welcome change. There is a definite Indiana Jones meets the Mummy vibe but the film stands on its own which is its greatest asset. It showcases how Lara Croft became the Tomb Raider and what influenced her styling choices; basically how she came to be who she is.
     One of the biggest selling points of the film is the action sequences which were tense, thrilling, and fast-paced. The story is very appealing but what people will remember the most about this film is the how intense the action was and that there was a lot of it. In some films, the action is fast and intense but by the final act, it starts to slow down to a crawl.  However, this is not the case. The final act did not disappoint and while things did start to slow down a bit, the overall ending came together nicely and hinted and possible future installments. In addition, the visual effects were stunning, Junkie XL did a phenomenal job with the music score, and the entire cast was solid throughout.
     Comparing Jolie’s portrayal of Lara to Vikander’s portrayal of Lara is wrong because there is a huge difference. Jolie’s Lara was a big-chested, jumping, semi-talkative, 90’s female Indiana Jones but that Lara is gone and in her place is Vikander’s Lara who has personality and depth much like Harrison Ford's Indiana Jones. Despite this being her first big action film, Alicia Vikander (Danish Girl) does a great job in selling both the character, Lara Croft, and the danger of the situations she finds herself in. Her portrayal shows a hero that is flawed and yet keeps pushing forward despite the circumstances she faces; she’s athletic, intelligent and a classic beauty that doesn’t need to be flamboyant in order to stand out. Also, I was deeply impressed to discover that she did all of her own stunts which I believe made it more real.
     The supporting cast was great as well. It was nice to see Dominic West (Les Miserables, mini TV series) as Lord Richard Croft play a non-villain this time. Daniel Wu (Warcraft: The Beginning) was good as Lara’s sidekick, Lu Ren, but he didn’t exactly stand out from the crowd. Walter Goggins (Walking Dead; Maze Runner: Death Cure) as Mathias Vogel, was a great villain as usual.

     Overall, Tomb Raider (2018) is a film worth seeing in theaters. Forget the fact that the basis of the film is from a video game because while Warcraft (2016) and Assassin’s Creed (2017) stumbled, Tomb Raider goes beyond the pack with a superb story, exhilarating action, and solid performances that far exceeds my expectations. This is not a reboot film but rather it is a new take on an old series and you don’t even have to play the video game to understand the story. For those who are hesitant to see Tomb Raider because they did not enjoy Jolie’s rendition or they're not fans of the video game, do not hesitate anymore because you will be very surprised by how great this film is. I highly recommend this film to everyone.

"All myths are foundations of reality."
- Lord Richard Croft

Final Vote
Worth Seeing:  9 of 10 stars
Worth Buying:  9 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar 
Indiana Jones and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001)
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)
Mummy, The (1999)
Mummy, The (2017)
Mummy Returns, The (2001)
Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, The (2008)
National Treasure (2004)
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007)
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (2010)
Sahara (2005)

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