An excerpt from my script review for Tomb Raider which will be available 03/19/18:
2.) Plot Stability
Aside from the fact that the World’s G8est Actor, Mr. Walton Goggins, should make this an instant success?
The advice here is to avoid plot and scenes that work well in a video game, but not in a movie.
Having said that, things started off with promise.
We’re presented with a Lara Croft that is almost a polar opposite from Miss Jolie’s previous version, aside from the obvious she and Miss Vikander are both good looking.
The rebooted version is broke, dirty, and even if she’s adventurous, any talent she possesses is raw at best.
It’s the beginning of an origin story, and I was enjoying it, but curious around page 20 how we were going to fit the origin in and get her to a lost island and raiding a tomb in 80 pages or less.
The simple truth is we didn’t.
Lara receives no real training (aside from being enrolled in archery as a child), and suddenly has the unrelenting stamina of a gladiator only because the writer wishes it to be so.
And that brings us back to my point, once Lara’s shipwrecked on the island, the action becomes more video game levels than story driven plot.
Take the ship sinking scene. I’ve not played the whole game, but this is a scene right out of the rebooted video game of the same name.
That’s all well and good, but it felt stale for a film.
Another example, the Japanese Bomber scene.
Very interesting setting…for a video game.
There’s no true character building, or story, it’s just Lara in a unique situation we watch her get out of, and the trouble is with it being a film we’re not directly controlling her so we’re less invested.
Imagine how interested you are watching someone else play a video game.
Same with her running through the jungle or sneaking around with her father.
It’s not just episodic, it’s interesting only in the terms of if we were controlling her going through a trial and error towards success.
Her just succeeding is boring.
Aside from that, the whole Himiko plot was rushed, if not silly.
So was her father not recognizing her. I mean I get he’s been on the island, and might have had visions of her, but they would all have been younger. Twenty one year old Lara would have been a bit of a shock, and warranted some sort of discussion.
But just like her newfound endurance, so too is Mr. Croft’s return to humanity rushed so we can wrap shit up.
I had higher hopes for this script, and glad it did well if only for Mr. Goggins’ sake, but in the end it feels like another example of why video games don’t translate well onscreen.
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