Tomb Raider movie: Behind-the-scenes video, first poster revealed, and everything you need to know

Fast Facts:

  • Tomb Raider movie release date: March 16, 2018
  • Director: Roar Uthaug
  • Cast: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Nick Frost, Walton Goggins, Danny Wu
  • Writer: Geneva Robertson-Dworet

Update: September 29, 2017 - behind-the-scenes featurette and poster revealed 

It’s official: Alicia Vikander is totally badass. We know this thanks to a behind-the-scenes featurette posted by Warner Bros. Pictures on YouTube, which shows off some more glimpses of the movie, including a third-person chase cam that looks just like the game. There’s also an illuminating interview with the leading lady, as well as clips of the punishing training and filming work she had to endure in order to make the film as good as it can possibly be. 

Scariest quote? “The bruises and the hits you can just kinda suck up, but the cold – that is the tough thing. When you reach hypothermia level… we even had to reshoot some things because I turned too blue, and they can’t fix that on-screen, apparently.” Hello? Health and Safety? Alicia here…

In other news, Tomb Raider’s first movie poster is… unusual. Not in tone or composition, but rather the angle from which they've decided to show Lara. Why have her back to the camera? Positioning aside, it’s proper, ‘modern’ Tomb Raider iconography, with the rocky coast behind her, bandages visible, an ice pick held as though it were a weapon, and the outline of an arrow running through the Tomb Raider text. The scratched, stressed logo looks striking in red, and the almost feral look on Alicia’s face makes it clear that this is a heroine in peril, who will do what she needs to in order to survive – just like the 2013 video game reboot.  

Update: September 26, 2017 - the first trailer is here and you can watch it now

At long last, Warner Bros. has released a trailer for 2018’s Tomb Raider movie revival, confirming it is very much based on the 2013 video game reboot of the franchise. The set-pieces look pleasantly familiar for anyone who’s played with Lara on console, with a shipwreck, crashed plane and the presence of shady organisation ‘Trinity’ all present and correct.

Here’s the full trailer – check it out now, then read our reaction below:

Lara seems to be as characteristically unlucky as always, getting pistol whipped, caught in a storm at sea, falling into white water and very nearly getting cut up into ribbons by rotating blades (in what appears to be a tomb – squee!) in what can only be a small highlight reel of her relentless peril in this two-minute trailer cut.

Of slight concern at the moment is the quality of the CG special effects. Unlike many modern-day films, the post-production visual elements are disappointingly easy to spot, which could spoil the immersion – something that’s of vital importance when there are so many clichés on display. 

Clichés like definitively tapping a map with a finger, someone saying “the fate of humanity is now in your hands”, and (naturally) an “if you’re listening to this, I must be dead” tape. But unlike most films, such familiarity is almost expected. You know exactly what you’re in for, so you can switch off your brain and just enjoy the ride.

One majorly positive point is how comfortable Vikander looks in the role, stealing every scene she appears in… except, perhaps, for the lovely surprise of seeing Nick Frost at the end, who you’ll remember from his partnership with Simon Pegg in everything from Shaun of the Dead to Spaced.

Right now, it looks like the movie will be at least as good as Angelina Jolie’s first Tomb Raider film, which - despite displaying many of the same cringe-worthy traits - still has a large fanbase. Including us. So are we still keen to watch the new film despite the problems above? Hell yes. More soon.

Update: August 22, 2017 - Alicia Vikander has "never done action scenes on this level"

Ever tried lifting your own bodyweight? Apparently it was something Alicia Vikander can now do, thanks to all the physical training she’s done in order to be more like her on-screen character, Lara Croft. Speaking to Elle Magazine, Alicia says she started by “bulking up at first, and then trying to just, like, tone down.” 

She continued: “I’ve never been able to lift my own weight, and the day when you do have that capacity, it’s pretty empowering!” Hopefully this means she’ll be doing a lot of action stunts herself - something her predecessor Angelina Jolie did so well in the first Tomb Raider film (just check out the DVD extras if you don’t believe me). It certainly sounds that way, with Vikander telling Elle: "I've never done action scenes on this level - not even close. It feels like I'm back to dancing - the training, the intensity. You need to be aware of your movement up in the wires and how your body works.” Sounds like she’s having a great time.

Update: August 3, 2017 - Lara Croft’s potential love interest revealed

With such a star-studded cast already announced, it’s a surprise to see a relatively unknown actor selected for a role close to Lara. 22-year-old Antonio Aakeel will play one of Lara’s friends, Nitin, a character he says is clearly “in love with Lara”, noting that the pair have a “unique chemistry and familiarity that translates through his every action”. 

Aakeel has previously appeared in BBC productions like City of Tiny Lights opposite Billie Piper and Riz Ahmed, and Three Girls. He’s also just finished filming another 2018 film, Eaten by Lions, in which he plays the lead role opposite Johnny Vegas. While we don’t doubt his character is probably in love with Lara, it’s pretty likely all of Lara’s friends are in love with Lara, so the chances of this being a major plot point are probably quite slim. Or maybe he’ll get blown up in a boat, if the film follows the game’s plot at all.

***Original article continues below***

Tomb Raider movie reboot leaves Lara's past behind

Few gaming characters have fared as dismally in cinemas as Tomb Raider heroine Lara Croft, but everyone deserves a fresh start. The ass-kicking, loot-tracing national treasure finally gets that new beginning in 2018, as part of a movie project that’s already been half a decade in the making. Plans for a Croft reboot film began in 2011, and were accelerated after her brilliant PS3 and Xbox 360 game Tomb Raider revitalised Lady Lara two years later. The new movie carries an intriguing Scandinavian connection, with Norwegian unknown quantity Roar Uthaug in the director’s chair, and Denmark's Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, Jason Bourne, The Danish Girl) portraying Croft for the first time.

Read more: Every Tomb Raider game ever, from worst to best

Tomb Raider movie release date is 2018, not 2017

Ignore whispers about new Lara arriving in 2017. Tomb Raider rappels into US and UK cinemas on March 16, 2018, with Australian, New Zealand and German fans getting it a day early. It’s coming to IMAX 3D in addition to standard formats. Principal photography got underway on January 23, 2017, with filming complete on June 9 of the same year. Locations include London and Salisbury’s Wilton House, with a large chunk of the flick being shot in South Africa – look out for lots of Cape Town in the background, including the unmistakeable Table Mountain. 

It’s worth noting that new Raider faces tough competition for your cinema monies upon release. Wreck-It Ralph 2 is out on March 9, 2018 while Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One lands on March 30, 2018. A busy, expensive, and hopefully satisfying month…

Read more: The most anticipated upcoming movies of 2017

Tomb Raider movie cast moves on from Angelina Jolie

While names such as Nell McAndrew and Rhona Mitra are synonymous with Lara Croft, only one actress has portrayed her on the big screen: Angelina Jolie. Although she never did the character justice, inheriting any major role from one of Hollywood’s biggest names is no small task; for the 2018 movie, that challenge falls to Alicia Vikander. The 28-year-old wowed in Ex Machina and claimed an Oscar for The Danish Girl, so her acting chops should be up to taking on one of videogaming’s most iconic characters.

Other actresses considered for the role of Crofty before it went to Vikander apparently include Daisy Ridley, Hayley Atwell, and Gemma Arterton.

While the rest of the cast isn’t exactly triple-A calibre, there is still a bunch of respected, very capable pros here. Lara’s father, Lord Richard Croft, is played by Dominic West, best known (and worshipped until the end of time) as McNulty from The Wire. Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Hannah John-Kamen plays Croft’s best friend Sophie, The Hateful Eight heartthrob Walton Goggins is eerily calm bad guy Mathias Vogel, and Danny Wu - AKA Sunny from Into the Badlands - plays ship captain and Lara ally Lu Ren.

Read more: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) review

Tomb Raider movie trailer is a treasure still to be found

Youtube appears to be packed with teasers for the 2018 Tomb Raider movie; inevitably, they're all fakes, making use of videogame cutscenes to try to look like the real deal. Sadly, there’s no official trailer as yet, but with filming now complete, that should be rectified before too long. There's a good chance we might see something at SDCC 2017 - here's everything we're hoping will feature at this year's Comic Con - but if not, look towards the end of the year. With no Raider game due this Christmas, the festive season would appear to be an ideal time for a first blast of new Lara footage; should it materialise, we’ll have it live on GamesRadar+ faster than you can say “Emperor Qin Shihuang”.

Read more: Going globetrotting with the best locations in the Tomb Raider series

The Tomb Raider movie poster can't adorn your wall just yet

Much like the trailer, we’re a few months away from scoring Alicia Vikander’s Lara in print form. Naturally, that hasn’t stopped creative fans unleashing their own interpretations of the rebooted Croft, as evidenced from a quick Google image search. With Lara – quite rightly – no longer presented as the walking ‘boobs ’n’ bum’ cliche that make most of her ‘90s photo shoots cringeworthy to revisit, expect any posters to ape those released to support 2017’s Wonder Woman. That means a primary focus on Croft’s kickass attitude, rather than Vikander’s shapely figure.

Read more: SDCC 2017: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Avengers: Infinity War, and everything else we want to see

The Tomb Raider movie plot is a Lara Croft origins story

Walton Goggins, who plays main villain Mathias Vogel, describes the plot as "Raiders of the Lost Ark meets a genre version of the Joseph Conrad novel Victory: An Island Tale”.

Much of the movie takes inspiration from the aforementioned 2013 video game. Croft sets out to find her missing father, also an explorer, by heading for his last known location: a fabled tomb on an island off the coast of Japan. Assuming the film mirrors the game's storyline, that plan is scuppered when the boat ferrying her to the island is shipwrecked, and she becomes embroiled in a dangerous battle of faith (and bullets) with the nefarious Vogel and his goons. 

In the tale Lara has only recently turned 21, and her dad has been missing for seven years – so expect the odd teary moment in addition to intense fisticuffs and precarious exploration. 

“Alicia Vikander brings tremendous depth and vulnerability to this character, which is every bit as important as Lara Croft’s fierce strength, determination, and physicality,” producer Graham King told Vanity Fair

Read more: Every upcoming video game movie for 2017 and beyond

The Tomb Raider movie director likes things to look natural

Director Roar Uthaug is something of an unknown for a project of this magnitude. With expectations low on the back of Jolie’s Tomb Raider films – overseen by Simon West and Jan de Bont respectively – that may actually work in his favour and mean cynics give this a chance. 

Uthaug graduated from film school in his native Norway in 2002, and was most recently in charge of 2015’s The Wave (above), in which a small coastal town comes under threat from a colossal tsunami. In interviews for that film he emphasised how important the role of nature is to his directorial style, which should mean the island is presented as a mysterious, imposing force in the 2018 Tomb Raider movie. 

“Nature is a very big part of our culture,” he told movie site The Action Elite, reflecting on cutting his directorial teeth in Norway. “We live very close to nature. It’s a big part of our everyday life. We don’t have very big cities. We can take the train for ten minutes and you’re out in the forest. That kind of natural influence is a part of our movies. The horror movie or the barbarian movie would be very secluded and cut off from other people and help. It’s a good thing to play around with those kinds of genres.”

“I’m very excited,” says Uthaug regarding Tomb Raider. “When the [2013] game was reintroduced, they made Lara Croft more of a real character, a real human being. I really want to bring that over to the big screen.”

Read more: 20 hours of horror films in 2 days - The Frightfest live blog

The Tomb Raider movie writer is a lady (and about time too)

Gary Barber (True Romance, Evan Almighty) and Graham King (Rango, Jersey Boys) share a production credit on Tomb Raider, with the script being penned by Geneva Robertson-Dworet. Having a female on writing duties is another long-overdue breakthrough: both original Raider films were drawn up by men. 

A huge factor in the 2013 game's success, and that of sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider, was writer Rhianna Pratchett's ability to conjure a relatable lead character. Refreshingly Robertson-Dworet, who's also scripting the upcoming Dungeons & Dragons movie, now has the opportunity to do the same for movie Lara.

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