Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2-Movie Collection – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

On paper, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was going to become the first blockbuster video game adaptation behind the star power of Angelina Jolie. Unfortunately, Lara Croft is so silly and pointless that it falls in line with past mediocre (albeit entertaining) video game adaptations. At the same time, it’s so senseless that it could have been one of those rare so-bad-it’s-good cult classics too. After all, director Simon West gave us the so-bad-it’s-good Con Air.

However, the more you watch it, the more you realize it’s not that kind of film either. Lara Croft is just a goofy film that flashes a lot of style, but instead of amazement, you get disappointment. It’s similar to a peacock spreading its feathers to scare off predators. It’s showy, but that’s all it is.

Not only that, but the stunts are incredibly vanilla as well. The execution of Lara’s iconic acrobatics is so pathetic. The action choreography is so poor that they possess no intensity at all. Not to mention, the dated CG looks especially bad and blends unconvincingly with the real-life actors and sets. Also, the story is stunningly complex without any real mystery. Screenwriters Patrick Massett and John Zinman explain Lara’s quest for the Triangle in multiple lengthy and convoluted exposition scenes. As a result, the film slows down to a crawl.

Lara Croft is not all bad, though. Despite not being British, Angelina Jolie is still the perfect Lara. Her demeanor and spunky personality are the right fit for the adventurous Lara Croft. 

Overall, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a mindless action-adventure movie with a lot of energy. Its heart is in the right place, but it ultimately became a forgettable experience. As much as the film wants to cement itself in the Indiana Jones landscape, it ended up being Kingdom of the Crystal Skull instead of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Movie Rating: 2.5/5 atoms

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

For an intellectual property that has a winning formula, it’s sad to see that the studios completely fumbled it with the lackluster first film. Sure, it had its moments, but that only just a few. At the same time, it attempted to become a female version of Indiana Jones, but instead, it became a poor man’s Indiana Jones. For Lara Croft: Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life, the filmmakers decided to completely disregard the archaeology aspect of Indiana Jones and turn her into James Bond instead. This globe-trotting adventure feels more like a spy film than an adventure film.

Not only that, but it’s clear that Jan de Bont (Speed) didn’t learn from the mistakes that Simon West made in the first film. Once again, the sequel is all style and no substance. Gone are the flashy visuals and edits, and in are the grand stunts and sweeping landscapes. Jan de Bont’s action sequences are fun to watch, but none of them serve the overall storyline. They’re there to look cool. So once again, it’s similar to a peacock spreading its feathers to scare off predators. It’s showy, but that’s all it is.

Angelina Jolie also phones it this time around, and whatever charm she had in the first film is completely gone here. It’s disheartening to see that a video game character has more life than its live-action counterpart. At the same time, Gerard Butler does his best to be a love interest for Lara Croft, but the chemistry isn’t there. Not to mention, his dialogue doesn’t do him any favors either. 

Overall, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life is clunky, lifeless, murky, and worst of all, it’s boring. Unfortunately, it also wastes the talents of Butler and Jolie by forcing them into a romantic subplot that doesn’t work. All things considered, maybe it was a good thing that the Jolie Tomb Raider franchise ended with Cradle of Life.

Movie Rating: 2.5/5 atoms

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Angelina Jolie

Video

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR10/Dolby Vision transfer and a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Because the picture has a high contrast (by design), there are so many washed-out whites in the film. With this in mind, it’s not the fault of the work done on the video itself at all. Despite that, the black levels are deep and inky black. The film has always had a muted color palette, so the color won’t ever jump off the screen in any bold manner. The details are also crisp, but the negative is that the CG creatures, like those inside the Cambodian temple, look unrealistic compared to when we first saw it in 2001. As for the film grain, they’re medium-sized, visible grain that’s consistent throughout. Overall, the video looks okay, but it’s primarily because of the source.

Video Rating: 4/5 atoms

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with an HDR10/Dolby Vision transfer and a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. Since Jan de Bont is a former cinematographer, the picture looks a million times better than Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. The brightness and black levels look better. The brightness is vibrant without any bloom, and the black levels are dark black with no loss of shadow details whatsoever. The color palette is much more expanded than the original film but has a warm temperature to it. Regardless, the colors are bold and pop off the screen—especially when the film goes to the vibrant cities of Shanghai and Hong Kong. Best of all, the picture is clean and clear, with a strong level of detail throughout. Overall, this is a great-looking video transfer.

Video Rating: 5/5 atoms

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life - Gerard Butler

Audio

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Even when the chaotic action sequences ensue, the soundstage always has sound effects running through all the speakers. Thankfully, none of them overpower one another. It’s a harmonious mix. The moody electro-rock score fills up the entire soundstage as well. On the other hand, the hip, electronic pop songs that play during the film sound static. Despite all that goes on in the soundstage, the dialogue still comes out with amazing clarity. Overall, this is a nice-sounding mix.

Audio Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life hits Ultra HD Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Sound effects are placed accurately throughout the soundstage. The atmospherics are audible—including the ambiance of the Luna Temple. Alan Silvestri’s score is more traditional compared to the first film’s more stylish tone. Thankfully, the score sounds as dynamic as the sound effects in the mix. There is a lot of action scenes in this film. Yet despite all of the pandemonium from it, the dialogue is consistently audible throughout. Overall, the audio mix for The Cradle of Life is superb.

Audio Rating: 5/5 atoms

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Angelina Jolie and Daniel Craig

Special Features

Similar to the 2018 4K release of both Lara Croft films, this 2-movie collection release doesn’t come with any bonus features. However, unlike the individual 4K releases, the 2-movie collection doesn’t come bundled with the Blu-rays and its extras.

Special Features Rating: n/a


Overall, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2-Movie Collection is a good Ultra HD Blu-ray set for those who are fans of Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider films. Even though it doesn’t contain any bonus features, the video and audio presentations are good, and you get more bang for your buck instead of buying them individually.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Paramount Home Entertainment.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1667 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.

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