Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

This March, we are getting another crack taken at the Tomb Raider game franchise being adapted to the big screen with Alicia Vikander as the new Lara Croft. Let us not forget the early 2000s when much excitement came and the perfect bit of dream casting in that of Angela Jolie in the title role. While the film did solid box office, most found it to be a bit of a disappointment, though still led to a sequel The Cradle of Life. Many will tell you that was a much better and actually good film. However, people didn’t trust their dollars on it after the first and its box office failure effectively shut down the franchise. But, with a reboot comes the great think in that the home video editions of the originals usually see a nice upgrade. And here we are with both Tomb Raider films seeing a 4K Ultra-HD format jump. In this review, we’ll be digging into the first film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.


This live action feature is inspired by the most successful interactive video-game character in history — Lara Croft. Beautiful and brainy, Lara is the heroine of Eidos Interactive’s phenomenally successful “Tomb Raider” game series. It is one woman’s fearless quest criss-crossing the globe, in an amazing attempt to save the world.

A first-time film adaption of the wildly Sony Playstation game Tomb Raider’s most difficult task in production was to nail the casting of the main character Lara Croft. Paramount shattered that challenge and satisfied majority of fans by landing Angelina Jolie in the role. But, for some reason, they apparently gave up on everything else after that, feeling that victory was enough for success.  And I’d hate to see what this movie would be like to sit through without Jolie. She makes what is otherwise a random, generic uninteresting plot and set of action pieces somewhat watchable.

This movie is called Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, but (I’m gonna go era-specific on this one) it could have been called “Lara Croft: Cribs”. For a game that boasts travel, adventure and exploration, this movie takes forever to truly get Lara Croft out of here house. At least three of the film’s first action sequences take place inside of it. It dulls the movie right from the start and once we actually get out and in a tomb, I’m bored and it almost doesn’t feel any different from being in her house. Every character and plot detail feels just so stock, generic and uninteresting you feel like saying “Can we just start jumping and shooting at each other”.  And those moments aren’t really exciting either (Sorry Simon West, but I do LOVE Con Air).

Watching the film took me back and reminded me how far along we’ve come in terms of blockbuster filmmaking. Whereas I’m sure not a lot of the people involved with this production gave a rip, they just wanted to put something out that resembled Tomb Raider and that was fine and if it was good, great and if it made money that’s what mattered. More often than not, something we liked coming to fruition was likely to bring on some disappointment (Especially with video games). Maybe they cared, I don’t know. But it feels like today, those involved would put in the research and know more of what their audience wants and its more likely to deliver than it is to disappoint. When people complain about any of the Marvel movies (Or similar), I laugh and just can’t get on board, because I lived through and remember the summers where we’d occasionally get a Pirates of the Caribbean, but more often than not we got a Tomb Raider.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is quite the miss considering expectations for such a popular game that should have translated swimmingly to feature film. Nonetheless, I still think delivers enough to be solid munch on your popcorn or have on in the background while you’re doing something else entertainment. It has moments, not particularly memorable but entertaining ones, and a fully game lead that make it watchable enough. But, its also a nice little time capsule into how far we’ve come in mastering the summer blockbuster formula in terms of quality.


Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: I’m about ready to chalk Paramount up there with Sony and Warner Bros in terms of having impressive catalog titles on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray. Like the Transformers movies that came before it, these aren’t great films, but they sure do come over to the format looking great. This one has an improved sharpness, detail and blacks here with some fun little added HDR play in the right places. The film is much more rich looking and three dimensional. Someone at Paramount likes this film because some obvious care was taken.

Depth: Tomb Raider has a little more of a three dimensional kick now, with some good spacing between foreground and background imagery. Movements are cinematic in nature with no distortions during rapidity in the action sequences.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural, rich and the overall highlight of this new transfer. No detail is lost in the darkness or on clothing or hair. The darkened scenes enhance the overall sharpness in many sequences as well.

Color Reproduction: Tomb Raider really isn’t a colorful movie, but the natural looking aged rock and such in the tombs look very good. What does pop are the laser sites on guns or counters. Some explosions and gunfire carry a little added HDR burst.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent form start to finish. Lip texture, sweat, water beads, dried blood, make-up, wrinkles and more come through clear as day from any given distance.

Noise/Artifacts: There is some grain left intact that isn’t at all distraction.


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French Canadian 5.1 Dolby Digital, French Parisian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese Brazilian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Russian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish Castilian 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish Latin American 5.1 Dolby Digital & English Audio Description

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin Simplified, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French Canadian, French Parisian, Norwegian, Portuguese Brazilian, Russian, Spanish Castilian, Spanish Latin American & Swedish Subtitles

Dynamics: Many, like myself, were disappointed that these films were being redone and no Atmos track included. However, I did notice that the original Blu-ray release of the film only carried a Dolby Digital track. So, this 5.1 is new. Its effective, but it is a bit problematic with its mix. The good: the sound effects here are crisp, well rounded and pack quite the punch. They are very pronounced and hit deep. The bad: the vocals are quite low here and can be lost a little at times and you’ll want to crank up to hear a bit better but then your sound effects get way too loud. The music featured in the film is hit and miss with this. Sometimes its pronounced and rich and other times a little lower than I think was intended. Overall, its a fine experience, but the blend is noticeable not woven as well as it should have been.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Explosions, heavy rocks movie, engines, gunfire and selected music numbers carry a little bump to them.

Surround Sound Presentation: There are some great moments of sound travel during the big action sets in the tombs where stuff really does go from back to front and also side to side quite neatly.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are have good clarity but suffer a bit from being lower in the mix.


Lara Croft: Tomb Raider comes with the standard Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. Aside from the commentary, all bonus materials are found on the standard Blu-ray. All extras are ported over from the original releases.

4K Ultra-HD Disc

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Simon West

Blu-ray Disc

Digging Into Tomb Raider (SD, 25:27)

Crafting Lara Croft (SD, 6:49)

The Visual Effects Of Tomb Raider (SD, 20:19)

Tomb Raider Stunts (SD, 9:28)

Are You Game? (SD, 8:00)

Deleted Scenes (SD, 7:18)

U2 Music Video: “Elevation” – Tomb Raider Mix (SD, 4:02)

Alternate Main Title (SD, 2:06)

Teaser Trailer (HD, 2:03)

Trailer (HD, 2:19)


Lara Croft Tomb Raider isn’t a good movie, but its a watchable piece of background entertainment. That’s no shining endorsement for purchase or upgrading, but that’s what it is. If you are interesting, the film features a terrific picture quality on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray and a new lossless 5.1 track that punches but at the cost of some balancing issues. All your old extras are here courtesy of the old Blu-ray release. If you’re curious, I’d wait for a big price drop on the film or your nostalgic wave of enthusiasm if the new one is good.


Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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