Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Tomb Raider Film Review

After training for 7 months for Tomb Raider with Magnus LygdbackAlicia Vikander has given us all abs envy, but it's her legs that are so splendid on the red carpet. Ballet trained, which of course gave her a head start, but she really has put in the hours getting that rock hard Lara Croft body.

And when we are introduced to director Roar Uthaug's Lara Croft for 2018, she's a hell for leather cycle courier, one of those in the London gig economy; eating her kick boxing coach's apple to save money, and barely making rent. There was almost a scene when she might have a date, but the poor lad bottled it, much to his family's disappointment. I think I saw more in that with him as her sidekick, but this Lara is on her own. She takes on a gig as the fox in an urban bike hunt, trailing a paint pot line, but ends up in the local police station when she comes a cropper with a copper. And paints a police car in the crash.

The lovely elegant Kristin Scott Thomas' Ana comes to bail her out, and suggests that it's time she comes to sign the papers. We all know who Lara is. But only she thinks she's not that Croft. Dad is Lord Croft, played by Dominic West. Shown in flashbacks he is getting even better with age. But Dad has been missing for 7 years, and if Lara signs the papers to assume her inheritance, it means that she is accepting that it's true, and her beloved Dad is actually dead.

Ana and Derek Jacobi's Mr. Yaffe have the papers at the office, and all she has to do is sign, but Mr. Yaffe makes the mistake of giving Lara a puzzle, prior to the ink on the page, and playing with it a slip of paper falls out. And she's off to solve the riddle. She finds the secret life of her father and to raise funds for her adventure pawns her valuable necklace. Jaime Winstom and Nick Frost having a laugh and striking a hard bargain as the Thenadiers of the pawn industry. We'll see them again.

In her father's papers Lord Croft was searching for the tomb of the Japanese Queen Himiko. A deadly queen who killed people just by her touch, so powerful was she. Destroy all the papers so she can never be found are Lara's instructions. But of course Lara has them all packed up in her bag when she lands in Hong Kong. An unfriendlier Hong Kong than I remember, but she's more than capable of taking on three young gutter snipes. Seeking assistance from a drunken sailor, who as luck would have it, is exactly who she was looking for. When he sobers up Daniel Wu's Lu Ren realises he's been had, and he's signed up for an adventure across the Devil's Sea. To certain death. On the Japanese island of Yamiti.

Possibly true as they are shipwrecked on said island, and to be honest, first light is not promising. If you've seen the Lara Croft Barbie doll you'll know she's battered and bruised. Walter Coggins is stuck on the island with his men, unable to come home until he delivers Himiko to his bosses. And to his relief, and humanities disaster, Richard Croft's notebook in Lara's bag has just given him the location of the last resting place of the killer queen, Typhoid Mary you might say.

Lu Ren has also been taken captive, but these two are up for explosives, and not the kind the men are blasting into the rocks. And Lara Croft is no one unless she's a tomb raider, so we know that she has to find the tomb of Himiko. And this is when The Raider's of The Lost Ark and Indiana Jones knowledge comes in. Puzzles galore and wild tomb defences, plus 1000 hand maidens are lined up to stop our evil queen being stolen. They may be long dead but they aren't ideal bed partners.

Pitching up beside Angelina Jolie's Lara, Alicia's Lara is slight, but she's a clever little sprout. Can she save humanity?, and who is the real power behind the throne?

To train for the role Alicia had to be able to run, fight, and scale caves, so she followed an intense wellness plan that included eating five times a day (with lots of protein, green vegetables, and slow carbs), strength training, and mixed martial arts. And we can see her martial arts in the ring on screen. And that was just the beginning. Once filming started, she would get up at 4 a.m. to fit in full-body workout sessions on the beach and inside the lush forests of Cape Town. All before her makeup trailer call time.

The results? She added 12 pounds of muscle to her naturally slight figure, and developed an internet-famous eight pack. And ultimately ate and spat out every obstacle that came with portraying one of the most powerful female characters, down to every last push-up and chokehold.

'She is a fantastic mix of traits—tough, smart, vulnerable, plus she’s kick ass!' said Alicia. It’s a lot of fun trying to get into Lara’s head, and the challenge of getting to grips with such a physical role is an element of this project that I find an absolute thrill'.

So it's time to braid our hair for a fun ride. Because Alicia might just be the kick ass Lara Croft she describes.

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