Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 4K UHD Review


Angelina Jolie was perfect for the early millennium era of Lara Croft. At the time, videogame Croft wore revealing shorts, even in frozen lands. Her breasts seemed implausibly large. In her first appearance, Croft leaped backwards, fired dual pistols toward attacking wolves, teeth gritted, muzzle flashes reflecting in her high-dollar sunglasses.

Jolie then is much the same. Her breasts padded, her shorts short. Gun belts attach high on her hips, hiked up like lingerie. She smirks. Dual pistols fire countless rounds. The camera luridly swivels around her legs, taking the chance for low angles and peering in on an unusually long shower scene. No one enjoys a shower as much as Croft does here, not even in shampoo commercials.

That’s who Lara Croft used to be, a fighting sex symbol, developed by a team of British men with their idea of reasonable measurements to match. Tomb Raider on the theatrical screen doesn’t stray far. In many ways, it’s a sterling example of how a generation removed from videogame sees them. Tomb Raider’s glut of draining, screeching techno and bloated action scenes (with killer robots, of course) barely condense into a story. Everything is done with lavish style, mostly to show off Jolie’s form, and that’s not in reference to her choreography.

Tomb Raider doesn’t earn the check-your-brain-at-the-door stamp either

As with the games, Croft lives in a sultry, classically built mansion. She doesn’t fight dinosaurs on screen (too implausible?), but seeks to save the Earth. Bunk science and bulky exposition explain a rotten tale of planetary alignment and Illuminati mysteries. Much of this slips into the background. It’s an excuse for Croft to hang about, clamber around, and shoot rudimentary CG monsters. Action composition finds originality in the absurd.

At its dopiest, Jolie hangs from bungee cords, swiveling around male intruders, dodging their gunfire. She’s trapped in a wire act, using wits and speed to escape, empowering to an extent were her blouse not spreading open for the entirety of the sequence. Tomb Raider isn’t about Lara Croft; it’s about drooling men hoping to be Daniel Craig- the romantic interest.

In seventeen years since Jolie hoisted her pistols, action blockbusters changed. Tomb Raider exists as part of an uncomfortable, new millennium transition for popcorn cinema. There’s cornball, Matrix-like slow motion and shaky visual effects. Writing favors flash over substance, Tomb Raider an empty exercise without brains. With the eye-rolling sexist turn, Tomb Raider doesn’t earn the check-your-brain-at-the-door stamp either. It’s here to show less a character than a shapely silhouetted figure, which when based on the videogame, doesn’t say much if that’s all anyone took away from the digital Croft.


Paramount tosses Tomb Raider onto UHD in an acceptable presentation. The key issue is cinematography, leaping from precision sharpness to softer focus. It’s common. At its best, Tomb Raider performs beautifully, with outstanding resolution and detail. Jolie’s close-ups reveal incredible levels of texture. Dusty and web-covered ruins reveal stone or dirt. Paramount’s encode handles a fine grain.

Low resolution visual effects notably cause a dip. That’s not surprising. A few exteriors look ruinous with that inherent technology. Tomb Raider also involves a number of flattened non-effects shots, a downer considering how great the disc can look.

Dolby Vision HDR leaves a mild impact on Tomb Raider. Mostly, this involves shadow detail. Jolie dons an all-black outfit and sneaks into an underground cavern with minimal light. No fidelity is lost in this darkness. That’s impressive. Highlights such as candlelight look reserved. Most of the brightest elements sit outdoors in the skyline. Tomb Raider isn’t one to exaggerate.

By design, color work dims toward earth tones, utilizing grays and browns with accurate flesh tones. It’s appealing, a match to the tone and needs of the story.


Sharing the same DTS-HD mix as the Blu-ray, Tomb Raider sounds fine with some age in its design. The soundtrack overextends its reach, muffling the barrage of gunshots and with that, their positioning. There’s a lack of dynamism and range at work, audibly placing Tomb Raider at the time of its release.

Moments of jungle ambiance and rain fill the stage, moments where discreet separation isn’t always needed. A battering ram slams into the low-end, along with small earthquakes. Low-end response is firm, if flat compared to contemporary mixes. Tomb Raider relies on perky if quiet action.


A commentary from director Simon West crosses formats, while the rest sits on the included Blu-ray, identical to the previous release, that identical to the DVD. Digging Into Tomb Raider is first, a dated 25-minute look into the production, and stretched from a non-anamorphic DVD.

Jolie features in Crafting Lara Croft a short featurette about getting into character. Eight clips on the visual effects run 20-minutes total, and a look at the stunts goes for nearly 10-minutes. Are You Game? is a hilariously dated look at the videogame side of Lara Croft, and makes for eight minutes of camp. Deleted scenes and a music video follow.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The 15 unaltered images below represent the Blu-ray. For an additional six Tomb Raider uncompressed screenshots, early access to all screens (plus the 10,000+ already in our library), exclusive UHD reviews, and more, support us on Patreon.