My heart sinks every time I hear there’s going to be an film adaptation of a video game.
Because generally they are shit.
One look at the trailer for Rampage, for example, and you can see that we’re skating on thin ice right there. A film based on a game that has no plot other than some monsters smashing buildings? That’s going to be great. Oh, what, The Rock’s in it as the loveable keeper/friend of the scientifically nonsensical monster gorilla? Oh well then, book me a ticket now.
If nothing else, after Battleships the film adaptation of Rampage pours fuel on the fire of my theory that we’re not far from a Pop Up Pirate film, with Jackie Chan as the titular barrel-bound seafarer.
But counterbalancing the impending arrival of Rampage’s horrors, and countless shocking game adaptations before it, is Tomb Raider.
At last it’s a film of a game that’s actually done right.
Gone are Angelina Jolie’s cheekbones and “one of the lads” Lara. We’re mining Lara’s latest videogame reboot (she’s had a couple) as the source material and it’s done really well. Lara’s previous film outings have shown a Lara comfortable with the action lifestyle, friends with crack army units and a team of helpers to do all the behind the scenes work.
Our Lara now, though, is none of that. She’s a girl getting the stuffing beaten out of her who finds herself having to dig deep within herself in order to survive a tough ordeal on the island of Yamatai.
Yamatai is familiar to anyone who’s played the first new Tomb Raider game. It’s an awful place, home to a powerful ancient spirit that stops anyone leaving by surrounding the whole place with the shittest weather known to man.
Movie Yamatai isn’t quite as bad. It almost looks nice. Apart from the lost tomb of the Death Queen, the discovery of which could destroy the world.
The film borrows from both Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider to bring a decent story mainly drawn from the first but with plenty of the betrayals of the second.
The story isn’t the only thing it borrows. Lara’s bow, pistols and ice axe all feature and all raised a smile from me because… well because Lara.
There’s also enough musical cues from the games to keep everyone happy.
There was one thing missing, though. One thing I sort of hoped would pop up but, sadly, didn’t. As the film starts with Lara having turned her back on Croft Manor and all its trappings, I had high hopes that she would return and we’d be treated to a tiny sequence where she bumps into her old butler and he looks warily at the walk in freezer.
Maybe in the sequel.
After all, jobs to be done.