Monday, March 5, 2018

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 4K Ultra HD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Travel to exotic locales around the globe in eye-popping 4K Ultra HD as adventurer Lara Croft hunts for priceless artifacts and battles to save the world! Angelina Jolie stars in the original blockbuster hit based on one of the most successful videogame characters ever. The first installment in the Tomb Raider saga is now available to own on 4K Ultra HD. Later this month, Alicia Vikander will star in the role in the new Tomb Raider film.

Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Lara Croft is described as Indiana Jones meets James Bond…but female.  Lara (Angelina Jolie) is mourning the anniversary of her father’s death during the first phase of a rare planetary alignment. She discovers a clock and other clues left by her father. 

Before the final phase of the alignment, is complete, the Illuminati must rejoin the halves of the Triangle of Light. They have hired attorney and all around bad guy Manfred Powell (Iain Glen) to gather the items they require so they can take over the world.  The Triangle grants the wielder power over time and space.  

Croft and Powell each have a piece of the triangle, which Lara wants to use to save her father’s life. Fellow tomb raider Alex West (Daniel Craig) learns that the other half of the triangle was split in two pieces.  He will join Lara and search the ends of the earth to make the item whole again. 

This used to be one of my favorite movies but it is one I haven’t dusted off in quite a while. Back in 2001 it was still pretty rare to see a woman involved in an action film where she didn’t need to be rescued. Although reminiscent of the game, you do have to get past the fact that Jolie is an action heroine with a very padded bra.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Tomb Raider represents very well on UHD. This isn’t a colorful film with aspects jumping off the screen. It performs very well in the dark interior of Lara’s home when under attack. The earthy Cambodian landscape shows great depth and detail. The laser sights on the weapons and the glow of the clock device offer brief pops of color to admire. Black levels throughout are rich without loss of detail. You will find some grainy images but an overall excellent presentation from Paramount.
Audio (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
The 4K release unfortunately does not include an upgrade to an Atmos soundtrack. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio offering does offer authentic gunfire and explosions. The action is felt throughout the surround system and dialogue is intelligible and consistent throughout the film.
Extras (3 out of 5 stars)
The 4K Disc offers audio commentary only while the Blu-ray contains the rest of the extras. Watching the supplemental features is where you really start to feel the age of the film. 
  • Audio Commentary – Feature length audio commentary with Director Simon West. 
  • Digging into Tomb Raider (25:28) – An overall look at the video game origins, the character Lara Croft and the Director’s vision for the global adventure. Includes cast and crew interviews where they discuss searching for the key actors, Angelina Jolie learning to fight and everyone’s desire to have the film taken seriously. 
  • Crafting Lara Croft (6:50) – This featurette details Angelina Jolie’s rigorous training which began 3 months prior to shooting. Jolie explains the multi-faceted approach and her father, Jon Voight, gives his reaction to her new skills and abilities. 
  • The Visual Effects of Tomb Raider (20:19) – Available individually or with play all function, these featurettes focus on specific elements. Pre-viz animation and the mixing of computer generated and live effects is explored. The topics are: 
    • Droid 
    • Clock 
    • Knife 
    • The Husky 
    • Stone Monkeys 
    • Powell – The Storm 
    • The Brahman 
    • The Griffins 
  • The Stunts of Tomb Raider (9:28) – A look at the stunts, often without stunt double, including the bungee ballet, attack on the house and other sequences. Angelina Jolie, the director and the special effects coordinator all weigh in on the stunt sequences. 
  • Are You Game? (8:01) – A look at the icon Lara Croft and her video game roots. This featurette includes information on the history of the game, timing of the movie and technology advances that affected game play. 
  • Deleted Scenes (7:19 total runtime) – Available with play all function are the following deleted scenes: 
    • Powell Kills Wilson 
    • Powell and Pimms 
    • You might try to kill me 
    • Lara and Alex in vehicle 
  • U2 Elevation (4:03) – Music video 
  • Alternate Main Title (2:07) 
  • Teaser Trailer (2:03) 
  • Trailer (2:20)
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is an entertaining film.  Angelina Jolie definitely took the role seriously and trained hard for the role. The lack of a stunt double is obvious in some of the key action sequences and I appreciate the fact that Jolie worked hard to be able to perform the stunts. I don’t expect it to compare to the action and effects that can be pulled off in a 2018 release but watching the first film is a good way to gear up for the new release. As someone who never played the video games, I always enjoyed this film for what it is without making comparisons to the video game icon.

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