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post #1 of 2 Old 02-18-2018, 11:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Video game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in this big screen adventure where she races against time, and villains, to recover powerful ancient artifacts.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Paramount - 2001
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 100 minutes
Genre: Action/Adventure

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, English, French, Portuguese, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH†, Chinese Cantonese, Chinese Mandarin Simplified, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French Canadian, French Parisian, Norwegian, Portuguese Brazilian, Russian, Spanish Castilian, Spanish Latin American & Swedish
Starring: Angelina Jolie, Jon Voight, Iain Glen, Noah Taylor, Daniel Craig
Directed by: Simon West
Music by: Graeme Revell
Written by: Patrick Massett, John Zinman
Region Code: A

Release Date: February 27, 2018

"Born into Wealth, Groomed by the Elite. Trained for Combat"

My Take:

Exploring lost empires, finding priceless treasures, punishing villains in mortal combat.. It's all in a day's work for adventurer Lara Croft (Angelina Jolie). But a secret from her father's (Jon Voight) past is about to lead Lara to her greatest challenge: the Triangle Of Light, a legendary artifact with the power to alter space and time. Lara must find the Triangle before it falls into the clutches of the Illuminati, a secret society bent on world domination. To stop the Illuminati, Lara will have to survive a cross-continental chase filled with unimaginable danger. But for the Tomb Raider, danger is the name of the game.

This live action feature is inspired by the most successful interactive video-game character in history -- Lara Croft. I was actually quite a fan of the game, back in the day, and spent many hours exploring its vast worlds. I remember being very curious to see how the big screen adaptation would fare, particularly, if it would capture the essence of the character, and balance that with a decent story that would befit the game’s spirit of adventure.

In many ways Lara Croft: Tomb Raider felt like just another big budget action-adventure, with a throw away of a story. On the other hand, there were some decent moments, thanks to a solid turn by star Angelina Jolie, where the film had the feel of the game. For me, that was enough to keep me interested. No, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider isn’t an especially good movie, but it clearly wants to be, and despite its threadbare characters (save for Lara), wispy action, and overplayed drama, I didn’t find it distasteful. I haven’t seen it in quite some time, and this review provided the opportunity for a revisit. My feelings haven’t changed…

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

The rating is for action violence, and some sensuality.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 76
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 80
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • HDR: Dark Highlights:
  • HDR: Bright Highlights:
  • HDR: Expanded Color & WCG:
  • Resolution:
  • Visual Impact:

Audio: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialog Reproduction:
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Paramount Home Distribution featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.

For its presentation in Ultra HD Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was derived from a 2K DI and upconverted to 4K.

It's important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won't result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn't a problem and shouldn't be seen as such.

First and foremost, this isn’t a bright or overly colorful film, predominantly adhering to relatively cooler, teal/sepia splashed, chromatic schemes, which doesn't make for especially eye-catching levels of color. This is intentional, in trying to keep with the stylistic aesthetic of the video game. Fleshtones looked about the same, which is to say, a bit pallid, but not overtly unnatural. Shot on film, resolution is generally fine, although I wouldn’t say there was a noteworthy uptick in sharpness and detail compared to the Blu-ray. Upon closer inspection, I could make out finer details in facial features and clothing, but this predominantly came during close ups. On occasion, discernible improvements in depth could be seen in wide angle shots such as those taking place at Croft Manor, in the cavernous temple or the cave in the finale, but in most respects, I saw only incremental differences in apparent resolution when comparing select scenes from the UHD and Blu-ray.

I also found the presentation to be somewhat tame in terms of its use of dynamic highlights, both bright and dark. I found only a few occasions where the presentation made visually compelling use of interstitial black levels offset by vivid bright elements, such as the assault on Croft Manor in chapter 4, the extended firefight in chapter 7, or the time machine in the finale. Predominantly speaking, it bolstered streaming/natural lighting schemes, that looked fine, but not appreciably vibrant, given the subject matter. Occasionally there was a murkiness to shadows, and some of the low-level images appeared flat when compared to the better presentations available on the format. I am sure that much of this is owed to the original source and stylistic choice, but truth be told, little stuck out about this Ultra HD presentation.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Watching select scenes from chapter 4 (Lara’s meeting with Powell), chapter 5 (Lara’s vehicle/air drop), and chapter 6 (her arrival at the rear entrance to the temple), I saw no discernible difference in the rendition of color. Specular highlights similarly appeared equal, but I did find that the DV rendering handled low-level transitions and delineation in shadows a bit better. This film isn’t going to knock your socks off in either HDR-10 or DV, but I did find that the latter made for the more gratifying viewing experience.

This is the same lossless audio presentation found on the previous Blu-ray release, and like that, it’s not exemplary, but gets the job done. Dialog is well-articulated with clear tonal distinction. Dynamic range is only fair, leaving the action sequences, especially early in the film, lacking punch. Low frequency detail is impacted by this, although, the explosive finale, sounded full bodied and robust. Surround activity is what you’d expect, with discrete effects and ambient surround sound that bridged the front and rear sound stages. Much of this this film relies on dialogue and front sound field presence than it does on filling the room with sound effects and powerful bass extension. Frankly, I would have preferred a re-mix, that included an immersive audio track.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Blu-ray
    • Commentary with Director Simon West
    • Digging Into Tomb Raider
    • Crafting Lara Croft
    • The Visual Effects of Tomb Raider
    • Tomb Raider Stunts
    • Are You Game?
    • Deleted Scenes
    • U2 Music Video: "Elevation" (Tomb Raider Mix)
    • Alternate Main Title
    • Teaser Trailer
    • Trailer
  • Digital HD Copy

Final Thoughts:

Inspired by the most successful interactive video-game character in history, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider is a middling action-adventure that suffers from poor scripting, but proves mildly entertaining thanks to a solid performance from star Angelina Jolie. It’s making is debut on Ultra HD Blu-ray from Paramount Home Distribution in the Ultra HD Combo pack that features unremarkable Ultra HD video, fair lossless sound, and a legacy supplemental package. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’s Ultra HD release will be disappointing to its fans, but for the right price could be worth consideration, if you want to see it looking its best on home video.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo UDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems

Ralph C. Potts
Blu-ray Reviewer
My Home Theater
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post #2 of 2 Old 02-19-2018, 05:56 AM
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Ralph, as always, Thanks! I appreciate your reviews and candor.

As I commented (and I wasn't the only one) on the other AVS main page article about Tomb Raiders UHD release, I was going to skip these just because of no immersive audio. And now with this review regarding the other lack of image quality improvements, it's sealed the deal for me (and I assume many others).

It's a shame really because we'll likely never get another chance to get a better transfer when it comes to these things. Look how many BD's got redo's. I can only think of a handful on the top of my head. And what makes it worse is this is a major trend with 4K/UHD. Tons of other titles have had similar issues and reviews.
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