Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is a 2003 action adventure film that is based on the Tomb Raider video game series. Angelina Jolie stars as the titular Lara Croft character with supporting performances from Gerard Butler, Ciaran Hinds, Chris Barrie, Noah Tayler, Til Schweiger, Djimon Honsou, and Simon Yam. An international co-production between the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, the film was directed by Jan de Bont and serves as a direct sequel to the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Just like the first film, The Cradle of Life received mostly negative reviews from film critics, though they did note it as an improvement on its predecessor, particularly in the action sequences, and continued to praise Jolie’s performance as Lara Croft. Despite the film’s critical improvement over its predecessor, it did not repeat its box office performance as it ended up grossing $157 million compared to the previous installment’s $275 million. It was however still a financial success and plans were made for a sequel, which were eventually cancelled when Jolie declined to reprise her role as Croft.
The Film Itself (2.5/5):
You know, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life really doesn’t make much of an improvement over the earlier released film. Sure, it is another movie with a considerably mindless storyline that’s embellished with considerable amounts of action and nostalgia for those who grew up playing the video games. While there really isn’t any part to this film that stands out and makes it noteworthy, it is a fun, action/adventure flick that you can sit down with zero expectations, less than 100% focus and ultimately chill out. Of course, Jolie’s performance as Croft in this sequel was spot on throughout, and the overall experience that the action sequences offered as they played out felt a lot better than its predecessor.
Picture Quality (5/5):
Offering a much, much cleaner experience than the earlier release, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life looked absolutely beautiful as it played out across my living room television. While in the earlier film, I noted a hint of pink in the picture that would make itself known from time to time; this particular film didn’t have any of that. The enhanced visuals allow for a much more real feeling to the storyline and a decently enjoyable experience for those watching along. The utilization of HDR throughout this release was really nicely done as it offered just a subtle boost to the overall colorization of the film, and a much more leveled out visual experience with the lighter and darker colors.
Audio Quality (3.5/5):
Packaged with an English DTS-HD Master Audio track, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life sounded really clean through my home theater system. While it’s not as immersive as I would have liked it to be, the audio was clean and clear and easily understandable. It should also be noted that the audio of this release, while nicely done, it really isn’t nearly as powerful of an experience as what was provided on the release of the first film. My wife and I weren’t really left in awe with the audio track of this release at all. In fact, after checking out some of the earlier releases of this movie, it appears as if they essentially re-used the audio track from the earlier Blu-ray release when making this release.
The Packaging (2.5/5):
The 4K UHD release of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life comes packaged in your standard dual-disc 4K UHD amaray case. Within that case is the standard 4K UHD copy of the film as well as the standard Blu-ray copy of the film. Neither disc in this release feature any artwork that’s related to the film outside of the standard release text and the generic blue and black backgrounds respectively. A digital copy redemption pamphlet has also been included with this release as well as a slipcover that features the same piece of artwork that’s made available on the case art during the initial print run.
Special Features (3/5):
The 4K UHD release of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is one that caught me off guard as it actually includes a feature audio commentary by director Jan De Bont on the UHD disc. However, to no surprise at all, all other special features are made available on the included Blu-ray disc. The material that has been made available is:
- Feature Audio Commentary By Director Jan De Bont
- Deleted & Alternate Scenes
- Vehicles and Weapons
- Visual Effects
- Gerard Butler’s Screen Test
- Music Video – Korn Did My Time
- Music Video – The Davey Brothers Heart Go Faster
Codec: HEVC / H.265
Resolution: Upscaled 4K (2160p)
Aspect Ratio: 2.34:1
Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Original Film: 117 minutes
Overall, I was really grateful for the opportunity to check out Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life on 4K UHD. This film, as well as the first in the series are both fun and crazy popcorn films that rank up there among the various Michael Bay films as guilty pleasures in my book. The visual experiences that this 4K release offers, while it is considered to be fake as it is an upscaled release, looked gorgeous on my living room television; mostly because of its utilization of HDR. The audio track, unfortunately, was hastily added as they used the same exact track that was provided on the earlier released Blu-ray copies of the film. If you’re going to try and promote the new format and put in the work of adding an HDR pass to the film, do the extra work to provide a top of the line experience. There’s a good chunk of special features that have been provided, including a feature audio commentary on the 4K UHD disc. If you’re considering grabbing this release for your collection, I’d recommend it. Even as an upgrade over the previously released Blu-ray copies. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life will be available on 4K UHD beginning on Tuesday, February 27, 2018.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.