Ta Prohm is a beautiful temple bound by massive roots of huge trees. It is located about 3 km away from the main Angkor Wat complex, and has been left largely unreconstructed in order to be conserved as a partial ruin. This has been intentional in hopes to preserve the photogenic and atmospheric experience that leave tourists feeling as though they are an early explorer. With the temples’ dynamic interaction between nature and man-made art, Ta Prohm is my very favourite, where I couldn’t help but feel a little like Indiana Jones or Lara Croft. I felt goosebumps creep up my arms and neck as I watched the sinking sun rays peek through the trees, illuminating the soft pinks and greens etched in the rugged walls.
The heavy impact that the Tomb Raider movie being filmed at this site has had is starting to stem some light controversy. Many visitors to the site (myself included) climbed over the temple’s delicate ruins feeling like Lara Croft exploring the jungle ruins. As a result of these imaginations and feelings associated with the temple, Ta Prohm is widely referred to as “Tomb Raider Temple” by both guide books and local tuk tuk drivers, which, according to some, blurs the “boundaries across authenticities, realities, and fiction.”
I personally feel as though the added imagery of the Tomb Raider movies and Lara Croft herself further adds to the site, rather than take away from it. I enjoy that the temple brings with it a sense of imagination and a little bit of “role play” for some.
What do you think? Do you think that the Tomb Raider films reduce to the site to a culturally and historically dis-embedded visual spectacle? Or do you feel as though the movies further add imagination, atmosphere, and a sense of adventure?