First Look: Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider
The history of big screen video game adaptations is a wasteland of promising franchises, big stars and interesting directors who faced the impossible task of reconstructing the scrolling and button mashing into a story that makes sense - and failing. Street Fighter, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, and Hitman all failed at translating basic story elements into critical and financial success, and even last year's Warcraft and Assassin's Creed could not capitalize on their talented creators, popular casts or mega-sized budgets to provide a faithful and captivating adaptation.
So it’s a mighty task ahead for the Tomb Raider reboot, whose first images and plot synopsis were provided today by Vanity Fair. In the new incarnation, Oscar Winner Alicia Vikander follows up on her breakout 2015 (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.). This version will be adapting Lara Croft from the 2013 Crystal Dynamics/Square Enix version of the game, a critically acclaimed version that sold more than 1 million copies in the first 48 hours of release. The version was noted for adding a more grounded, survivalist tale to Lara Croft, and reducing much of the ‘jiggly physics’ and outlandish character shaping that had come to define the game series in the larger culture. Vikander’s Croft will be a 21 year old who eschews her families business fortune in favor of a more traditional life, but is drawn to the location of her father’s mysterious disappearance 7 years earlier, on an island off the Japanese Coast.
This version of Tomb Raider seems to have some serious pedigree that may propel it to the front of the line of video game adaptations. But it’s an uphill battle in a landscape with a lot of broken down franchises on the side of the road - and the often eye rolling phrase ‘shared universe’ has been discussed by film producers who hold rights to other games such as Hitman, Deus Ex and Just Cause.
Norwegian director Roar Uthaug, whose disaster and survival story The Wave is currently available on Netflix Streaming in the US, will be making his studio debut. The cast is rounded out with Dominic West, Walton Goggins and Daniel Wu.
Do you think Tomb Raider has what it takes to lead the pack of video game adaptations?