I don’t usually head into movie screenings with the express intent of critiquing whether or not the lead actress’ breasts are having a negative effect on the film in question, but here we are.
Before you start to wonder if I have some sort of troubling obsession with any kind of boobs that appear on the big screen in glorious technicolor, allow me to explain.
The newest Tomb Raider movie has hit cinemas and, in the lead up to its release, there was quite a bit of an internet fury over the size and style of star Alicia Vikander’s breasts.
Images of the 29-year-old Swedish actress clad in the iconic Lara Croft ensemble were met positively by the majority of fans upon their release, with the exception of a very reasonable sounding young man named TJ Kirk. A man otherwise known as The Amazing Atheist, whose job is making Youtube videos in his bedroom under cover of darkness.
He said “Do I have to be the asshole who says her tits are too small for me to see her as Lara Croft? Do I have to be that guy? Do I have to be the one who fucking says it? I guess I do. Sorry.” he tweeted.
Which, of course, resulted in a very heated debate over the shape, size and position of Vikander’s boobs (the woman is an Oscar winner, but never mind that right now).
To be fair, the size of Lara Croft’s “tits”, to use TJ’s lovely phrasing, has always been a talking point when it comes to this character.
Despite the fact that one of the original developers of the Tomb Raider game, Nigel West, allegedly stated years after the game was first released that the ample size of Lara’s chest was actually just a mistake in the coding and not her defining character trait.
Still, this thrilling internet debate left many of us wondering… would the mere presence of these boobs actually ruin the entire movie?
The 2018, revamped version of Tomb Raider paints a very different picture of our heroine to the Angelina Jolie led version which was released in 2001.
In this iteration, Vikander’s Lara is not holed up in a fancy mansion in between overseas adventure jaunts and battling complient robots.
In fact, she knows nothing about the world of espionage and tomb raiding (is that last one a real job by the way? I don’t remember my high school career counsellor offering up that particular option…).
In this case, Lara is a broke hipster with a pretty great leather jacket who spends her days pedalling across London as a food delivery courier and her nights honing her talents in the boxing ring at a local gym. Or at least she tries to, as she is way behind on her membership fees thanks to the fact that despite being an heiress to an immense fortune and business empire, she refuses to allow herself access to her inheritance.
All because it would mean signing papers to officially confirm that her father Lord Richard Croft (played by Dominic West), is dead after he mysteriously disappeared seven years ago.
To get a taste of the new Tomb Raider, have a peek at the trailer.
Upon finally heading into the family business to sign the documents and acknowledge that her father is gone, Lara discovers that her father’s will contains a puzzle that leads her to a tomb on her family estate. It’s there she discovers her father’s secret passion for uncovering all things supernatural.
Following the contents of her father’s journal, Lara travels to Japan in search of the captain who promised to sail her father to a remote Japanese island, which he was convinced was the burial site of a legendarily yet deadly royal.
These scenes are really the very first time we get to see Lara’s breasts (since she left that great leather jacket behind in London-town) and I am very happy to report that they did not interfere with the story line in the slightest.
In fact, she’s easily able to fend off a group of thieves who pull a knife on her with a series of bad-arse moves that I guess we’re supposed to believe she learned in that run-down gym, even though we only ever saw her lose badly in those fights.
Maybe she was just waiting to bust out those moves when the script conveniently called for it.
Then she comes across Lu Ren (played by Daniel Wu) the son of the man who disappeared with her father all those years ago.
And… look, there’s really just not a whole lot to say about our old pal Lu Ren.
Wu does an admirable job of playing him, but he’s no match for the head-scratching, totally unbelievable character arc he’s been stuck with.
When we first meet Lu Ren he’s depicted as a mean, useless drunk who cares not to find out whatever happened to his missing father or help Lara on her quest to solve the mystery of the far-flung island they end up discovering.
Fast-forward through his time on screen as we weathers a brutal storm, a shipwreck and being taken prisoner alongside Lara by a mysterious group of armed men who are searching the island for the royal tomb and Lu Ren is suddenly a very different person.
He’s now caring, valiant and pretty handy with an automatic weapon. He even risks his own life to free Lara and in the final, hectic moments of the movie bravely stays behind, practically starring straight into the camera and vowing that he will never leave the deadly island “without Lara”.
Ok son. You have literally known this woman for less than two days, you’ve barley had a coherent conversation with her in that time and she basically forced you to wreck your only possession in life by shipwrecking your boat. Then she got you captured by a group of island crazies who forced you to do menial labour.
That's not friendship, man.
So, either there are a whole lot of missing scenes that carefully built up a buddy-cop style friendship between Lara and Lu Ren that ended up on the cutting room and will never see the light of day.
Or something funky happened to him while he was sloshing around in all that sea water.
I guess we'll just never know.
Surprising, this plot/character fail seemingly had nothing to do with Lara Croft's boobs or lack thereof. Unless they had some sort of an unaccredited script writing role that I'm not aware of and deliberately sabotaged everything.
In fact, the way Lara's body is filmed in this movie is in stark difference to past versions of the character.
There's no denying that Vikander is a slim, toned and conventionally beautiful women who spent many days (perhaps years) in the gym to get the body she has in this action blockbuster.
And yet, there are no lingering, gratuitous shots of her body. There are no sexy or tantalising scenes of any nature throughout the flick. And there are certainly no long, drawn out shower scenes with copious amounts of hair flicks, like the original featured prominently. There are not even any nude scenes that were deemed "necessary for the story" by some creepy old studio executive.
In fact, I didn't even get a proper LOOK at the boobs I'd been hearing about all week. They actually didn't factor into the plot-line at all.
What a colossal let down.
Tomb Raider is a perfectly fine movie that delivers a few gasp-inducing action sequences amidst a plot-line that moves at a rapid enough pace to keep you from wondering if you really should duck out of the cinema and grab that second box of popcorn.
One thing is for sure though, Alicia Vikander does a superb job of embodying Lara Croft.
With or without any mention of her boobs.
Tomb Raider is currently showing in cinemas across Australia. It is rated M.
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