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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 4 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Cradle of Life outshines its predecessor with a more coherent story and solid 4K, but lacks new extras.

    Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life's UHD release dazzles with improved clarity, vibrant Dolby Vision, and rich details, despite minor issues and aged effects.

  • Audio
  • Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 excels in immersive, dynamic sound, despite dated elements and vocal softness, it vividly orchestrates action scenes and environments.

  • Extra
  • The Cradle of Life's extras, all on Blu-ray, include Jan de Bont's commentary, featurettes on production aspects, and music videos. The UHD disc lacks these bonuses.

  • Movie
  • Paramount releases Angelina Jolie's 'Tomb Raider' films in UHD alongside a reboot, maintaining technical specs but adding no new features, while the sequels offer improved yet still flawed action and adventure.

    Video: 82

    Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" makes a visually striking journey onto 4K UHD Blu-ray with an HEVC / H.265 encoding, presented in a widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio and supported by a BD-66 layer. The transfer, likely an upscale from its original 2K digital intermediate, impresses with a marked improvement in image clarity and detail over its Blu-ray predecessor. This enhancement is evident in the vivid depiction of facial textures, such as the meticulous portrayal of skin pores and Gerard Butler's rugged stubble, alongside sharper details within the environments and attire. Nonetheless, the presentation isn't without its flaws; the film's age reveals itself through softened wide shots and notably dated CG effects. A subtle grain persists, adding a preferred film-like quality to the visual experience, while minor instances of aliasing and print damage, though present, do little to detract from the overall high-definition allure.

    The 4K rendition truly excels in its color handling and contrast levels, thanks to the inclusion of Dolby Vision HDR. Colors exhibit enhanced density and brilliance, with whites achieving striking luminescence without blooming—bringing outstanding clarity to scenes like sun-drenched locales or neon-lit Hong Kong streets. The HDR enhancement further intensifies specular highlights and deepens black levels, enriching the visual texture with a broader color range that adds subtle nuances to scenes. Principal colors are vividly saturated, and flesh tones, despite occasionally veering towards an overly tanned appearance, become more natural as the narrative progresses.

    Notably, this UHD release shines in its depiction of dark environments and night-time sequences, where the impeccable black depth and shadow delineation stand out, making these moments a highlight of the disc. While minor flaws such as small specks and a stray hair are observed, they scarcely detract from what is fundamentally a robust and engaging 4K presentation. The improvement in depth perception between foreground and background elements further enhances the cinematic quality, ensuring a visually gratifying experience that surpasses its earlier Blu-ray iteration in both detail and vibrancy.

    Audio: 82

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack featured in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life" 4K UHD Blu-ray remains unchanged from its Blu-ray counterpart, offering a consistent audio experience that aptly supports the film's action-packed narrative. Despite lacking an upgrade to a more contemporary audio format, the mix excels in its immersive use of the surround sound channels, with a keen attention to detail in directional effects and a dynamic range that, while not venturing into the highest frequencies, delivers clear and detailed audio across the board. Notable is the handling of environmental sounds and action sequences, which are brought to life through effective panning and the discrete use of channels, creating a spacious and engaging soundstage.

    However, the soundtrack is not without its shortcomings, with gunfires and certain high-intensity sounds often getting lost amidst the sonic mayhem, detracting from the overall clarity that the mix strives for. Additionally, while vocals are generally distinct and well-placed within the center channel, there's a noticeable imbalance as they can come across softer and lower in the mix compared to the more dominant sound effects. This aspect somewhat marred the otherwise meticulous sound design focused on delivering an immersive auditory experience.

    In terms of bass response and low-frequency effects, the soundtrack provides sufficient mid-bass support to complement the visual spectacle on screen, though it doesn't leave a lasting impression in terms of depth or power. The audio presentation shines in its surround sound execution, with neat moments of sound movement that enhance the film's big action scenes, ensuring a cohesive and dynamic listening experience despite the aforementioned flaws in balance and intensity.

    Extra: 72

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life" primarily touts the film itself, with the bulk of special features relegated to the accompanying Blu-ray disc, which remains unchanged from Warner Brothers' 2013 release. Directed by Jan de Bont, the provided audio commentary offers in-depth insights on the film's production, along with a selection of seven deleted or alternate scenes complemented by optional directorial commentary. The extras delve deeply into the film’s making with six behind-the-scenes featurettes that cover training, vehicles and weapons, stunts, visual effects, scoring, and even Gerard Butler's screen test. Completing the bonus materials are two music videos: Korn's "Did My Time" and The Davey Brothers' "Heart Go Faster." Both the 4K UHD disc and Blu-ray include a digital copy of the film. This release caters well to fans seeking a deeper dive into the film's creation while maintaining focus on its high-definition presentation.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: Director Jan de Bont discusses the technical aspects of the film.
    • Deleted/Alternate Scenes: Optional commentary by Jan de Bont, includes an alternate ending.
    • Behind the Scenes: Training: Dive into Angelina Jolie's preparation for her role.
    • Behind the Scenes: Vehicles and Weapons: Exploration of the film's gadgets and autos.
    • Behind the Scenes: Stunts: A look at the choreography behind the movie's action sequences.
    • Behind the Scenes: Visual Effects: Insight into the creation of the film's digital elements.
    • Behind the Scenes: Scoring: Overview of the film's musical themes.
    • Behind the Scenes: Gerard Butler Screen Test: Gerard Butler's audition for the film.
    • Music Video: Did My Time by Korn: Official music video.
    • Music Video: Heart Go Faster by The Davey Brothers: Official music video.

    Movie: 71

    Paramount's release of "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life" on 4K UHD Blu-ray brings the action-packed sequel into the high-definition era, albeit with mixed technical offerings. The film, which sees Angelina Jolie reprising her role as the iconic Lara Croft, has been upscaled to 4K with Dolby Vision, promising richer colors and enhanced contrast. However, it eschews the more immersive Atmos soundtrack in favor of the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 setup carried over from its 2013 Blu-ray release. This choice, while not diminishing the film's auditory experience significantly, leaves something to be desired in terms of fully leveraging modern home theater capabilities. The additional inclusion of a Blu-ray disc, identical to the 2013 version and replete with all previously released supplements, offers little in the way of new material for enthusiasts and collectors.

    The second outing for Jolie's Croft ventures further into audacious territory, featuring an array of over-the-top action sequences set across a globe-trotting adventure. From underwater brawls with sharks to skydiving in wingsuits, the film attempts to elevate its adrenaline quotient, albeit at the expense of logic and narrative coherence. Under the direction of Jan de Bont, there's an observable attempt to mature the portrayal of its lead; Lara is depicted with a keen emphasis on her prowess and intellect rather than solely her physical appearance, despite some lingering elements from its predecessor. The villainous cast, led by a cartoonish Ciarán Hinds, treads familiar territory as stereotypical baddies, though Gerard Butler's inclusion adds a nuanced layer to Croft's usual encounters.

    Despite its improvements in certain areas over the first film, "The Cradle of Life" struggles to shake off the sense of being a derivative action flick with moments that flirt with direct-to-video quality. The pacing and varied locales keep viewers engaged through its globe-trotting narrative but rarely delve into the tombs that the title alludes to. This sequel makes strides towards a more refined cinematic offering, evident in its slightly better-received action choreography and clearer thematic intentions, yet remains encumbered by its inability to fully develop its titular character beyond the shadow of her video game origins and into a narrative depth that could have elevated the franchise beyond its two-film run.

    Total: 76

    Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life" ascends onto 4K UHD Blu-ray with a presentation that, while not outshining its predecessor entirely, aligns closely in terms of visual enhancement, making it a commendable upgrade from standard Blu-ray editions. Director Jan de Bont elevates the narrative, delivering a sequel that, despite its lackluster attempt at redefining fun, engages viewers with a more coherent storyline and a renewed focus on Lara Croft as a formidable, intelligent character. Angelina Jolie returns to her role, alongside Gerard Butler, grounding the fantastical elements more firmly in reality and offering an action-packed experience that surpasses the original’s adventurous yet erratic ethos. The film's 4K Dolby Vision HDR presentation shines, enhancing the visual feast, though its audio track, a DTS-HD MA soundtrack, whilst immersive, doesn't mark a significant improvement over its predecessor.

    However, the package falters slightly by not introducing any new supplements or audio enhancements that fans might have hoped for with this high-definition re-release. The extra content remains unchanged, directly ported from previous versions, which might disappoint enthusiasts looking for additional insights into the movie's creation or expanded universe narratives. Despite this oversight, the 4K rendition upholds a quality that will satisfy aficionados of the franchise and collectors alike who are looking to upgrade their library to the latest in home theater technology.

    In conclusion, while "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Cradle of Life" on 4K UHD Blu-ray doesn't revolutionize the home cinema experience, it presents a solid case for upgrading from lower resolution formats. Its enhanced visual representation and loyal adherence to the original supplementary materials make it a worthwhile acquisition for fans and collectors, especially when found at a competitive price point. This re-release confirms the movie’s status as an action-adventure staple that has improved upon its introduction, warranting attention from both series veterans and newcomers intrigued by the legacy of Lara Croft.