Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Perhaps being sensitive to critical feedback, many of the problems found in LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER are absent in TOMB RAIDER: CRADLE OF LIFE. That’s not to say Cradle is that much better, but at least there’s more of an effort here. Gone are the uncomfortably long shots of Angelina Jolie slowly getting out of the water or the awkward plot, but most importantly, Lara Croft actually leaves her mansion. Cradle of Life is clearly better than the original, but it still has too many flaws to make it worthwhile.
We find Lara (Jolie) jet skiing in Greece as she and a slew of other treasure hunters are searching for buried treasure after an earthquake shakes things up. But Lara knows something they don’t and her small team go diving to find a lost treasure trove from Alexander the Great. But once she finds an orb, it is quickly stolen from her by Chen (Simon Yam) and his gang. Recruited by MI-6 to track it down, she teams up with her former beau Terry (Butler) to infiltrate Chen’s gang to steal the orb and thwart mastermind Jonathan Reiss (Hinds).
One of my biggest complaints with the first Tomb Raider was that it kept Lara Croft in her mansion for too much of the film. She’s an international archeologist, and the sequel picked up on that and sent her flying around the world, from London to Greece to China and then to Africa. That was a welcomed change as we got to see a little more of Lara in action. Speaking of action, the sequel improved on the action scenes as well. I have to pause because it sounds like I’m praising Cradle of Life and to be clear, the film is good compared to the original, but compared to other action films, it’s still pretty terrible. The villain is one dimensional and hell bent on destroying the world for no reason, the male lead is a mindless tough guy and our heroine has all of her character insights delivered to the audience through another character.
Gerard Butler is a surprisingly nice addition, adding some charm and wit to the film. He was underused and had a chance to lighten things up, but it was a fine line between making him charming and making him the star. This is Jolie’s movie and she looks much more comfortable in the role compared to the original. In the original, she looked like she didn’t want to be there, but here she looks like she’s having fun. All of the other supporting characters are mercifully held to small and meaningless roles.
I wasn’t a fan of the video games and I don’t have much faith that there can actually be a good Tomb Raider film. LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: CRADLE OF LIFE was a step in the right direction, but the cheesiness and lack of a decent story kept the film from ever ascending above a b-grade action movie. Again, Angelina Jolie was the perfect actress to play Lara Croft, but she didn’t have much help.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Just like with the first Tomb Raider film, the 4K transfer for LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: CRADLE OF LIFE is a significant upgrade over the Blu-ray. In fact, I feel like I’m repeating myself, because the Cradle of Life excels in all the same places; closeups have more detail, settings have more clarity and the colors look wonderful thanks to the HDR. Cradle of Life is clearly the better looking of the two, mainly because of the nice settings in the sequel. The various landscapes and bright settings look great on 4K.
Audio: Again, the lack of a significant upgrade on the audio front is disappointing, but the DTS track is efficient.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no special features exclusive to the 4K, but it does include a Blu-ray of the film, which includes the following special features: