Tomb Raider (3D Blu-ray) (2018)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 20-Jun-2018

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Adventure Featurette-Making Of-Tomb Raider: Uncovered
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Croft Training
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Breaking Down the Rapids
Featurette-Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2018
Running Time 117:49
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Roar Uthaug
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Alicia Vikander
Dominic West
Walter Goggins
Daniel Wu
Kristin Scott Thomas
Derek Jacobi
Alexandre Willaume
Hannah John-Kamen
Nick Frost
Jaime Winstone
Michael Obiora
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $34.95 Music Junkie XL


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
German DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Thai Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
French
German
Spanish
Cantonese
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
Korean
Mandarin
Norwegian
Swedish
Thai
Turkish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Mid credits scene

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    2018's Tomb Raider represents the second attempt to adapt the long-running video game series of the same name into a big-screen blockbuster franchise, fifteen years after the first cinematic incarnation (starring Angelina Jolie) petered out after a mere two instalments. This reboot takes its cues primarily from the 2013 video game reboot, merging the game's broad plot strokes and reimagined Lara Croft with Batman Begins-style gritty realism, and it's an origin story to boot. Despite refined visuals and an intriguing change of direction, this new Tomb Raider only works in fits and starts, marred by uneven pacing and an overcomplicated story. A movie this technically proficient and expensive has no business being so lacklustre and cold to the touch.

    Seven years ago, Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West) mysteriously vanished on a business trip, and his daughter Lara (Alicia Vikander) still clings to the possibility that he is alive. Struggling to make a living as a bicycle courier in London, Lara stands to inherit her father's vast fortune, but refuses to sign the paperwork to declare him legally deceased. However, Richard's business partner Ana (Kristin Scott Thomas) warns Lara that Richard's estate will be sold off if she does not accept the inheritance. Discovering a clue left in her father's will, Lara is led to his private office, learning of Richard's secret life as an adventurer and finding his research about Japanese witch Himiko. Although Richard's pre-recorded message instructs Lara to destroy his work, she seeks to use it to find him, travelling to Hong Kong where she teams with boat captain Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) to locate the remote island of Yamatai off the coast of Japan. Shipwrecked after navigating violent waters, Lara discovers that Yamatai is under the control of mercenaries led by Vogel (Walter Goggins) who seek to weaponise Himiko's power on behalf of the shadowy organisation Trinity.

    Narratively, this Tomb Raider boils down to a less thematically-resonant riff on the aforementioned 2013 video game. Most of the appeal of the original games is stripped away in favour of the "origin story" format, refusing to cut loose as the film builds towards the Lara Croft we know, down to a mid-credits scene in which she obtains her coveted dual pistols. Couple this with a painfully generic story set-up, and this reviewer was left wanting to watch a sequel instead. In addition, whereas Lara is the prominent focus of the video games, facing physical challenges and solving puzzles, 2018's Tomb Raider is inexplicably a group effort. With Lara not yet a confident woman of action, Lu Ren is allotted a bizarrely large role in the proceedings, presumably because generic would-be blockbusters such as this now heavily rely on China to make money. Furthermore, the script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons is tonally inconsistent; over-the-top set-pieces are the order of the day, yet there is also a grim scene observing Lara who's traumatised in the immediate aftermath of her first kill.

    Determined to distinguish this Tomb Raider from the cartoonish Jolie-starring pictures, director Roar Uthaug (2015's The Wave) and cinematographer George Richmond (Children of Men) imbue the material with an effectively gritty look, reminiscent of the 2013 game. Production values are expectedly nice across the board, with vivid digital effects that show how far CGI has come since the original movies. Visually, there is much to appreciate about Tomb Raider, which is unsurprising given the hefty budget. Uthaug proves a proficient visual stylist, making astute use of the locations and sets, establishing a palpable sense of place and atmosphere while on the island. It is clear, however, that the filmmakers took more influence from Uncharted than Tomb Raider - as a matter of fact, on top of the evident aesthetic influence, one of the narrative twists here is lifted directly from the first Uncharted game. Still, isolated sections of the movie do work, with well-staged sequences that deserve to be seen on the largest possible screen. Aside from the occasional shootouts, the film's centrepiece involves Lara being pursued through the jungle and down rushing rapids, leaving her trapped on an airplane wreckage precariously perched atop a waterfall. Additionally, the third act involves some actual tomb raiding, living up the movie's title.

    One of the primary issues relates to pacing; the narrative is dense and overcomplicated, which requires endless monotonous exposition to make it comprehensible. Despite handsome visuals, Uthaug is unable to liven the humdrum script - Tomb Raider is often a slog between the action beats. It's telling that Stuart Baird receives an editorial credit; he's renowned for being brought onto troubled projects to salvage movies in the editing room. Moreover, Tomb Raider strives for heart and emotion through Richard and Lara's relationship, yet it never gains much traction despite the endless flashbacks to hammer home how close they were. Still, Vikander is fine as Lara, though there is not much depth to the character and she is decidedly more self-serious than Jolie. West, on the other hand, displays severely limited range, while the reliable Goggins turns in a passable performance as the underwritten key villain. There are also a few high-end British actors in the movie's first act (including Kristin Scott Thomas and Derek Jacobi) to keep viewers wondering if one of them is a secret bad guy. The only humour is supplied by Nick Frost and Jaime Winstone as married pawnbrokers who only appear in two short scenes.

    The Jolie-starring Lara Croft films were not especially good from a critical standpoint, but they nailed the video game's goofiness and had a genuine sense of identity. 2018's Tomb Raider, on the other hand, is disposable, formulaic and flavourless; merely a vehicle for Vikander to show off her potential as an action lead. Despite a few worthwhile action sequences (certain scenes and beats truly feel like a video game, too), the picture lacks intrigue, charm and momentum, while the origin story format restricts how much fun can be had. With the box office underperformance in mind, it's unlikely that a follow-up will ever materialise despite an ending that directly sets up sequels. Perhaps there will be another reboot in another fifteen years.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Despite 3D's ostensible demise at the end of 2016, Roadshow thankfully continue to provide 3D Blu-rays for their major releases, to cater for the demographic who still care about the format and own 3D televisions. Tomb Raider was only filmed in regular old 2D, but as per standard operating procedure for major big-budget blockbusters, it was converted to 3D in post-production. Roadshow's MVC-encoded presentation is framed at the movie's original aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and placed across a dual-layered BD-50, with the entire disc dedicated to the 3D presentation (sharing space with a variety of audio options). Unfortunately, Tomb Raider is not among the better 3D Blu-rays I've viewed of late - it's no match for Roadshow's Rampage or Ready Player One. The production itself doesn't lend itself to an eye-popping 3D conversion; this is another case of a 3D conversion being performed purely for commercial reasons, rather than artistic.

    In short, the 3D conversion is overly rote and by-the-numbers, though at least it was performed competently. Rooms, streets and other environments appear to stretch back into the television, while the sense of separation is convincing and pleasing. Nevertheless, it is apparent that neither director Uthaug or cinematographer George Richmond planned or shot the movie with 3D in mind, as framing fails to take full advantage of the format and there are no shots with objects protruding from the screen. The best we get is Lara squirting water towards the camera while spraying Lu Ren on his boat. Other moments - such as Vogel pointing a pistol towards Lara, the plane on top of the waterfall, or explosions sending out debris and rock shards - never take the opportunity to truly pop out of the screen and show what 3D is capable of. It doesn't exactly help matters that the big action set-pieces are so few and far between, while some beats - including the opening boxing match - are captured with frenetic camera movements which do not lend themselves to the extra dimension. Nevertheless, there are some pleasing 3D sequences, such as the scene at Hong Kong harbour, or when the Endurance heads out to sea - the scenery looks vast in wide shots. Also see the storm aboard the Endurance as it navigates violent waters, or a particularly excellent shot of Lara laying on the beach after crawling out of the water, with the rough ocean stretching out behind her. The 3D is also fine throughout extended set-piece in Himiko's tomb, with impressive depth whenever the characters look over the edge of a large drop, such as the chasm of skeletons.

    The high definition transfer itself retains many of the 2D Blu-ray's pleasing attributes, though of course it's no match for the pristine 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. There is a noticeable decrease in sharpness to the image compared to the other presentations, exhibiting softness at times, while textures aren't as firm. Indeed, the digital photography looks a touch smooth at various points, occasionally lacking in precise fine detail and highlights, particularly on faces in long and even medium shots when lighting is dim. To be fair, textures do fare quite well in various well-lit scenes and moments, with close-ups of Lara's face and hands revealing a wealth of detail, and the sequences set in the bright jungles of Yamatai are expectedly terrific. Naturally, the presentation is slightly dimmed due to the 3D glasses while colours aren't as saturated or eye-catching, but that all comes with the territory. In spite of this, contrast is usually quite good while colours hold up surprisingly well, particularly in the jungle sequences. The transfer is inconsistent, which traces back to the bitrate and the format's limited colour space.

    Luckily, not much in the way of compression artefacts were visible to my eyes. The moire patterning on mesh chairs in the police station, which blemished both the regular and 4K Blu-rays, does remain, but I never saw any banding, aliasing or ringing. In addition, I couldn't detect any crosstalk or ghosting, as the 3D encode is rock-solid. Tomb Raider is watchable in 3D, but I simply cannot recommend it above the infinitely superior 4K option - there is not enough here to make it an essential buy, even for 3D enthusiasts. I can't say I'll be revisiting this one anytime soon.

    Multiple subtitle options are available. The English track is perfectly easy to read, though of course it might take a little while to adjust to reading subtitles in 3D.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Once again, despite a perfectly good Dolby Atmos track being available on the 2D and 4K Blu-rays, Roadshow cheap out for 3D edition, only providing a lossless 16-bit DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix (even though there was enough room on the disc for the Atmos mix). As with every Roadshow 3D title that has come before, this 5.1 mix delivers adequately in terms of the broad strokes, but it simply lacks the nuance and pronounced dynamic range of the Atmos mix - and 3D enthusiasts with Atmos set-ups will be left with no choice but to accept the inferior audio option. Still, the track plays perfectly fine on my 7.1 surround sound system; it's aggressive when it needs to be, it exhibits panning and placement effects, and there are no undue encoding errors (pops, clicks, sync issues or drop-outs) to spoil the experience. Prioritisation is frequently on-point, with dialogue always discernible and comprehensible despite the violent storm out at sea, or the rumbling of Himiko's tomb, or the at times deafening gunfire. The subwoofer gives impact to crashing waves, gunshots and bullet hits, while there's ample rumbling when all hell breaks loose in Himiko's tomb. Occasional lines of dialogue or sound effects sound slightly underwhelming, though, which is probably a result of the 16-bit encoding (see Lara and Ren talking as they walk, after being captured on the island). Meanwhile, the surround channels are often put to good use, with environmental ambience and Tom Holkenborg's musical score coming through clearly, creating a full soundscape. There are still sounds of booby traps and rumbling all around in Himiko's tomb, though again it still lacks the precision of the Atmos track.

    It remains to be seen whether or not Roadshow/Warner Bros. ever rectify this baffling practise and start offering Atmos on 3D titles again, as it's disappointing that 3D fans will have to perpetually settle for second-tier audio, but at least it's serviceable, and those who've never heard the Atmos track won't know what they're missing.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The set comes with a 2D Blu-ray disc containing the following four featurettes.

Tomb Raider: Uncovered (HD; 7:06)

   This first behind-the-scenes featurette fundamentally amounts to a truncated "making of," rushing through as many topics as possible as quickly as possible without providing much in the way of substance. Through cast and crew interviews, this segment covers development, the approach to the movie, the characters, the visual style, the action scenes, the locations/sets, and more. This is an overly self-congratulatory piece at times, though the behind-the-scenes footage is interesting to see.

Croft Training (HD; 6:06)

    Next on the disc is the almost obligatory extra covering the training that Vikander undertook to play the part of Lara Croft. Cue six minutes of obligatory gym footage, stunt footage, film clips, footage of Vikander eating a strict diet, and interviews with cast and crew (as well as Vikander's personal trainer) as they sing the star's praises. This feels very EPK and promotional, though it's not entirely unpleasant.

Breaking Down the Rapids (HD; 5:34)

    This brisk featurette concentrates on the standout rapids/airplane wreckage sequence, which is one of the movie's most successful set-pieces. Revealing behind-the-scenes footage shows how the segments of the sequence were shot, including doing certain things practically, while stunt coordinators and other crew discuss the shoot in sufficient detail.

Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon (HD; 9:53)

    This final featurette is concerned with the Tomb Raider franchise as a whole. Several enthusiasts walk us through the history of the video games and discuss their impact on popular culture. The 2013 video game reboot is covered, and how it led into this 2018 cinematic incarnation.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    All 3D discs worldwide are identical. Language options slightly differ on some discs, but at the present there is no 3D Blu-ray with an Atmos track - 5.1 is all we have. It's a draw.

Summary

    I can't say I hated Tomb Raider, but I didn't especially love it either. Once again, a video game adaptation has fallen short of the mark, though it's not entirely without merit and I did enjoy it to a certain extent.

    Although it's good that 3D Blu-rays are still manufactured, Tomb Raider's 3D is disappointing. The conversion itself is competent, but the movie doesn't lend itself to 3D due to the way it was planned and shot. The technical presentation is fine, although it remains disappointing that 3D discs are only saddled with 16-bit 5.1 audio tracks when there's a perfectly good Atmos mix available. The set also contains the 2D Blu-ray with four featurettes. This one is only worth picking up at sale price for those who like the movie and really like 3D.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Saturday, January 05, 2019
Review Equipment
DVDSony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE