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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Tomb Raider (review)

To Gamers, With Love

You are standing in the lobby of a movie theater. The smell of popcorn and Jujubes is in the air. To the south is the box office. To the east is the concession stand. To the west are the restrooms. To the north is the auditorium.

A studio executive is here.

A lunch is here.

> take lunch

Taken.
> examine lunch

It appears to be a bologna sandwich, an apple, and a bottle of Yoo-Hoo.

> inventory

You are carrying: a ticket stub, a lunch, and a Glock semiautomatic pistol.

> talk to the executive

The executive is yelling into a cell phone, ignoring you.

The executive wanders away.

> examine ticket stub

The ticket stub says: “TOMB RAIDER 8:15pm $10 ABSOLUTELY NO REFUNDS no outside food or drink.”

> go north

You are standing in the rear of the auditorium. It is dark. Tomb Raider is playing on the screen. To the south is the exit to the lobby.

To the east is an empty seat.

> go seat

You sit in the empty seat. Your sneaker sticks in a wad of gum on the floor.

> watch movie

Time passes…

> watch movie

Time passes…

> watch movie

You are getting sleepy. You drift off…

A loud explosion onscreen awakens you.

> go east

The man in the seat next to you won’t let you past.

> go west

You are standing in the rear of the auditorium. It is dark. Tomb Raider is playing on the screen. To the south is the exit to the lobby.

To the east is an empty seat.

> go south

You are standing in the lobby of a movie theater. To the south is the box office. To the east is the concession stand. To the west are the restrooms. To the north is the auditorium.

The sound of loud explosions comes from the auditorium.

> find executive

I don’t see the executive here.

> go west

You are standing in the restroom, near the sinks. To the south are the stalls. To the east is the exit to the lobby.

The executive is here, preening in the mirror.

> threaten executive

With what?

> threaten executive with the lunch

The executive cowers by the sinks. “Stop waving that monstrosity at me! I only eat certified organic bologna!”

> take executive

You can’t take the executive.

> pull executive

You can’t pull the executive.

> threaten executive with the lunch

The executive cowers by the sinks. “Okay! Okay! I’ll do whatever you want!”

> go east

You are standing in the lobby of a movie theater. To the south is the box office. To the east is the concession stand. To the west are the restrooms. To the north is the auditorium.

The sound of loud explosions comes from the auditorium.

The executive follows you.

> threaten executive with the lunch

The executive cowers. “Okay! Okay! I’ll do whatever you want!”

> go north

You are standing in the rear of the auditorium. It is dark. Tomb Raider is playing on the screen. To the south is the exit to the lobby.

To the east is an empty seat.

The executive follows you.

> push executive into seat

Done.

The executive cowers in the seat.

> examine sneakers

Your sneakers appear to have abnormally long laces.

> take laces

Taken.

> tie executive to seat with laces

You tie the executive’s wrists to the armrests of the seat.

The executive cowers in the seat, eyes closed.

> go south

You are standing in the lobby of a movie theater. To the south is the box office. To the east is the concession stand. To the west are the restrooms. To the north is the auditorium.

The sound of loud explosions comes from the auditorium.

The sound of pitiful moaning comes from the auditorium.

> go east

You stand near the concession stand. On the counter you see napkins, straws, a salt shaker, and toothpicks. To the southwest is the box office. To the west is the lobby. To the northwest is the auditorium.

> take toothpicks

Taken.

> go northwest

You are standing in the rear of the auditorium. It is dark. Tomb Raider is playing on the screen. To the south is the exit to the lobby.

To the east is an executive, tied to a seat.

The executive cowers in the seat, eyes closed.

> use toothpicks

Use toothpicks how?

> use toothpicks to prop the bastard’s eyes open, so he is forced to see the shit he is foisting on audiences. use toothpicks in ironic commentary in a Clockwork Orange, no-free-will way to highlight the contempt that the executive holds the moviegoing public in, since he obviously thinks video game fans will flock like sheep, unthinkingly, to any movie based on a popular shoot-’em-up game, particularly if the heroine of said game and film has big boobs and big lips. use toothpicks to suggest that putting “Lara Croft” above the title of the movie on the posters and not putting “Angelina Jolie” anywhere is not likely to lead people to believe that Lara Croft herself is appearing in the movie. use toothpicks to let the bastard know that I am doing this to him, to explain, as it were, that the fun of playing a video game is in getting to play the game, in being a participant. use toothpicks to try to impart the difference between being a bored observer in these kinds of situations versus the thrill of actually participating, either by becoming a character in a game or by sympathizing so much with a character in a film that it feels as if you’ve become the character. use toothpicks to point out that making a movie based on a video game that’s as much fun as watching over someone else’s shoulder as she plays a video game is unacceptable. use toothpicks to draw his undivided attention to the fact that CGI looks fake and isn’t scary, that a skinny little woman shouldn’t be able to beat up a giant robot, that giving the heroine apparently supernatural strength removes any threat that the fakey, unscary CGI beasties might have wielded over her, that “bugger” sounds weird in a phony English accent, that Simon West cannot direct a coherent action scene, that his theft of shot-for-shot sequences from Raiders of the Lost Ark is a hangin’ offense round these parts, that Angelina Jolie did not deserve that Oscar, that any script that features dialogue about “awesome and terrible powers” in an unironic way should be put out of its misery before someone gets hurt, that the heroine in so unironic a tale should actually have a motive for becoming an accomplice in the bad guy’s evil deeds beyond “there’d be no story if she’d been a sensible girl and just waited things out,” that dropping names like “Illuminati” without knowing what you’re talking about is simply stupid, and that wearing nothing but a tank top in the Arctic is not only bad fashion sense but could lead to, oh, death by hypothermia.

Done.

> shoot glock

What do you want to shoot?

> myself

Realizing the futility of complaining, you put yourself out of your misery…

Congratulations! You win!

Now that’s what I call a computer game.

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MPAA: rated PG-13 for action violence and some sensuality

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
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