Lara Croft started out in 1996 as a classic video game that consisted of only six people involved in the development. Tomb Raider would be critically acclaimed for its variety, graphics, fascinating environments. Other than the game being an instant success, Lara herself would become of the most recognizable video game characters of all time. Today, she is still the most popular female video game character.
Five years after her video game debut, Lara Croft would later be in the filming world with Angelina Jolie playing her. The film was not met with positive reviews, but it was a box office success and Jolie was praised for her role as the British archeologist. A sequel followed in 2003, but it was panned and performed worse than the first movie. Fifteen years later, a reboot film would star Alicia Vikander. It was critically mixed, but it was a box-office disappointment despite passing its budget.
Movies based on video games usually get a bad rep for having an inconsistent plot unless fans of said video game know the characters and plot well. Out of the video game movie adaptations, Tomb Raider is among those that are close to the source material thanks to having a simple concept of a character like Lara travel around the world to search for rare and powerful artifacts.
Despite how the films fare, there are some interesting aspects that would not have been possible if it weren’t for them. Here are twenty-five things about the Tomb Raider films that fans missed.
25 Future Spy
One of Lara’s rivals in the film is Alex West, an American adventurer who is mostly in for the money in gaining the artifacts. He was portrayed by Daniel Craig, who you might know to be famous for his role as James Bond.
His American accent was out of place.
His performance is good, but the accent sounded nasally. While he was not as known during the time of Tomb Raider’s release, Craig would later be a well-known name thanks to the James Bond movies.
24 Needing Help
One, well two, of Lara’s most recognizable traits is her over-the-top chest. After a programming accident, the team behind Tomb Raider decided to keep her that way, and it was the right call. For Angelina Jolie taking on the role, she had to make some adjustments to stay true to the character.
Because of that, she had to pad her undergarment so that she would have a similar size. Thankfully, it didn’t go over the top since her in-game character’s chest is bigger.
23 Talk About Irony
Those that play the Tomb Raider games know that Lara’s weapons are very reliable and have been used to take out her obstacles such as ferocious animals and unfortunately, humans. While Lara in the 2001 film has her iconic guns, never once did she actually shoot anyone.
Throughout the film, we were too busy focusing on Lara in different ways, but it is crazy how Lara never harmed anyone with her weapons. She ended up getting lucky for not wasting a lot of bullets unlike her game counterpart.
22 Not Again
Jolie captured the hearts of fans and critics for her performance as Lara despite the film not being a critical success. Due to the commercial success of the first film, a sequel was produced and released in 2003. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life would be a commercial success despite its smaller budget, but it was critically panned like the previous film.
Another sequel was planned, but Jolie declined.
In her defense, she made the right call since it would only get worse if the film series continued on.
21 Another Lara?
After Jolie decided to not reprise her role as Lara, it would be years until plans for a Tomb Raider live-action movie would be in the works. Who would have been the star of this film reboot?
None other than the bombshell Megan Fox.
She might have the look and charisma to play the beautiful video game character, but she actually declined. Because of her decision, the 2009 film never picked up and it would be another nine years until a next Tomb Raider movie came out.
20 Worth His Salt
It is a shame how the Tomb Raider films are not loved by critics due to their flat storylines and generic action, but the references to moments from the video games truly shine. For instance, Lara’s butler, named Hillary in the first two films, has a scene where he uses a tea tray to protect himself when Lara smashed her clock with a hammer.
While it is not exactly the same, it is still a nice Easter egg for fans who played the games. Now it would have been better if there was a flashback in the films where a young Lara locks her butler in the freezer.
19 Adapting Wonders
Just like with the game references used in the first two Tomb Raider films, the reboot also has its fair share of references from the 2013 video game. By the time Lara escaped Vogel and landed from the parachute, she gets pierced from a stick at her side.
Those that played the game know that the beginning of the game has Lara go through some events like that. Since the reboot is darker compared to the original Tomb Raider, scenes like this struck fans and moviegoers to the core.
18 Sad, But Subtle
Tomb Raider does a great job in capturing the video games from the reboot era and it is a refreshing take to see a video game film adaptation be this good. Like with the previous entry, this movie has a lot of references to call back to the games it is adapting.
However, there are some subtle Easter eggs that the film has sprinkled. In the movie, Lara’s father’s hidden basement has an inscription that shows Lara’s mother passing away in the year 1996. That year is the same when the very first Tomb Raider came out.
17 Just Like The Inspiration
Classic Lara is known to be a fearless and capable archeologist who doesn’t take no for an answer. Jolie does portray her extremely well, but when she was filming with the crew in jungle areas, having to deal with the wildlife was taxing.
Ironically, Jolie’s fear of snakes is like that of Indiana Jones, the original inspiration for Lara Croft. In the end, she managed to overcome her fears and shoot the scenes with grace.
16 Part Of Her Collection
While it is unfortunate that Jolie decided to not do another movie as Lara Croft, that did not mean that it was a complete waste of time. Jolie has stated that she has kept Lara’s holsters after filming got done and still has them at home.
Keeping props is common for actors, so it wouldn’t be a surprise for Jolie to have a couple to take home once filming wrapped up. The holsters definitely will be one of Jolie’s most beloved collections in her film career.
15 China's Out
The second Tomb Raider featuring Jolie has improvements over the first one, but the plot involves Lara going to Hong Kong. Anything having to do with China or associated with the country takes representation very seriously.
That is why the sequel was banned in China.
The movie seemed to be a way of making the country look bad from misrepresentation and having no stable government. While the film still did well at the box office, the sequel being banned in China greatly affected the box office performance.
14 Going Back
Even though this entry does not necessarily have to do with movies, Jolie coming back to Cambodia would not have been possible if it weren’t for filming the first movie. Other than acting, Jolie is known for her philanthropic work, helping those dealing with landmines.
While over there, she met and adopted her first son Maddox.
The impact of being in Cambodia not only changed Jolie’s life, but helped her find stability in her life by having Maddox in her life.
13 Don't You Think You've Seen Enough?
Fanservice is a given when a movie is targeted towards teenage boys, and Jolie and director Simon West knew that when a bathing scene made it in the cut of the 2001 movie. It is arguably one of the most memorable parts of the movie.
While the scene looks steamy enough, it was toned down greatly.
After all, there’s no way that the movie would do as well if it were R-rated. Having Lara shown in her birthday suit would have been a dangerous move.
12 Critics Say What?
According to Rotten Tomatoes, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider holds a 20% approval rating and the sequel Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life has a 25% approval rating. Once the years rolled by until 2018, Tomb Raider would get a 51% rating.
At the time, it was the highest rated film based on a video game.
To think that a reboot managed to get more critics’ praise compared to the first two films is something special. The 2018 film still has its issues, but for what it adapted, it was great.
11 What Are You Hiding There?
The Jolie films have parts where Lara has come across water. It sounds fine, right? It would be if Jolie didn’t have tattoos. So imagine how much makeup she would have to put on so that it can be covered up.
The tattoos managed to make their way into the film thanks to the shower scene.
To solve this issue, Lara had to be covered up more in the sequel. It makes sense, but some fans weren’t happy for the lack of skin shown.
10 Showing Dedication
Even though Jolie was not familiar with Lara Croft before picking up the role, that did not mean she didn’t understand the female gaming icon. Before filming began, Jolie trained for months with bungee ballet, kickboxing, and so much more. She did her absolute best despite having to deal with an ankle injury while shooting a scene. Even though it was tough at first, this experience would help Jolie in future films that involved stunts. She has to start somewhere after all.
9 Faithful To The Character
Just like Jolie, Vikander made sure that she got everything down to play the British archeologist and while others will have different tastes, she did an excellent job taking the torch from Jolie. Like the previous actress, Vikander did her own stunts and trained vigorously to make sure she has the right muscle tone Lara has. Thankfully, she didn’t have to worry about capturing Lara’s chest since the reboot has her in a realistic body. What makes Vikander stand out from Jolie? You’ll find out soon.
8 Too Dedicated?
There are at times where it’s great to be enthusiastic to take on a role that means a lot to an actor, but sometimes there are risks. Vikander made sure that she trained five days a week for muscle and do her own stunts.
Vikander literally turned blue from being in cold water for too long.
She also received some injuries as well. Thankfully, she made it out okay, but she ended up getting chronic back pain. If there will be a sequel to the reboot film, let’s hope she can take it easy.
7 Both Weren't British?
Lara Croft originated from England and in the video games, is usually portrayed by English voice actresses throughout the years. The films, however, added diversity in the actresses’ ethnicity.
Jolie is American while Vikander is Swedish.
Both did portray Lara with her respective accent quite well, but it is strange how both actresses are not British. However, there were some actresses that were tied to play the role that were from England, so be on the lookout who the lucky ladies were.
6 Stay Clean
Despite Jolie’s dedication to filming Tomb Raider, her past regarding her questionable choices was at the center of controversy. She had her relationships with her brother and marriage to Billy Bob Thorton, but Jolie went through some troubles in the past.
In order to make herself worthy of taking on the role of the beloved and iconic video game heroine, she would take tests every single day while filming. Never once did she fail any test given. Good on you, Jolie!
5 Keeping The Family Together
Sometimes films are capable of having famous actors that are family members. If they end up starring as fictional family members, that adds the cherry on top. For instance, in the 2001 film, Jolie and her father, Jon Voight, play as father and daughter.
Despite their struggling relationship, these two work off together through the acting and scenes that remind Lara of her deceased father. Originally in the games, Lara’s parents disowned her for not marrying, but this film manages to create a charming and heartwarming bond between father and daughter.
4 Picking The Right Croft
Like with any casting during the production of the film, there were a lot of talented actresses who were suggested for the role of Lara in both the 2001 and the 2018 movies. In the former, actresses like Catherine Zeta-Jones and Sandra Bullock were choices, but ultimately, Angelina Jolie was picked. In the 2018 film, there is Daisy Ridley, but due to her commitment to Star Wars Episode IX, she couldn’t take the role. Instead of her and even Cara Delevingne, Alicia Vikander was chosen in the end.
3 A Joy To Play As
A video game fan would be fortunate enough to be involved in their favorite games in any way. Imagine being a huge fan of Lara Croft and actually landing the role. Vikander herself actually loves the Tomb Raider games, which sounds like a match made in heaven for her to be Lara in the 2018 film. It was no joke that she took risks and trained vigorously to make sure she had the right look and physical preparation for stunts shown in the movie.
2 Not Enough Of It
Trailers are a great way to advertise movies to help build hype until the movies themselves are released. The Tomb Raider film starring Vikander looked accurate for it is based on the 2013 reboot. To please the older fans who grew up with the first incarnation of Lara, there was a scene in one of the trailers where she picks up two of her iconic guns. It was a great Easter egg, but once the movie came out, that scene only appeared at the end. It’d be cool if she actually used them.
1 What A Doll
To coincide with the 2001 Tomb Raider film, a line-up of dolls based around Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft were to be released as a marketing tool. It might sound like a good idea if it was marketed to young girls, but due to the movie’s PG-13 rating, the target demographic was actually aiming towards collectors and young adults. Due to this, the Tomb Raider dolls did not sell well. As of today, they are collector’s items that are displayed on sites like eBay for $150.