Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life (2003)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Angelina Jolie, Gerard Butler, Noah Taylor, Djimon Hounsou
Extras: Cooemntary Track, Deleted Scenes, Featurettes, Music Videos, Web Site Archive

The first thing you will have to do when you intend to watch the second installment in the ’Tomb Raider’ series is to switch off your brain. Completely! While the movie is an energetic action adventure with great thrills and cool settings, it also is as nonsensical and incoherent as films get. There is really nothing in this films that makes sense and the plot points are consistently more outlandish than those of a James Bond movie.

Paramount Home Entertainment is presenting ’Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life’ in its original widescreen version on this DVD in a transfer that is enhanced for 16×9 TV sets. The image is very clean and entirely devoid of speckles or blemishes and features a very high level of detail. Colors are strong and rich, creating wonderfully rich hues. Blacks are deep and solid for a presentation the renders a deep image with outstanding shadow delineation. No distracting edge-enhancement is evident and the compression has been handled well as not to introduce compression artifacts.

The audio comes as an aggressive 5.1 channel Dolby Digital track that perfectly suits the release. It is energetic with a wide and powerful dynamic range and a frequency response that boasts a bass extension well below 25Hz. Surround usage is aggressive and throws the viewer right into the midst of the action. The music as bit overmixed in the release but in general the film features a balanced sound field.

A commentary track with director Jan De Bont is part of the release in which he elaborates in detail on the making of the movie. It is an informative track that contains a good number of highlights and interesting tidbits. His commentary is also available on a series of deleted and alternate scenes on the disc, adding more in-depth information there as well.

Five featurettes on various aspects of the production are included, taking a closer look at the vehicles, the stunts, the training of the actors and other facets. Included is also a brief excerpt of Gerard Butler’s screen test as well as two music videos.

If you can enjoy movies for their eye-popping entertainment value only, ’Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life’ is a furious feast for the senses. Combined with the extras that Paramount is throwing in the mix on this DVD, the release actually leaves a pretty good impression despite the movie’s own shortcomings.