Angelina Jolie and her gun-holstering shorts were the face of Lara Croft for years, but the March 2018 “Tomb Raider” reboot introduces pants, archery and Alicia Vikander. In the trailer’s first five seconds we’re hit with fast-paced, heart-pounding, archery-fueled action.
Yes, you could say we’re a little excited.
The new film is a prequel to the franchise, featuring a 21-year-old Lara who’s struggling to find her place in life. The IMDB synopsis teases: “Determined to forge her own path, (Lara) refuses to take the reins of her father’s global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he’s truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death.”
Whatever drives her, we’re glad it involves archery. Lara “leaves everything she knows behind in search of her dad’s last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan,” continues IMDB.
So begins the story’s origin. Movies based on an origin story tend to be hit or miss, with no in-between. They drag out the story, making you wait until the sequel for any actual action, but sometimes they find a good balance of half-exposition, half-action. The problem with the all-exposition approach is that filmmakers risk boring the audience so thoroughly with the first movie that they don’t want the second.
“History shows that making the audience wait for the sequel to get the movie they wanted the first time is a surefire way to make sure that a sequel never actually comes about,” Forbes reports. We’ll have to wait until March to see if “Tomb Raider” dispels such worries.
What we know with certainty is that it features archery. The trailer opens with Lara running along the island, longbow in hand. She launches a rapid shot, and this whole thing holds incredible promise.
“What we really wanted to tell with this was a survival story,” director Roar Uthaug tells IGN. “Surviving on a desolate island like this, it felt like the bow and arrow was the natural weapon for Lara, and it also plays such a huge part in the game.” Even the movie’s title card uses an image of an arrow sailing across the words “Tomb Raider.”
Lara is no stranger to archery. The “Tomb Raider” Wikia page lists a plethora of bows used in the video games, ranging from a recurve, to a compound, to a longbow, and finally to specialty bows in “Rise of the Tomb Raider.” She even has poisonous, flaming and exploding trick arrows. If the movie features all of those, Lara might give Hawkeye a run for his money. She also uses her bows for more than shooting arrows. In the video games, she strangles bad guys with them. It’s hard to say whether the movie will feature such hard-core lethality, but its trailer suggests we’ll see bow and arrows used the old-fashioned way.
“With death-defying waterfall jumps and Katniss-style archery skills, the new trailer reveals there will be no shortage of Vikander’s ripped physique,” notes PureWow. That’s a welcome change, given the movie’s rocky start when fans criticized its first poster. Many on Twitter thought Alicia’s neck was comically long and obviously photoshopped. Some even jokingly tried to “fix” it, as seen on Eurogamer.
Reboots will always be closely compared to their originals, and Polygon notes the difference between the storylines: “Vikander’s portrayal of the character is based on Square Enix’s newer iteration of the heroine protagonist. Everything from Vikander’s outfit to the new setting she explores in the movie are based on the respective 2013 and 2015 games, ‘Tomb Raider’ and ‘Rise of the Tomb Raider.’” With Angelina Jolie’s two films both featuring a mature and seasoned Lara Croft from the ’90s video games, it makes sense that the new films cover the newer video game stories.
Alicia Vikander looks poised to bring a great archery character to the big screen. Any movie trailer that features archery is a good start, and we can only hope “Tomb Raider” is even better.
“Tomb Raider” opens in theaters March 16, 2018. If you leave the theater feeling inspired, be sure to visit your local archery range.