Filming Has Begun on the ‘Tomb Raider’ Reboot, But Why Do We Keep Getting Video Game Movies?

Matthew Loffhagen
(Photo: Square Enix)

Production has officially begun on a third Tomb Raider movie.

The new film, which will star Ex Machina’s Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, is set to abandon the older Tomb Raider canon (which was essentially Indiana Jones with boobs) in favor of following more closely to the rebooted video game franchise, in which Lara often finds herself marooned in the wilderness, fighting off pirates and kidnappers, and trying her best not to get eaten by a bear.

Essentially, the new Tomb Raider games are The Hunger Games without all that political mumbo jumbo. There’s a pretty brunette girl in the woods, murdering her way through opponents and living off the land.

It’s clear, then, why the Tomb Raider movie is coming: with Jennifer Lawrence’s role as Katniss Everdeen concluded, there’s an opening in Hollywood for a proactive young woman with bow and arrow who’s not above committing the odd homicide in the name of self-preservation.

It makes sense that Warner Bros is making this movie more as a reaction to recent young adult movies, rather than in any way as a response to the popularity of the video game franchise. Lara Croft is simply a convenient place to hang a bow and arrow movie.

After all, which insane studio would actually try and make a video game movie in this day and age?

Source: Paramount Pictures

After Warcraft, Ratchet and Clank, and Assassin’s Creed all tanked last year, it’s looking increasingly likely that audiences really don’t care about video games as movies.

These are but the most recent examples. Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Bros, Hitman, and Doom have all been the pet projects of studios hoping to win big from popular gaming brands, and all have fallen flat, receiving terrible review scores, and underwhelming at the box office.

Heck, even Scott Pilgrim vs The World was a commercial failure, and that movie wasn’t even based on a video game!

Perhaps this is because it’s more fun to actually play a game than to watch a movie based on the same characters.

Maybe it’s just really difficult to squeeze an extensive play experience (and often a long, unwieldy plot) into two hours of cinema.

Or, alternatively, the continued failure of video game movies is simply a result of directors not understanding the source material.

In spite of the consistent critical and commercial panning that video game movies experience each and every time, film studios seem convinced that they will, eventually, crack this wondrous untapped market.

With a Sonic the Hedgehog film coming some time next year (no, seriously), and a Detective Pikachu movie in the works, it’s clear that these projects aren’t going away any time soon, no matter how ridiculous it makes movie studios look as a result.



And we're off! #tombraider

A photo posted by Roar Uthaug (@roaruthaug) on


But hey, who knows? Perhaps this Tomb Raider reboot will be able to trade high on residual Katniss appreciation, and will oust Prince of Persia as the most successful video game movie of the past few decades (which isn’t saying much).

After all, trial and error will get us there eventually, right?


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