The first trailer for the rebooted Tomb Raider film certainly has people excited. Unlike Angelina Jolie's forays into adapting the beloved character, the latest trailer seems to show a faithful recreation of Square Enix's games.
But is it ... too faithful?
The 2013 game was very successful and breathed new life into Lara Croft as a character — differing from the original games as it featured an inexperienced Lara who had to learn her survival skills — so it's no surprise that the trailer takes inspiration from it.
After Lara's boat is damaged during a mysterious storm, she ends up shipwrecked along with her crew on a mysterious island. She becomes separated from her crew and is kidnapped by a mysterious cult who seek to revive the Sun Queen in an attempt to finally escape the island.
But the similarity raises a question: do fans want to watch the exact same story that they've already seen while playing it?
The Conundrum Of Video Game Adaptations
Just how faithfully should the story be adapted in movie form? It's a good question because it's a totally different process to adapting books. Book lovers are often excited by the possibility of seeing their favorite stories brought to life on the big screen because it can finally give the characters images and voices; readers are excited because it gives them a new way to experience the story, even if it's the same story.
Video game adaptations don't necessarily have this; because we've already seen the action and heard the characters' voices, we aren't actually being offered anything new. While Tomb Raider is an excellent game, it's possible that the film could be too faithful and essentially, give us exactly the same story in exactly the same way.
It begs the question: do fans want a pixel-live action remake?
The true joy of video games is the interactivity; though all fans experience the same story, everyone plays in their own way, bonding with different characters through the game. Certain games give players a choice of responses to different questions, which allow us to see different facets to the characters' personalties. Players are given their own experiences, and a film version will only tell one version of the story — one which might not match up with how many people played it.
Films have no interactivity; there's no way to allow audiences to see different reactions from their characters on screen. This could be why video game adaptations lose something.
It seems that filmmakers are in a no-win situation when they adapt video games. Because of the passionate nature of gaming fanbases, there's always going to be somebody upset over it. The interactivity is a key part of the gameplay experience and while cinematic games such as #MetalGearSolid have great success, this mainly comes from the innovative gameplay rather than the gripping cutscenes — this is exactly why it's becoming increasingly popular for game developers to allow players to skip cutscenes altogether.
Could Tomb Raider Beat The Odds And Become The First 'Fresh' Video Game Movie?
While the trailer does offer some crumbs of comfort to fans, video game adaptations have often been met with a frosty reception. Hell, the highest-score for a video game movie on Rotten Tomatoes is 44 percent rotten (The Angry Birds Movie and Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within are tied for this dubious honor). To date, it could be argued that the best video game film is Wreck-It Ralph, and that's not even based on a real game. It's time to buck that trend.
#LaraCroft's clothes and look in the new movie are very faithful to the 2013 game, and there's even a throwback to her original look with the dual pistols and braided ponytail. This immediately identifies the character as Lara, and it's good that this is the case. #AliciaVikander totally looks the part — and hopefully, she'll deliver us a film worthy of the Tomb Raider name. If it's done right, there's a chance that Tomb Raider could become the first genuinely good video game movie.
The trailer may adhere closely to the game's story, but why fix what's not broken?
How faithful should video game adaptations be? Let me know in the comments!