Action Adventure

‘Tomb Raider’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review: With Blood, Sweat and Tears, Lara Croft is Reborn for a New Generation of Moviegoers

June 12, 2018Ben MK

Arriving on the heels of the game franchise's 20-year anniversary, director Roar Uthaug's Tomb Raider reboot sees Alicia Vikander taking up Lara Croft's bow and arrow and taking over the role first made famous by Angelina Jolie. And although the actress, best known for her dramatic turns in films like The Danish Girl and Ex Machina, has a very different screen presence from her predecessor, she still does well in capturing the essence of the character, cementing her as an empowered, 21st-century female action icon to be reckoned with.

Written by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, Tomb Raider's origin story finds 21-year-old Lara at a turning point in her life. 7 years earlier, her father, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), went missing while on an expedition to locate the tomb of the legendary Japanese Death Goddess Himiko, and ever since then Lara has been doing her best to carve out a life for herself. What that translates to, of course, is plenty of kickboxing and cycling, so that when it comes time for Lara to head to a remote Japanese island in order to solve the mystery of her father's disappearance, she's physically prepared for the obstacles and the opposition she'll face along the way.

Needless to say, the plot is something of a necessary evil, meaning that it exists largely to get Lara from point A (the novice adventurer she is when we first meet her) to point B (the badass she becomes towards the end). To both the filmmakers' and Vikander's credit, however, the transition feels hard-earned, which is also a testament to the rousing stunt work and action choreography. Factor in the respectable cast, which includes Daniel Wu doing his best with a throwaway role and Walton Goggins as the menacing antagonist, and there's a lot more to like here than just Lara herself.

It all adds up to an impressive leap forward in quality compared to the previous two Tomb Raider films. The action this time around is more thrilling, with well-placed nods Lara's 32-bit origins, and Vikander brings a great deal more dramatic depth to the part than Jolie ever did. And although the movie occasionally leans too heavily on its CGI set-pieces, this mostly grounded, definitely grittier take makes for a satisfying start to a brand new franchise.

Tomb Raider takes aim at the 4K format with a rough-and-ready, HDR-enhanced 2160p encode, bolstered by a solid Dolby Atmos sound mix. Set in London, Hong Kong and Japan, but shot primarily in Cape Town, South Africa, the film makes quite an impression in Ultra HD, with razor-sharp image detail and brilliant colors to bring to life the nuances of Croft Manor, as well as the rocky terrain and jungle environments of the movie's latter half. As for the audio, it's virtually flawless, as every element of the sound design — from stormy ocean waves, to gunfire and explosions, to crumbling ruins — thoroughly immerses viewers in this action-packed adventure.

Warner's two-disc 4K Ultra HD release includes an UltraViolet/Movies Anywhere digital copy and a Blu-ray copy of the film. There are no special features on the 4K disc, but the following extras can be found on the Blu-ray:

  • Tomb Raider: Uncovered (7:06) - A look at the filmmakers' approach to crafting this origin story, Alicia Vikander's portrayal of Lara Croft, what director Roar Uthaug brings to the film, the action elements of the movie, and filming in South Africa.
  • Croft Training (6:06) - Personal Trainer Magnus Lygdback gives viewers a look at Vikander's rigorous physical training regimen for the role.
  • Breaking Down the Rapids (5:34) - A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film's key action sequences, from the stunts to the visual effects.
  • Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon (9:53) - Video game Specialist Erika Ishii and Crystal Dynamics Senior Community Manager Meagan Marie discuss the evolution of Tomb Raider video game franchise, from the original 1996 game to the 2013 reboot, and beyond.

Tomb Raider is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of June 12th, 2018. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 58 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on March 15th, 2018.

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