Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life (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, its time for the sequel, the lengthy titled Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.


Fearless explorer Lara Croft tries to locate Pandora’s box before criminals Jonathan Reiss and Chen Lo use it for evil. According to myth, the box holds deadly organisms that could kill millions of people. With her old partner, Terry, Croft goes on a hunt that takes her from Europe to Asia to Africa, where pal Kosa helps her. Along the way, Croft rappels down cliffs, scuba dives and decimates many male opponents.

Scott Mendelson has a classic box office term he refers to as the “Tomb Raider Trap”. That refers to a situation where a quality sequel is made to a poor first film. Said first film makes a good box office take, but nobody liked it, so they don’t turn up for the superior sequel since they were burned the first time. Where they bad film has a good dollar amount next to it and the next bombs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows was a recent victim of this trap.

The Cradle Of Life isn’t a great film, but its a pretty solid one and much close to what you’d want from a film based on the Tomb Raider video games. Every aspect is improved upon from the script to the director. This movie took notes on what people didn’t like about the first film and decided to stay away from that stuff and go in its own direction. And in that regard, it does a good job of not feeling like the same thing again. A shame that the movie didn’t do well and they stopped the franchise as Angelina Jolie could’ve had herself a pretty fun little James Bond/Indiana Jones franchise.

The first film traveled and had exteriors, but it all felt akin to that training room in Lara’s mansion; it never felt genuine or real.  Plus, she took forever to leave that damn mansion. Here, we start out at sea and continue traveling to different places and tombs that actually feel like location shoots. That’s what happens when you get someone with a better handle on things at the helm like Jan De Bont (Bonus that he’s a cinematographer too). Watching these films back to back days, the second just felt like a refreshing escape after the first one.

No, this isn’t some hidden gem or great overlooked movie, but Lara Croft’s sequel is actually a pretty solid action adventure film. Angelina Jolie is once again super game and this time she’s surrounded by a lot better people helming it. Unfortunately people worried about being fooled a second time around and we never received her in the role a 3rd time. Hell, she could still do it NOW, but I’m hoping the studio wanted a refresher to forget these films more than they didn’t think she was age appropriate for the role anymore.  But, this is the bar that’s set for the new one to top. Not a super high bar, but if the new one stinks, I’m sure we’ll see some “in defense of” articles or “Second Tomb Raider was all right” pieces.


Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life ventures to 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with another very solid transfer. However, I think the nature of the source kind of keeps it from being a complete gem. Normally, bright tropical scenes are fantastic, but this one has a look that almost has a monotonous red to everything that may just be the lighting. However, the film’s final act looks incredible here. All throughout though, the picture is quite sharp and details are strong, but its the darker scenes that really take the cake.

Depth:  Solid dimensional work here between background and foreground. Some of the camera movements in wider establishing shots looks very good. Movements are smooth with no distortions during the action.

Black Levels: Once again, another Tomb Raider and the “tomb-ish” sequences or dark at night ones look the best. The third act looks amazing, bringing on much better definitions, three dimensioniality and just an overall awesome 4K look.

Color Reproduction: This one features some stronger colors than the previous one due to it having a more tropical and outdoors feel. Golds look good. HDR comes in with the ball bursting out with beams as well as the box at the end. There is also a great moment looking upon a city with neon signs from the sea at dusk.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones have this slightly overtanned looked to them for a lot of it and then get to a more natural look during the finale (Yeah, I know, I’ve been all about the finale). Lip texture, face paint, sweat, blood splatter, stubble and more come through quite crisp at any given distance.

Noise/Artifacts:  Clean


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital & English Audio Description

Subtitles: English, English SDH, French & Spanish Subtitles

Dynamics: The 5.1 mix here is right in line with the one on the first film so much that they could be twins. Which, is good for the sound effects, but not so much the vocals. The balance leans heavily in favor of said effects, which hit hard and sound well defined. Vocals are much softer, lower and its a real shame.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Explosions, energy bursts, engines, gunfire, things crumbling down and much more crush down on your subwoofer.

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: The Cradle Of Life 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 Blu-ray Disc

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Jan de Bont

Blu-ray Disc

Deleted/Alternate Scenes With Optional Commentary (SD, 11:56)

Training (SD, 8:57)

Vehicles and Weapons (SD, 4:32)

Stunts (SD, 10:57)

Visual Effects (SD, 11:29)

Scoring (SD, 4:47)

Gerard Butler’s Screen Test (SD, 4:02)

Korn “Did My Time” Music Video (SD, 4:04)

The Davey Brothers “Heart Go Faster” Music Video (SD, 3:37)


Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life is solid improvement in all facets over the previous film. When it comes to the 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, its pretty much in line with the first one. That’s good for the video, but the audio leaves stuff to be desired. All the extras from before are still here via the original Blu-ray release (Which was actually put out by Warner Bros, not Paramount). While its a solid film, I’d definitely wait for a good $10 sale to pick this up for an upgrade.


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).

1 Response to “Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)”

  1. Ulises

    Just this guilty pleasure of mine, I didn’t expect this video quality, Paramount did an stellar job