Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

    “Tomb Raider” brings something new to adventure films

    With last week’s release of Roar Uthaug’s “Tomb Raider”, I was concerned that my inexperience with the franchise would lessen the experience of watching it in theaters. However, although I have never laid eyes on a previous “Tomb Raider” film or played a previous “Tomb Raider” game, this newest installment of the series thoroughly surprised me as an independently entertaining story.
    “Tomb Raider”, tells the tale of Lara Croft, the daughter of a wealthy English nobleman, who has not seen her father since she was a child. Long before the events of the movie, he left Lara in pursuit of an ancient, legendary evil he claims cannot fall into the wrong hands without dire consequence. Now, years after his disappearance, Lara receives a hidden message in an object he left for her to inherit, and her treacherous journey to the secluded island of Yamatai begins.
    In many ways, “Tomb Raider”, at first, feels eerily similar to several other famous films of its genre. I may not be able to confirm how well it relates to previous “Tomb Raider” movies, but its connection to films like “The Mummy” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is undeniably present throughout the film. The setup of the primary conflict, the setting of the vast majority of the film’s events, and even the booby trap-ridden journey through the titular tomb all draw directly from such predecessors.
    This does not mean, however, that “Tomb Raider” doesn’t add anything new or interesting to the genre. Sure, the general structure of the film as a whole mimics that of other archaeological adventure films, but by the end of the movie, a couple of key twists in the overall plot and premise allow “Tomb Raider” to really define itself as a truly unique story. Thus, by combining elements of its predecessors with new surprises and alterations, “Tomb Raider” does a fantastic job of breathing new life into an otherwise well-established and formulaic genre.
    Beyond mere plot twists, however, “Tomb Raider” also bends the rules of its genre in the way that it portrays its protagonist. It isn’t often we, as viewers, get to see a strong female character act as the sole hero in an action movie, and Lara Croft does just that. Certainly, a number of male characters aid and support her along the way but, in the end, Lara is the only one capable of resolving the conflicts at hand. In this way, “Tomb Raider” also does a commendable job of maintaining the momentum of recent female-centric action films like “Wonder Woman”. Unlike “Wonder Woman”, though, “Tomb Raider” doesn’t overtly call attention to its protagonist’s gender. In doing so, I think it normalizes the idea of a female hero and allows the viewer to focus more of his or her attention on the plot, itself.
    So, if you enjoy movies like “The Mummy” and are a fan of “Indiana Jones”, then I highly recommend giving “Tomb Raider” a shot. It may not pan out exactly as you might expect, but in an era filled with remakes and revivals, I think a little different is exactly what we need.

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    “Tomb Raider” brings something new to adventure films