Screening Prompt: Tomb Raider

Categories: Screening Prompts

How do the representations of gender and sexuality differ in Tomb Raider from the screenings we’ve seen before? Or do you see little change? Do theories of gender and sexuality in film and TV fit this video-game influenced text? (You can also apply this question to the Lara Croft machinima we’ll watch in class on Thursday.)

The reading explored gender and sexuality in video game representation and video game experience, suggesting that the Lara Croft video game franchise might offer, to a limited degree at least, new representations of active female power, and of male identification with a female avatar. Do these shifts in gender representation and engagement also manifest in the film versions of video games? Is Lara Croft in the movie Tomb Raider as potentially empowering as game-Lara Croft? Or is she still a disempowered spectacle, to-be-looked-at, as in the scenario originally described by Laura Mulvey?

How are the negotiations of gender in the Lara Croft game series recreated or transformed when adapted to film in Tomb Raider? For example, how does this preoccupation with the female stunting body & desire to know discussed by Kennedy manifest in the film (or does it not?) What about the fetishization of the digital powerful female, the highlighting of the construction of femininity and gender? And how about questions of transgender identification? Is Lara still equally available for male and female engagement?

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