More than fifteen years ago, the cinema was already trying to seize the figure of Lara Croft. Roar Uthaug is trying his luck again today. With a little more success?
Lara Croft is undoubtedly one of the most famous figures in video games. Very early on, film producers saw it as the bait of choice for a young and large audience. Although they were rather profitable, the opus starring Angelina Jolie will not mark either the fans of the saga, nor the cinephiles.
Cleverly rebooted by Square Enix, the game itself began to change in 2013, presenting a more natural and much less sexualized heroine. A salutary change that has not gone unnoticed at a time when the empowerment of women is largely occupying the media scene.
While remaining entertaining, this new feature film had to convey a renewed image of the British adventurer. The choice of Alicia Vikander, which we did not necessarily expect on this kind of project, proves to be judicious. Less fleshy than its predecessor, its physical aptitudes and its tone correspond better to the less manusculine vision carried by the game.
As in the latter, the director stages a resourceful, facetious woman, but above all treated ruthlessly. Falls, blows, open wounds, the actress is no more gentle than a man. We also feel that the production wanted to smooth out the issues related to her femininity as much as possible. Square Enix had shown a little more daring on that side.
If mimicry with the game makes it possible to restore the image of its heroine, it has the effect of sanitizing an already starving scenario. What may be pleasant to play is not necessarily pleasant to watch.
The staging of Uthaug is clean, but never lets itself go with a grain of madness. The first hour rather pleasant, leaves room for an ersatz Indiana Jones much less successful, despite the presence of an engaging cast (Dominic West or Walton Goggins, excellent in The 8 bastards ). We would have liked the film to separate a bit from its video game mythology so as not to just look like one long cinematic scene.
At no time do you feel concerned by the stakes of the story, which the less attentive may even forget during the session. Once again, it will be a question of finding an ancestral mummy with amulets and sliding doors.
Uthaug tries to infuse an ounce of depth into the ensemble by forging a difficult relationship between a father and his daughter, but these scenes fall into such sentimentality as to weaken Vikander’s energetic performance. The studios have found the right muse, we hope that the sequel (announced in the film) will give her a script.