Tomb Raider Film Adaptations 🏺
Release Date, Cast, Plot, Review, Opinions

Tomb Raider Movies

British company Core Design originated the Tomb Raider action-adventure media franchise.


Every delivery focuses on Lara Croft, a fictional Indiana-Jonesque archaeologist who travels across the world in search of lost artifacts in dangerous ruins and tombs (therefore, its name) through exploration, puzzle-solving, enemy fighting, and trap-avoiding.


  • Tomb Raider (1996)

  • Tomb Raider II (1997)

  • Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft (1998)

  • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (1999)

  • Tomb Raider – Game Boy Colour (2000)

  • Tomb Raider: Chronicles (2000)

  • Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword (2001)

  • Tomb Raider: The Prophecy (2002)

  • Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (2003)

  • Tomb Raider: Legend (2006)

  • Tomb Raider: Anniversary (2007)

  • Tomb Raider: Underworld (2008)

  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010)

  • Tomb Raider (2013)

  • Lara Croft: Reflections (2013)

  • Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (2014)

  • Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015)

  • Lara Croft: Relic Run (2015)

  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018)

It’s considered a “media franchise” instead of a video game one, due to the comics, novels, and film adaptations that have been developed around Tomb Raider.


Let’s talk about the latest.


Everything About Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) Movie

Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001) Movie poster
Source: Paramount Pictures



Production, Release Date, and Reception

International companies from the US, UK, Japan, and Germany co-produced the first live-action Tomb Raider film directed by Simon West, released in theaters on June 15, 2001.


Starring Angelina Jolie, the Tomb Raider movie made her the best-paid actress in Hollywood at that time: earned her $275 million and a reported $7 million salary.


Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) Movie Trailer


Despite becoming the highest-grossing film on that weekend, fans and critics were harsh with Tomb Raider in both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, assigning 20%  and 33/100 scores, respectively.



Cast and Characters

  • Angelina Jolie (Lara Croft)

  • Iain Glen (Manfred Powell)

  • Jon Voight (Lord Richard Croft)

  • Daniel Craig (Alex West)

  • Noah Taylor (Bryce)

  • Richard Johnson (Distinguished Gentleman)

  • Chris Barrie (Hillary)

  • Julian Rhind-Tutt (Mr. Pimms)

  • Leslie Phillips (Wilson)

  • Henry Wyndham (Boothby’s Auctioneer)

  • Olegar Fedoro (Russian Comma)

Plot/Synopsis (What is the movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider about?)

Lara Croft gets herself in the middle of a battle with a secret society.  The English archeologist becomes a tomb raider to recover lost antiquities and meets her match in the evil Powell, who’s searching for a powerful relic.



Review and Opinions

Tomb Raider, it’s one of the few video game film adaptations capable of sending you to the places where the action happens, be it to tombs and jungle, across Siberia or Venice.

Unfortunately, the plot’s quest is a bit dull, and focus probably too much on Lara. 


There’s no doubt Angelina fits the part but it comes a bit flat, considering she’s more than a protagonist. Replacing some cool but unnecessary flips with big creatures from the games could have solved this. Not even pre-Bond Daniel Craig got credit for his romantic role.


Todd McCarthy of Variety: “[the film] has the distinction of being a major motion picture that’s far less imaginative, and quite a bit more stupid, than the interactive game it’s based on.”


Roger Ebert: “Lara Croft Tomb Raider’ elevates goofiness to an art form. Here is a movie so monumentally silly, yet so wondrous to look at, that only a churl could find fault.”



Everything About Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003)

Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life (2003) poster
Source: Paramount Pictures



Production, Release Date, and Reception

The Cradle of Life was financed through Tele-München Gruppe with a budget of $120 million and distributed by Toho-Towa. It was premiered in July of 2003.


Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003) Trailer



This sequel was viewed by critics as an improvement over its predecessor (4% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a 43/100 rating on Metacritic) but it grossed just a bit more than half in comparison ($156 million against $274 million of the original).


Paramount blamed the then-latest installment of the series “Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness” which was rushed and left unfinished for the film’s performance.

Cast and Characters

  • Angelina Jolie (Lara Croft)

  • Ciarán Hinds (Jonathan Reiss)

  • Gerard Butler (Terry Sheridan)

  • Chris Barrie (Hillary)

  • Noah Taylor (Bryce)

  • Djimon Hounsou (Kosa)

  • Til Schweiger (Sean)

  • Simon Yam (Chen Lo)

  • Terence Yin (Xien Lo)


Lara Croft uncovers with the help of MI6 that an orb stolen by Chen Lo could lead to the Cradle of Life and Pandora’s Box.  

This object contains one of the deadliest plagues on Earth.

The thief teams with a Nobel Prize-winning scientist turned bioterrorist called Jonathan Reiss, so Lara decides to recruit Terry Sheridan, a former lover to retrieve the orb before Reiss.



Review and Opinions

I don’t have any problem with the director Jan de Bont or with any of the screenwriters for making a story so in line with Indiana Jones and his suspiciously similar quests.


But it’s undeniable that both films could have felt more like a game adaptation than an independent film itself. More flips and confusing action editing doesn’t translate as well.


At least, we have scenes with monsters, which relate to what you see in-game.

Roger Ebert: “better than the first one, more assured, more entertaining … it uses imagination and exciting locations to give the movie the same kind of pulp adventure feeling we get from the Indiana Jones movies.”


David Rooney of Variety: “Jolie is hotter, faster, and more commanding than last time around as the fearless heiress/adventuress, plus a little more human.”



Everything About Tomb Raider (2018)

Tomb Raider (2018) movie poster
Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Maye / Warner Bros. Pictures / Square Enix



Production, Release Date, and Reception

Roar Uthaug directed the story created by Evan Daugherty and Robertson-Dwore, with the help of Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons who took care of the screenplay.


The movie was firstly announced through a poster and a short teaser trailer in September 2017, while the film itself got out on March 14, 2018 (UK) and March 16 (US).


Tomb Raider (2018) Trailer



The film grossed $274 million worldwide (the same as the 2001 film of the same name and more than its 2003 sequel).


A 2 minute 50-second behind-the-scenes making of the film was published by Warner Bros and Square Enix on 19/20 September 2017. It’s called “Becoming Lara Croft” and it includes footage from the movie not seen in the trailer.


Alicia Vikander stated that “If there’s an audience out there for it, then [she] would love to” return as Lara Croft for a second film. So, Ben Wheatley officially signed on to direct the sequel, and Amy Jump was hired in April 2019 to write a script for the potential sequel.


It was first planned to release in March of 2021 but it has yet to see the lights. What we know so far, is that a script for “Tomb Raider: Obsidian” was leaked by the team.


Cast and Characters

  • Alicia Vikander (21-year-old Lara Croft)

  • Maisy De Freitas (7-year-old Lara)

  • Emily Carey (14-year-old Lara)

  • Dominic West Lord (Richard Croft)

  • Walton Goggins (Mathias Vogel)

  • Daniel Wu (Lu Ren)

  • Kristin Scott Thomas (Ana Miller)

  • Derek Jacobi (Mr. Yaffe)

  • Hannah John-Kamen (Sophie)

  • Nick Frost (Alan)

  • Jaime Winstone (Pamela)

  • Antonio Aakeel (Nitin)

  • Duncan Airlie James (Terry)

  • Josef Altin (Bruce)

  • Billy Postlethwaite (Bill)

  • Roger Nsengiyumva (Rog)

  • Michael Obiora (Baxter)


Lara struggles to pay rent and take college courses on the chaotic streets of East London. 


But she’s determined to forge her path by refusing to take care of her father’s business, as she rejects the fact that he’s truly gone after being without him for seven years.


But she leaves to search for his dad’s last-known destination (an island somewhere off the coast of Japan) and achieve his final wish, with all the odds against her. But Lara knows surviving could earn her the title of Tomb Raider.


Review and Opinions

Despite not being well received by critics, “Tomb Raider” was still most respected than its previous versions. It’s fulfilled with more visually impressive cinematic action.


Maybe it was Alicia’s lack of charisma who earned it a 49% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian: “Throughout Vikander maintains a kind of serene evenness of manner. Blandness is Lara’s theme.”

Anne Thompson of IndieWire: “Well-mounted, intelligently wrought adventure, more grounded in the real world than its fantasy predecessors” and that “it establishes the action bonafides of both Vikander and director Roar Uthaug.”

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