Tomb Raider 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 229, July 2018

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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Sequences of violence and action, and some language
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Roar Uthaug
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 7.1
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In "Tomb Raider," Lara Croft (Vikander) is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen. Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father's global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he's truly gone. Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, Lara can't understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death. (Gary Reber)

Special features include four featurettes: "Tomb Raider Uncovered" (HD 07:06), "Croft Training" (HD 06:06), "Breaking Down The Rapids" (HD 05:34), and "Lara Croft: Evolution Of An Icon" (HD 09:55); upfront previews; and a Movies Anywhere digital copy.

The 2.39:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed digitally using the Arri Alexa Mini and Arri Alexa SXT Plus camera systems and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. A 3D Blu-ray, with conversion by Southbay, is available on special order, but Warner Bros. would not supply this edition for review. In addition to the theatrical Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision and 3D presentations, an edition was optimized for IMAX theatres.

Picture quality is excellent. The color palette is richly and warmly hued throughout, except for the memory flashbacks with Lara and her father, Richard Croft, which are desaturated for dramatic impact. Fully saturated, the colors' spectrum ranges from crisp London and Hong Kong settings to earthy tones depicted on the Yamatai island. Realism is exhibited in stormy sea waters, the boat, rock formations, beaches, and raging rapids. The wider color gamut is apparent throughout, with natural hues. HDR contrast is excellent, exhibiting deep blacks, revealing shadow delineation, and natural highlights that enhance the stylized imagery. Resolution is superb with all manner of fine detail exhibited as in facial features, skin pores, hair, beards, ragged clothing, and object texture, as seen in cluttered urban settings and the camp. WOW! segments are numerous such as 0:13:14 to 0:16:00, 0:35:42 to 0: 39:48, 0:51:48 to 0:55:44, 01:18:28 to 01:19:52, and 01:43:20 to 01:44:38. This is a terrific visual experience that is engaging throughout, with a solid color gamut that is rich and warm. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack was remixed specially for the home theatre environment and is excitingly dynamic with powerful bass extension enhanced with .1 LFE intensity. Sound effects are incredibly eerie and dynamic with aggressive movement throughout the soundfield. The four surrounds are fully active and energized. Atmospherics and Foley sound effects also are impressively realistic and enveloping throughout, for an effective holosonic® experience. In numerous ways, this is a sound design masterpiece. Bass impact is system threatening at times and requires system and subwoofer response to sub-25 Hx. Tom Holkenborg's orchestral score is excitingly dynamic and expansive across the soundstage with an aggressive extension to the surrounds. Dialogue throughout is intelligible with good spatial integration, even the extensive ADR.

While the ear-level soundtrack is nicely holosonic® sounding, the Immersive Sound element, other than the extension of the music, is below par, as the object effects are intermittent and brief and missing where there should be effects. The music score is used at times as a sound effect. Immersive Sound elements include a very active music score, low-level birds chirping at a harbor, an echoed rifle shot, thunder, rough sea bursts, a flare shot, big storm waves crushing a boat, falling into the rapids, a creaky old airplane falling apart, shattered parachute sounds, bird sounds in the jungle, rocks crumbling, a muffled and echoed gun shot, gate crashes, a helicopter in motion––all brief. As with numerous Dolby Atmos soundtracks, so much has been overlooked by the sound designers, leaving the immersive experience not fully fulfilled.

Overall, the ear-level sonics dominate for an effective soundtrack. (Gary Reber)