Tomb Raider on Blu-Ray: Is it any good?

Firstly, let me point out the lengths I went to in order to get hold of Tomb Raider on Blu-Ray – such is my commitment to the cause. The battle of Al Survive vs. The Unhelpful Passive-Aggressive Staff Members of Guiseley Morrisons is one that Lara Croft herself would have been reluctant to enter. I pretty much had to talk them into actually selling it to me… Albeit without twin pistols / makeshift bow.

So yeah, pick your copy up at Amazon or at a retailer where you can complete your customer mission in three steps or fewer – not at Morrisons, where they apparently champion the 97.03 step process, with filing cabinets.

Okay, rant over! On with the review. Should you buy Tomb Raider on Blu-Ray?

Probably not.

More specifically – “probably yes” if you’re a hardcore collector. Going by Amazon, the Blu-ray version appears to have a couple of exclusive special features, namely Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon, Croft Training and Breaking down the Rapids. So there’s some definite added value.

Actually, I must be honest – it’s not really “value.” The Blu-Ray extras feel more like lip service. They’re quite brief and don’t provide many fascinating insights into the production process, or indeed the history of Lara Croft as a cultural icon. Most of the interviews are self-congratulatory, with all of the cast and crew saying how wonderful the whole process has been, and the feature that had me most intrigued – Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon – was sadly lacking in substance. My main takeaways from the Blu-Ray were that Alicia Vikander ate a lot of eggs, and that the scene in Hong Kong wasn’t actually in Hong Kong (spoilers.)

So if you’re only a casual fan of all things Lara, then my advice would be to save a few pennies and settle for the DVD. And if you’re a person with only a passing interest in the Tomb Raider franchise, then I’d recommend a digital rental.

What of the movie itself?

I like the movie! It’s very safe and it’s a solid romp. My biggest criticism is that it takes a long time to get going and there is way too much exposition, so it can be quite plodding. (Say what you will about Angelina Jolie’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider of 2001, but there’s no denying that it hit the ground running, even if it did open with our protagonist fighting a robot in an “Egyptian ruin.” Poor S.I.M.O.N.)

So yes, you’ll have to wait a while to reach the sweet goodness of this Tomb Raider outing, but it eventually finds its level and packs some real punch without being cheesy, so I respect it for that.

I feel I must also give a special mention to Alicia Vikander, who turns in a spectacular performance as Lara Croft. She shows real courage and soul and emotional depth, and at no point do I get the sense that I’m watching an actor simply going through the motions. There’s a strong supporting cast as well, and some lovely cameos from Nick Frost and Derek Jacobi which were completely unexpected (on first viewing) and I really enjoyed them.

The only thing that I categorically object to is the song which accompanies the closing credits – Run for Your Life by K. Flay. (Warning: link below…)

It feels completely out of place and absolutely not “on brand.” Plus it’s an awful song, and EVEN WORSE I’ve found myself liking it, and listening to it voluntarily in my spare time. I’ve no idea what the producers were thinking. Maybe they were just captivated by it in the same way that I was, and were unable to stop themselves? To my ears, they might as well have included the theme tune to The Magic Roundabout. That would have been more soothing, at least.

Gargh – can I put a number on this review? It’s tough, but I’m gonna try…

Al Survive’s score: 6.5/10

Points were redacted for the questionable music choices, the unfinished script and the slightly lame special features. Points were added for Alicia Vikander, the performances overall, and the cinematography. And the fact that the producers managed to make a video game movie that didn’t entirely suck.

What do you think of Tomb Raider on Blu-Ray? Are you enjoying it? Are you going to pass? Do you think K. Flay’s Run for Your Life is a muzakal masterpiece?? Because, if so, I want to meet you…

Click here to buy Tomb Raider on Blu-Ray and help to support this site.

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