How Lara Croft Transformed from a Video Game Character to a Movie Character

Article by: Neil John Vildad

It has been more than 20 years since the game “Tomb Raider” started playing on every 90’s kid’s TV screen. Since then, Lara Croft has gone through major transformations in her storyline and in her portrayal. The dramatic changes that Lara Croft has gone through is reflected not only in her artisitc portrayals, but also through her character and story.

The OG Lara Croft

lara croft 1

Poster for the first video game release of Tomb Raider

In the first release of Tomb Raider as a video game in 1997, Lara Croft was introduced as an adventurous English archaeologist who has a knack for exploring hidden tombs and ruins around the world in search for mysterious and precious artifacts that have been sought after for a long time. Her character is a tough cookie who doesn’t take crap and can give and take a good beating to anyone who crosses her. This strong-willed Lara Croft continued to be translated as the video game developed different storylines surrounding Lara Croft’s adventures.

Lara Croft Goes to Hollywood

Tomb Raider 2001 poster

Poster for Lara Croft Tomb Raider (2001)

In 2001, Lara Croft’s adventures took her to the big screen. The once two-dimensional video game character was then translated into full flesh through Angelina Jolie. The character of Jolie in the movie does not depart from the character introduced in the video games: strong, fearless, and resilient. At the same time, Jolie’s femme fatale vibe added to the powerful character of Lara Croft in the movie, making her a fitting actress to portray Lara Croft in the big screen.

This adaptation of Tomb Raider stays faithful to its source material as it mainly focuses on Croft’s adventures in ancient ruins trying to obtain hidden relics from her enemies. Although the film does not offer much back story to Lara Croft, her motivations are still clear as to why she raids tombs for hidden relics.

Despite the negative comments that the critics had on the film, Jolie’s Lara Croft was still the same Croft that video game players loved.

Tomb Raider 2003 poster

Poster for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life (2003)

In 2003, another film adaptation of Tomb Raider was produced, still starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. Although still portraying Lara as the bad-ass English archaeologist, the movie offered a different take by giving the audience a brief preview to the life of Croft and her family before she became the adventurer that she is.

Despite this shift in the portrayal of Croft, she still had the strong personality and fierce ass-kicking movies that were associated to her since her video game days.

The Modern Lara Croft

Tob Raider 2018 poster

Poster for Tomb Raider (2018)

After going through different storylines and developments, Lara Croft returns to the silver screen this 2018, this time portrayed by Alicia Vikander. Here, Lara Croft is given a more humanizing character with more motivation for her adventures. In this movie, Lara Croft is no longer motivated by archaeological feats nor her desire to collect rare artifacts. Instead, she is motivated by her desire to trace her father’s footsteps in order to solve the mystery of his sudden disappearance.

The 2018 Lara Croft is not the typical Croft that has been portrayed in the past; she is not the same tough adventurer, either. Lara’s character is more realized and more fleshed out because the experiences that shape her are brought to the fore of her story. In this respect, Vikander’s character as Lara Croft gives her a chance to showcase the more human and emphatic side of Lara that was not given much emphasis in her previous versions.

Lara Croft as Tomb Raider has surely been part of the hall of fame for strong female video game characters, and while she has gone through some interesting changes as time passed, she will surely be going through more exciting character development in the future.

Tomb Raider (2018) directed by Roar Uthaug is now showing in cinemas nationwide. Special thanks to PMCM Management and Resorts World Manila for our special screening during its premiere.