DVD Review HTF REVIEW: "The Bourne Identity" (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ronald Epstein, Jan 1, 2003.

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  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    [​IMG]

    The Bourne Identity




    Studio: Universal
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 119 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
    Subtitles: English and Spanish



    He was the perfect weapon until he became the target
    I'm a real sucker for a good spy thriller, but have
    continuously grown tired of the James Bond franchise
    which has become sillier with every new film. For
    this reason, you'll find me more ready to cozy up
    to such films as Spy Games, Mission Impossible
    or Patriot Games. This year's most worthy entry
    of this genre is The Bourne Identity, based
    very loosely on the Cold War thriller by Robert Ludlum.
    [​IMG]
    As the film begins the crew of a deep sea fishing
    boat find Bourne (Matt Damon) floating in the
    Mediterranean sea, near death, and with no memory of
    who he is or what happened to him. The only clue
    to this man's existence is an electronic device
    containing the number of a Swiss safe deposit box
    sewn into his skin of his back. Once he makes his
    way to the Swiss bank, he discoverers a safety deposit
    box filled with different passports all bearing his
    picture, but with different identities.
    [​IMG]
    Despite his amnesia, Bourne's internal instincts
    seem to be unaffected, which he discovers when he
    easily overpowers two Swiss policeman. On the run,
    Bourne's only hope of survival lies in a young
    German woman, Marie Kreutz, (Franka Potente of Run
    Lola Run
    ), who he persuades to drive him to his
    apartment in Paris.
    [​IMG]
    Slowly, the past seems to unravel before him as he
    finds himself in the middle of an international
    manhunt with the CIA on his back, headed up by
    Ted Conklin (Chris Cooper) who will go to any lengths
    to bring Bourne in dead or alive.
    The Bourne Identity may not be the best spy
    thriller in memory, but it has a lot of things going
    in its favor. Though the film has a very simplistic
    story line, it often becomes a gripping and involving.
    Matt Damon seems to fit perfectly as a spy with a
    cold and calm demeanor. You truly believe that he
    is a hardened spy trained to kill when it becomes
    necessary. The only problem with Bourne's character
    is the same problem we see in most all films of this
    type -- the hero is given extraordinary physical
    abilities that allow him to escape the most dangerous
    situations unscathed. It's this sort of implausibility
    that sort of brings down the film's over-the-top
    action sequences. If you look at this film merely
    as a popcorn flick, you probably won't mind any of
    this.
    How is the transfer?
    The overall transfer of The Bourne Identity
    is amongst the best the format has to offer. This
    is nice "warm" transfer with nice color rendition.
    Flesh tones are extremely accurate and black levels
    are very deep. The night shots are often washed
    in beautiful blue filter, but there seems to be a
    slight loss of shadow detail due to the fact that
    picture is a tad too dark. There is absolutely no
    background noise or grain evident anywhere.
    [​IMG]
    Once again I am very pleased with a DTS track that
    adds spaciousness to the entire sound field. This
    is a very active soundtrack with a lot of effect
    support from the rear channels. Perhaps the best
    this track has to offer can be heard in the opening
    moments of the film as we are taken to the stormy
    waters of the Mediterranean. It is here that you
    can hear a perfect blend of storm related effect
    noises (wind, claps of thunder, boat creaks)that
    seem to emanate from every channel. LFE response
    is also most prominent in these opening moments,
    but soon after, I found the presence of bass to be
    lacking, making this soundtrack sound rather bright.
    Special Features
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    The feature-length commentary by producer/director
    Doug Liman moves along at a nice pace thanks
    to the fact that Liman is never at a loss of words.
    We find out that because the film covers so much
    international territory, that it became a sort of
    challenge for the director to cast the film. It's
    rather interesting to learn that he worked with
    Italy's most renowned actor, and had to trust his
    cast to speak a language he did not understand.
    We also learn how Damon went on a forced diet and
    worked with a trainer in order to shape up for this
    film. As the movie progresses, Liman talks about
    how the film differs in many ways from the original
    book, with many of its traits being taken from his
    father's memoirs. Coincidentally, his father was an
    integral part of the Iran/Contra investigation,
    interrogating Oliver North. Liman is particularly
    proud of the scenes that writer Tony Gilroy wrote
    for actor Chris Cooper, and used as many of those
    scenes in the film as possible. Because the movie
    was filmed in many open public areas, the director
    had difficulty filming Matt Damon without him being
    noticed by onlookers. To prevent such high-profile
    exposure, the director often took his camera and
    an assistant out to location to quietly film these
    public sequences. I particularly enjoyed listening
    to the director talk about how the car chase through
    the streets of Paris was choreographed, using stunt
    men with wigs and fake steering wheels. Most of
    it was captured by the director himself from the
    back seat of a car and he talks about how scary it
    became to film those sequences. I think that those
    that have the time to listen to this commentary will
    be quite intrigued by the amount of in-depth that
    director Liman provides here.
    [​IMG]
    The birth of The Bourne Identity is nothing
    more than the normal sort of promotional fare you
    find on these DVDs. It begins with cast members
    Matt Damon, Franka Potente and Clive Owen giving us
    the lowdown on the film's action-packed story. We
    are then introduced to Executive Producer Frank
    Marshall who talks about the film's director, Doug
    Lidman, credited as a man capable of giving this
    film a certain bit of "edge" thanks to his background
    in independent film. We learn a little bit about
    the original novel the film is based on and how the
    writers and director aimed to modernize it. There
    isn't a whole lot of background information here
    other than the fact that Damon spent three months
    in martial arts and weapons training which he really
    enjoyed. There's a brief look at how these martial
    arts sequences were safely staged. This is an
    easily skippable featurette that only briefly skims
    over what went on behind the camera.
    (length: approx. 14 minutes)
    The films alternate ending slightly alters
    from the original, but unfortunately becomes too
    cliched with characters practically running across
    a beach to embrace each other . I am happy that
    the filmmakers decided to go with the film's
    more subtle original ending.
    (length: approx. 2 minutes)
    There are four deleted scenes that run a
    total of approximately 6 minutes. These scenes
    are actually quite good, and I am surprised this
    material was cut in order to shave this little bit
    of time off the film. There's a scene aboard a
    private jet where black radical Nykwana Wombosi
    talks about the assassination attempt on his life.
    There's another really good scene where on the
    side of a road, Marie questions the monetary deal
    that Bourne made with her. Another scene takes
    place at CIA headquarters where a psychologist
    listens to and examines a recorded phone conversation
    with Bourne.
    A one-minute extended Farmhouse sequence is
    not much of interest here, basically extended silly
    dialogue with the children around the dinner table.
    The film's Music Video, Extreme Ways
    by Moby is included here as well as the film's
    original theatrical trailer. There's an
    extensive cast and crew filmography as well
    as Production Notes that tell us how director
    Doug Liman secured rights to the 1980 novel and
    modernized it for the screen, adding some of his
    own personal experiences of watching real spies in
    action.
    DVD-ROM content provides Internet weblink
    access to exclusive never-before-seen video and
    pictures as well as behind-the-scenes footage.
    There is also a set of simple arcade and memory
    games to play that will enable you access the code
    that reveals Jason Bourne's true identity.
    I have yet to mention this in my recent reviews
    of Universal titles, but the studio is now providing
    English & French subtitles in their
    supplemental material. I want to take a moment and
    commend the studio for doing this.
    Final Thoughts
    [​IMG]
    This above-average spy thriller makes for an
    evening of enjoyable entertainment. It's
    certainly a smarter alternative to the recent
    Bond films and one would sort of hope that perhaps
    Damon will continue his role in future sequels.
    Universal has done a terrific job with this
    transfer, but unfortunately, the bonus material
    gives us very little insight into the film
    production itself.
    Recommended viewing!
    Release Date: January 21, 2003
    All screen captures have been further compressed.
    They are for illustrative purposes only and do not
    represent actual picture quality
     
  2. Jedrek

    Jedrek Stunt Coordinator

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    I loved this movie in theaters, so I'll definately be picking this DVD up. This one beats out the latest Bond adventures and definately beats Triple X's ass. [​IMG]
     
  3. Jedrek

    Jedrek Stunt Coordinator

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    Oh and thanks once again for the awesome review, Ron! [​IMG]
     
  4. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Thanks for the review Ron. I didn't see this film and am looking forward to checking out the DVD.
     
  5. RyanChristoffel

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    Well, once again you have convinced me to buy something, lol. Great review, Ron!
     
  6. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Glenn,

    That was a typo and has been since corrected.

    Thanks
     
  7. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

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    Very good review once again Ron. I might have to pick this up, since after watching "Sums of All Fears (great movie)" yesterday, I might want to try some other good spy movies (can't try the other three entries since they are getting double dipped soon).
     
  8. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    Thank's for working New Year's Day!
    Heck, thank's for working all year.[​IMG]
     
  9. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Nice Review Ron. I love movies like this. I've already pre-ordered 2 copies...one for me and a late xmas gift for a friend. [​IMG]
     
  10. Gregory E

    Gregory E Second Unit

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    I can't wait to check this one out. The problem I have is deciding to rent or buy the week it comes out.
     
  11. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Ron,
    The first time I saw this movie was on an airplane home from Florida (and the HT Cruise). Circumstances were not optimal [​IMG] , and some scenes may even have been cut for that viewing, but I enjoyed it enough to pre-order it.
    In fact, I also ordered the 1988 version (with Richard Chamberlain) of which the 2002 version is a remake, sort of. The 1988 version was out on DVD already, so we received it, but we didn't watch it yet. That's because it is said that the previous version is a bit longer and goes into more depth about some details of the story. Which would mean that the first one can spoil the second one, but just a bit less the other way.
    So my family will watch the last one first when it arrives (as I did - my wife slept on the plane during through that movie).
    Thanks for a great review, we're waiting with more impatience now (and more dedication to stay away from the first version for the moment)!
    Cees
     
  12. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    One of my faves for 2002, and with DTS too. Where's the drooling smiley when you need it? [​IMG] Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait!
     
  13. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

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    Well...I was planning to rent this one, but Ron's review of the DTS soundtrack makes it a tempting purchase. We'll see how the pricing is...
     
  14. Tim Glover

    Tim Glover Lead Actor

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    Is there/Was there a version with Jon Voight too?
     
  15. Greg S

    Greg S Supporting Actor

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    The wife and I saw this in theater and definitely enjoyed it.

    I am not sure I will buy it considering store pricing may be $19.99(we will have to see) but I will definitely rent it for an additional viewing as its well worth it.

    Greg
     
  16. T r o y

    T r o y Supporting Actor

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    I wanted to see this one in the theaters but missed it [​IMG]
    I'll definately pick this one up!
    Everyone, feel free to post your thoughts on the DTS track on this one.
    Later!
    Troy
     
  17. Chris Richard

    Chris Richard Auditioning

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    I've been anticipating this release. My wife, my 2 teenage children and I all enjoyed this film in the theater. Thanks for the review, Ron.
     
  18. T r o y

    T r o y Supporting Actor

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    Hey Ron,
    Can you go into a little more explanation on how the gunshots sound on the DTS track?
    Do they sound punchy or dynamic sounding?
    Just curious.
    Thanks
    T r o y
     
  19. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    Troy,

    I actually scribbled notes about the gunshot
    sounds and forgot to mention them in my review.

    They actually sound phenomenal. In one scene you
    hear the gunshots rattling through the rear channels
    as you hear the sounds of shells dropping through
    the front.

    Though it lacks a lot of bass throughout, the DTS
    track really sounds good here.
     
  20. T r o y

    T r o y Supporting Actor

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    Thanks Ron for chiming in and adding your thoughts on the gunshot sounds of the DTS track.

    I'm really looking forward to this flick now!

    Later!
     

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