gaming since 1997

Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life

When the island Santorini in Greece is hit by an earthquake, the underwater remains of the supposed Lunatemple from Alexander The Great are uncovered. Within days, every “tomb raider” in the world, including of course Lara Croft, is in Greece, trying to find some ancient goodies. Lara manages to find the temple first and there she gets hold of a golden ball which seems priceless. Unfortunately for her, some Chinese guys from the Shay-Ling order have followed her and manage to kill her crew and depart with the golden ball, while Lara only barely manages to escape.

Once back home, Lara starts to investigate what is so special about the ball, but already soon she gets a visit by people from MI6 who tell her that the ball is a map which can lead people to the “Cradle of Life” where supposedly Pandora’s box is located. The thing is that the Shay-Ling have been hired by Jonathan Reiss, a scientist who’s made it his goal to earn as much money as possible by making biological weapons and he wants to get his hands on Pandora’s box to sell it and unleash the greatest terrors on the world. Lara realises that she won’t be able to find the Shay-Ling in time without help so she turns to Terry Sheridan, her ex-lover who’s currently in a prison in Kazachstan. Together with the man who once betrayed her and her country, she will have to keep Pandora’s box out of the hands of the evil Reiss. But is Terry to be trusted?

Sound and Vision:
The image is really a pleasure to watch. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a movie where landscapes almost look like being a picture and Tomb Raider definitely succeeds in that. The image is really sharp and contains tons of details while the colors are bright and vivant. Edge enhancement is nowhere to be spotted and you won’t find any compression errors unless you’re really dedicated at looking for them (I found 3 scenes where some very minor errors were present). Great work from Paramount !

With the dvd of the first Tomb Raider movie, I stated that the soundtrack was less impressive than when I watched the film in the cinema (and it wasn’t because of my surround system). I didn’t see Cradle of Life in the cinema but again I find the sound to be not aggressive enough. The rear speakers seem to be in a supporting function with music coming out of them but hardly any effects while the subwoofer comes into action at the most awkward moments. The music score isn’t worth much either. Personally I found it more irritating and distracting than adding to the movie. Nothing technically wrong but should be more aggressively used.

Extras:
As we’re used from Paramount’s big titles, we again get some very nice extras, starting off with an audio commentary track with Jan De Bont after which you can go to the more interesting stuff which is a couple of short features that each cover a certain aspect of the production as there are “Training” (how Angelina Jolie had to work out and study to be able to do the stunts herself), “Vehicles and Weapons” which shows us the attributes in closeup, “Stunts” which covers two of the stunts, “Visual Effects” which gives background info on the Watchers and the landing in China and finally “Scoring” which gives info on how the music was added to the movie. Then we have 7 altered scenes including an alternate ending, the screentest of Gerard Butler, 2 videoclips (Korn with “Did My Time” and The Davey Brothers with “Heart Go Faster”) and to finish off some dvd rom features which we didn’t check out (supposedly stuff from the official website)

Conclusion:
It looks like a videogame. It watches like a videogame. But it ain’t a videogame ! Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life has that one flaw movies based on games cannot survive: lack of a storyline. While videogames themselves don’t always need a decent story to be fun (like most shootergames), people watching a movie DO expect a compelling story to unfold. Tomb Raider has some nice stunts, some good fighting, and Angelina Jolie who looks great but don’t think there’s even an inch of a decent storyline to be found. A lot of people found that the first movie already lacked story, but The Cradle of Life is worse. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you’re looking for more than some action and a beautiful woman you better skip this one (unless you get your kicks from image quality).

Our Score:
6.0

posted in: DVD, Paramount, Reviews
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