So, I watched the new Tomb Raider movie over the weekend, and, it was good!
It was a silly action-adventure romp that had considerable nods to Indiana Jones, to the videogame reboot, and to the original videogames.
It was fun!
It also didn’t fall into the obliterating-femininity-to-create-strength trope of the first reboot videogame, which I wrote about here, which was nice. There was the shock and difficulty of the actions she had to take to survive, but it wasn’t … gratuitous, or done with the level of glee and joy that the game revelled in when it came to hurting Lara.
It was also one of the first videogame-based movies I’ve seen that was, well, not … terrible? Or at least not forgettable, which is perhaps a better metric, since I’m struggling to remember other videogame movies that I’ve watched, like Doom or the original Tomb Raider.
There are others I’ve seen, referencing the wikipedia page on the subject, and while some were fun for a very young me, like Mortal Kombat or Wing Commander, they were, ultimately … perhaps beyond my ability to judge as “good” within the frame of “did I have fun watching this?”
The Ending, it’s a Spoiler
So, in my review of Tomb Raider and, well, overall rant at the nonsense of the story, the movie uses most of the same plot.
And actually, this is okay. I’ve matured a decent amount since then and I can talk about the plot without dropping into ranting about the content in a way that I would have previously.
I say “most” because they drop the paranormal aspect and go with a Super Contagious Virus Thing That’s Also Making Zombies so that is definitely a thing we’re going to see more of because Zombies Amirite, and the whole “you can’t leave the island” is because of the reefs surrounding the island, not the Himiko-driven storms.
So I got my wish! Instead of mysticism we have Things That Plausibly Are Real, with a side order of Sorry Dad Paranormal Isn’t Real, Mom Remains Dead.
I kinda preferred the paranormal storytelling. It was markedly more … epic, the stakes were somehow higher. A super virus thing, we know how to deal with that. We have systems in place to deal with outbreaks, and while it would be a surprisingly intense outbreak it wouldn’t be out of context, it would be … manageable. Probably.
Bringing in magic and soul transfer in a world that has decided these things Aren’t Real means that if Himiko escapes the island and her rotted prison of a body she becomes a complete black swan event, completely out of context for the world in general. How do we manage this? How do we consider the myriad of systems that are set up to believe that Magic Doesn’t Real Even?
How does science as a whole react? It’d break quite a lot of our physics in some fairly interesting ways!
The paranormal story becomes a juxtaposition, it becomes a contextual break that drives more than just the story, it derails more than just the lives of those on the island, it will derail the philosophical underpinnings of the entire world in a way that a fast-spreading zombie outbreak just can’t manage.
And those stakes feel much higher than what was in the movie.
I had fun. It was a good movie for having fun and watching some stuff explode and also be all Indiana Jones-esque. I wouldn’t watch it again, but I’d definitely recommend seeing it.