“Its not comfortable to watch, and it shouldn’t be.”
– Rhianna Pratchett, Lead Writer of Tomb Raider 2013.
Now that the majority of my Tomb Raider Cosplay is complete, it is prime time that I start to come to terms with ‘becoming’ Lara Croft herself. Seeing as the Em-Con Cosplay Competition is only days away, I need to start thinking about how I’m going to portray Lara while showcasing my outfit to the judges so that I can be as true to the character as possible. However, in order to let this embodiment appear authentic, I need to understand the essence of Lara’s characterization in this reboot of her origin story.
While the game was in development, Square Enix released a series of short videos via Youtube to whet fans appetites of the upcoming Tomb Raider game. The videos above are the first and second episodes in this series that explain the reasoning behind not only an entire reboot of the franchise, but also the telling of a gaming icon’s origin. A subject that they touch on in both of these videos in particular is my version of Lara that I wish to Cosplay as is her very first kill as well. Rhianna Pratchett, the lead writer of this entirely new chapter of Tomb Raider describe the scene in the quote I have used at the start of this post; which I personally feel is exactly how I felt when I first played the game last year while watching it. This scene shows Lara given virtually no choice but to kill or be killed, and it is something that you clearly see affects her long after she has made this first kill; like it realistically should be. We as the audience for the first time see Lara as a human being and not a beautiful icey woman who knows how to handle a gun; she is more than vulnerable and acting purely on instinct through sheer hope of survival which is something that no fan of the franchise has ever seen before, making the character all the more lovable.
Having studied the scene where Lara kills for the first time, I am fairly confident that I could replicate this type of emotional state quite easily as I have a strong background in acting as well. In order to make this appear authentic, what I need to keep reminding myself to do is to put myself in that state of mind as well, without it coming across as if I’m overacting; which I guess you could say is a form of method acting. When I first entered myself in to the Cosplay Competition at Em-Con, I was really worried that I wouldn’t be able to get in to character from fear of feeling embarrassed or self-conscious; but how I feel that since trying on the costume, experimenting with the make-up and studying the psyche of our favourite female archaeologist, I have even more of an appreciation for this character and it has reminded me of why I love to play the Tomb Raider games and why Lara is not only a feminine icon, but also a gaming one at that. It is obvious that she is clearly still seen as a sex symbol in many people’s eyes, but despite her appearance her characterization gives off notions of anything but being sexy; and this game in particular proves that Lara has shaken off any of these ideas by being brought back to life as a strong willed survivor who is entirely realistic.