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TOMB RAIDER
4K Ultra HD Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu, Kristin Scott Thomas
Director: Roar Uthaug
Audio: Dolby Atmos-True HD, DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 118 Minutes
Release Date: June 12, 1018

Some men like dangerous women.”

Some men are foolish.”

Film ***

With movie properties being rebooted left and right these days, the last thing I was expecting was to be wowed by one having to do with Lara Croft. Though I do have fond memories of gazing at Angelina Jolie as that character, the two films she starred in as Croft were less than stellar and fell victim to that long lasting curse known as movie adaptations of video games. So there was no way a rebooted Lara Croft adventure was going to be any good in the slightest, right?

Wrong! The video game series itself went through something of a reboot in 2013, with the sexy and flashy qualities of the character more or less being stripped away to make way for more wit and intellect. The new movie incarnation of Tomb Raider follows that very same path, with Oscar winner Alicia Vikander strapping into the role and very much making it her own.

When we’re introduced to Lara this time around, she hasn’t quite earned her titular title just yet. She’s a bike messenger who’s always looking for extra cash in order to scrape by. And she does this in spite of the fact that her father (Dominic West), who’s long been missing and presumed dead, has left her a large inheritance. She refuses to sign any legal document allowing her the fortune, simply because she doesn’t believe he’s dead.

And as fate would have it, she comes across a clue that leads her directly to the heart of her father’s research. It is there that she learns what he has long been trying to find, which is the final resting place of Queen Himiko, who is able to command both the living and the dead. Before long, she sells a prized possession for a ticket to Hong Kong, where she then locates a ship captain to take her to the very island her father headed to before he went missing.

It is at this point where the movie becomes a full throttle, relentless adventure of the highest order. The action sequences we are supplied are nothing short of exhilarating, backed up with a rather impressive use of CGI in that you can hardly notice it’s there. And what makes them even more enthralling is the fact that Lara Croft has been made into a much more vulnerable person, meaning that she experiences a good number of brutal injuries along the way, and Vikander’s physicality is on full display the entire way through, making me wonder if she was seriously ok when filming had wrapped.

It is far from a perfect movie. In fact, much of the second half seems to pretty much rip off Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. But none of that honestly bothered me, because I found myself being riveted by one of the most terrifically paced adventure movies in quite a long time (courtesy of Norwegian director Roar Uthaug in his fist English feature) with some truly knockout action bits and a strong leading presence in Alicia Vikander. So any flaws, no matter what the capacity, were immensely overshadowed by the many positives here.

Tomb Raider is easily one of the year’s most pleasant surprises. It ends with the promise of more adventures, which I really hope do happen. This is not only the best Lara Croft movie adventure yet, but might be the single best movie adaptation of a video game to date!

Video ****

Where to even begin? Ultra 4K HD has been blowing my mind ever since I got access to the format, but this release from Warner might just be the first presentation to make my jaw drop for virtually the entire running time! The level of pristine detail on display here is at an all time high. And when those visceral action scenes come into play, be prepared to be really astounded in the absolute best way possible. Colors and skin tones are rendered in absolutely amazing form, as well...especially when we get to the island setting. This is one 4K experience you can’t afford to miss!

Audio ****

Talk about being fully immersed in an adventure movie! The Dolby Atmos mix will absolutely knock your socks off with this rocking level of sound quality. The action bits take center stage, and these moments are ones for the history books as far as I’m concerned, especially during a scene where Lara has to escape a sinking ship. Bullets and arrows zip and wiz by in ways that will want to make you duck for cover, as will the sound of various tomb traps in the movie’s climax. Dialogue delivery and music playback are balanced out perfectly, in addition! Just simply an amazing sounding experience!

Features **

The extras, all found on the standard Blu-ray disc, consist of four featurettes adding up to about thirty minutes. Among them are “Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon” (exploring the history of the character), “Croft Training” (showcases Alicia Vikander getting into serious physical shape for such a demanding role), “Tomb Raider: Uncovered” (detailing making a new chapter in the Tomb Raider saga) and “Breaking Down the Rapids” (looking at the movie’s most challenging action sequence to shoot).

Summary:

I seriously wasn’t expecting to enjoy Tomb Raider as much as I did, nor did think it would end up being one of the best adventure movies in years...but here we are! The 4K Ultra HD release from Warner demands to be experienced, as it features what is unquestionably some of the best sound and video quality to ever be displayed on a single release!

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