'Tomb Raider' Trailer: What to Make of the Video Game Reboot

As the first trailer for the new Tomb Raider movie announces, Lara Croft's legend is beginning ... but it's clear from the first glimpse of Roar Uthaug's cinematic reboot of the video game franchise that this new version is going to be very unlike the Angelina Jolie vehicles of old. Heat Vision's Graeme McMillan and Ryan Parker try to get over their surprise at a desexualized Lara Croft and ask: Could this movie be better than anticipated?

McMillan: Well, that was certainly not the trailer I was expecting. You and I had been talking about what we thought about Tomb Raider as a property before the trailer dropped, and we were both very focused on the "old" Lara Croft, this hyper-sexualized character who just couldn't work as something targeted at a mainstream audience today, and this trailer shows that the filmmakers seem to agree. This isn't the Lara Croft that people thought they knew, and I think that change gives this trailer an edge that it otherwise wouldn't have.

Parker: I could not agree more. I love Gal Gadot and Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman, and I was really worried Tomb Raider was going to be a step backward. Is that fair? Well, we are talking about a character whose videogame-avatar body proportions were grotesquely overblown and a character who had a shower scene almost as soon as the 2001 Angelina Jolie version began. I was glad to see this trailer was not that. 

McMillan: I think Alicia Vikander does a good job as Lara Croft in the trailer — she comes across as believably haunted and driven without being petulant (the Young Bruce Wayne problem), and she convinces in the brief glimpse of badass-ery we get to see, too. She seems more like Katniss Everdeen with Iron Fist's backstory — that bit at the start of the trailer as she gives her name in the reception of her family's offices really made me think of the Netflix Iron Fist show — than Lara Croft, but that's not a bad thing, probably. Are you on board for Vikander being the next big action heroine?

Parker: Oh, I could totally see it! I didn't even think of the character as Bruce Wayne-esque, which is great. But, for a split second, it almost felt a wee bit like National Treasure, which I suppose in a way is unavoidable. 

McMillan: It's probably a good thing that "New Lara" — although, really, it's the same one that has been around since the video game rebooted the franchise in 2013 — brings such a fresh energy to the trailer, because the rest of it feels … very familiar? We even have the "building noise that is broken up by complete silence" (1:01 through 1:10) and "bass drop combined with slow-motion action beat" (1:41) aural cliche to accompany the hero looking for the truth behind what happened to their father setup. Am I nitpicking? Should I be more excited by seeing Lara Croft either running, jumping or falling for most of the trailer? I mean, I guess that is appropriate for a movie based on a video game, but still…

Parker: Ugh. I hate to be "that guy," but I still think this trailer misses its target. It aims small. What I mean by that is it seems to be targeted directly at fans of the videogame. And that seems to work out rarely for Hollywood adaptations (see Assassin's Creed). Scenes from the trailer look like they were lifted from the game, which is also confusing to me because fans who love the game and will want to see the film will likely have no interest in seeing those same scenes unfold again. Graphics these days are sweet. If you've seen it once...

McMillan: I will now shamefully admit that I had completely forgotten Assassin's Creed. (Sorry, Michael Fassbender.) Are video game movies doomed, then? Is there a middle ground between staying true to the source material and offering something that could make those who haven't played the game want to see the movie? I mean, I'm cautiously excited about Tomb Raider based on this trailer, but I'm familiar with the source material. Am I part of the problem, Ryan?!? 

Parker: Get a hold of yourself, man! I am 100 percent sure a "videogame movie" is going to break through. I am just not sure it is going to be this one. I think part of the problem is that this video game character has been through so many iterations (on the big screen and console screen), there is no solid jumping-off point that doesn't use a lion's share of the work that exists. 

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