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‘Tomb Raider’: 5 Key Differences Between the Video Game and the New Film

Lara Croft is back on the big screen, but how does the new film compare to the 2013 video game reboot? We highlight five key differences.

Lara Is Looking For Her Father — and She Finds Him

One of the biggest differences between the film and the video game series revolves around Lara’s father, Richard. Traditionally, while Lara’s father has always been important to her and her adventures, he’s usually dead. In the film, Lara’s father disappeared seven years earlier on a fated expedition to Yamatai and, although he urges Lara to destroy all of his research on the island in a video message left for her, she instead uses it to find the island and find out what happened to Richard.

After escaping the clutches of Mathias, who intends to use her to open the tomb, Lara discovers and follows a frightened hermit to his seaside cave hideaway. Once inside, she discovers the hermit is actually…her father. It’s definitely one of the film’s more shocking moments, in part because Mathias told Lara that he had killed Richard, but especially since it deviates so sharply from the video game. Richard initially thinks Lara is just a hallucination, but eventually the two team up to stop Mathias and Trinity from unlocking the power hidden in Himiko’s tomb, which Richard believes will destroy the world if placed in the wrong hands.

"Tomb Raider"

Lara Has A(nother) New Backstory

Lara Croft’s backstory has been retooled three times since her video game debut in 1996, and the film makes some further alterations. Per the 2013 game, Lara grows up traveling and going on archaeological expeditions with her parents. Her mother disappears on one of these expeditions, and later on her father takes his own life, leaving Lara in the care of Conrad Roth. Despite her inheritance, Lara attends University College London, and works a series of jobs to pay her tuition. It’s at university that Lara meets her best friend Sam Nishimura, who accompanies her on her first big expedition to Yamatai.

The film picks up on this slightly, introducing Lara as a street smart bike messenger who manages to scrape together just enough cash to survive. We see Lara training at a kickboxing gym, where she is behind on payments, and agreeing to be the bait in a citywide bike chase that will offer her a hefty sum of cash, which she desperately needs. Despite her speed and quick wit, Lara is caught by the police and her guardian, Ana (Kristin Scott Thomas), is introduced. Ana oversees her father’s company, Croft Holdings, and urges Lara to sign documents that will declare her father, who has been missing for seven years, legally dead. In doing so, Lara will receive her inheritance, which includes Croft Manor, where the bulk of her father’s research is hidden. Lara herself has no archeological background, and there is no mention of Conrad Roth.

The Film Introduces Trinity Early

It isn’t until 2015’s “Rise of the Tomb Raider” that players are introduced to Trinity, a paramilitary organization which stems from an ancient order of knights and investigates the supernatural. Trinity are headed up by Konstantin, who Lara faces off against in the game. It is revealed that Konstantin’s sister is Ana, Richard Croft’s partner who has been both a spy for Trinity as well as manipulating Richard. Lara eventually discovers that her father did not commit suicide, but was murdered by Trinity. This is later confirmed by Ana, who doesn’t admit to killing Richard herself, but admits Trinity gave the order to do so. Ana is then killed by an unseen sniper, who isn’t allowed to kill Lara just yet.

The film nods to both Trinity as well as Ana’s role as double agent. Trinity are revealed have infiltrated a number smaller satellite companies, including one owned by Croft Holdings. Trinity gives off the same vibe as the Umbrella Corporation in the “Resident Evil” films, pitting Lara against a larger organization she will have to take down and stop in adventures (and perhaps a franchise) to come. Likewise, although Ana is initially introduced as Lara’s guardian, and someone who has overseen the Croft family business, and looked out for Lara’s best interest after her father’s death, the film slyly nods to Ana being a double agent. Lara seems to suspect Ana is the unseen women pictured in her father’s research about Trinity, and the woman gives a knowing glance as Lara uncovers the connection between Trinity and Croft Holdings.

It’s still too early to tell whether or not “Tomb Raider” will be greenlit into a franchise, although the film quite confidently nods to this as Lara acquires her signature double pistols and strikes a familiar pose. But with 2015’s “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and the recently announced “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” game out this September, there’s plenty of material for the future films to draw on for Lara’s next adventure.

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