To 3D Or Not To 3D: Buy The Right Tomb Raider Ticket

Tomb Raider Lara Croft Alicia Vikander charging towards the screen

After almost two decades of dust, Tomb Raider has gotten a cinematic upgrade with its latest reboot. Lara Croft is about to return to our screens, and adventure is coming with her. But is said adventure worthy of the ultimate treasure -- a stellar 3D conversion?! Well, before you head out to the theater, let us help you determine how you'll be spending your time on the island where Lara's legend begins. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to ponder that time-tested question, "To 3D, or not to 3D?"

If you're interested on how the film impressed our official reviewer, you can read that summation elsewhere. But for the purposes of this column, we'll be evaluating the scope and quality of the 3D presentation of Tomb Raider. So pack your map, and grab your hat, it's time to cross the window and see if this new reboot deserves the third dimensional treatment.

While Tomb Raider isn't a pitch perfect fit for a 3D conversion, the film still has a lot of aspects that could make for quite the 3D spectacle. With puzzles, traps, and a lot of Lara Croft's POV on display, the eye can feast on some action packed visuals in the third dimension. Though this isn't always the case with Tomb Raider, as there's also a very personal and dramatic component to the film's narrative that isn't exactly 3D ready.

When you've got a movie like Tomb Raider in your hands, there's two main components you need to keep in mind when it comes to 3D: there are good chunks of the adventure in the dark, and things will be shooting towards the camera. And yet, with the rest of the 3D conversion working rather well, those two factors fall a bit behind. For the most part though, the planning and effort into this 3D presentation seems pretty solid.

If a 3D movie throws objects at the audience with great effect, then that means they've penetrated beyond the window and into the theater. To a certain extent, this effect can be felt in Tomb Raider, as there's debris and traps that manage to fly towards your vision during Tomb Raider. Unfortunately, for the most part, those aspects stop short of breaking out of the screen and into the audience's line of sight. So while there's great projectile effects, there's only really one sequence that'll make you flinch, and that's towards the end of the third act.

The depth of picture on display in Tomb Raider is pretty damned amazing. While the spatial reasoning is solid, with characters being separated by clear lines of depth, there are background effects that allow the farthest layer of the picture to look like they're part of the action. Some films feel like they're 3D films playing out in front of static backgrounds, but that's far from the truth with this film.

At the beginning of this film, I really thought Tomb Raider was going to be a solid experience throughout, as the picture was crisp and clear, with very good lighting in its employ. Of course, this hope was dashed when the film started entering darker visual territory. By time the adventure shifts to the jungles and tombs of the film's action, Tomb Raider finds its image obscured by the dimming effect of the 3D glasses you're required to wear throughout the film. This makes some of the scenes in the film's action packed climax almost unwatchable, and spoils the promise the film built up early on.

Blurriness in a 3D conversion is usually a good sign of how much effort went into the manipulation of the image into the 3D medium.With that in mind, Tomb Raider has some pretty exceptional blur once you take your glasses off. There are very few instances where you'll catch the picture looking even close to 2D, and even then that serves as more of an anchor for the rest of the picture to work its magic around. But the majority of this film is presented at some level of blur or another, from the subtle to the pronounced.

With any good 3D movie, there's a period of adjustment that helps bring the viewer's eyesight on board with ease. Tomb Raider doesn't have that transition period, as the film jumps head first into the world of the Croft family, and has quite a bit of action from the word go. Naturally, your eyes might be a little confused in the beginning, but buy the end, the film stabilizes and allows its audience to keep up with the images being shown. By time the film's action heavy third act kicks in, it's smooth sailing, minus the brightness issues.

Tomb Raider has a pretty well-done 3D conversion, despite some problems in both brightness and lack of assets being thrown out at the audience. It's one of the crispest pictures I've seen in a 3D presentation, and it manages to make even smaller, personal moments look remarkable.

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Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.