THE BOURNE TRILOGY
THE BOURNE IDENTITY
1980’s THE BOURNE IDENTITY was the first installment in a series of spy novels by author Robert Ludlum about a assassin with amnesia, who finds himself not only battling to recover his memory, but also enemies and former allies that perceive him as a threat. Ludlum’s novel was adapted to television back in 1988, but was then revisited as a high-octane, starring vehicle for Matt Damon. In this adaptation of Ludlum’s source, there is a decided emphasis on action and Damon acquits himself exceedingly well in the role of action movie hero.
In THE BOURNE IDENTITY, Damon portrays an individual, who is found floating in the Mediterranean by Italian fishermen, with gunshot wounds in his back and no memory of who he is or how he got there. Armed with a skill set he doesn’t understand, as well as a Swiss Bank account number, our amnesiac sets off to discover his identity. The account number grants our amnesiac access to safe deposit box that contains weapons, a large amount of cash, as well as series of passports under different names… all of which bare his picture. Assuming the name Jason Bourne from the American passport, our amnesiac sets out to discover who he really is. Following the clues during a trans-European trek, it comes to light is that our amnesiac was a CIA assassin, whose final mission to kill a deposed dictator ended in failure. Ultimately, "Jason Bourne" decides he doesn’t want to return to his former life, but convincing the agency to let him go requires a who lot more than just some simple arm twisting. The cast of THE BOURNE IDENTITY also features Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen, Brian Cox, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Gabriel Mann and Julia Stiles.
THE BOURNE SUPREMACY
Another high voltage action/thriller, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY takes place two years after the events of THE BOURNE IDENTITY and finds that "Jason Bourne" still has only managed to recover bits and pieces of his memories. Although he thought he had convinced the agency to leave him alone, he soon finds himself back on the agency’s radar. Is seems that Jason Bourne’s fingerprints were left at the scene of an agency operation that went bad, as a smokescreen for the actual perpetrator’s activities. Bourne then manages to survive an attempt on his life, by the party intent on using him as a fall guy. Of course, the agency is convinced Bourne was responsible for their failed operation and the death of an agent. This leads Deputy Director Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) to begin taking a hard look at the now-defunct secret project that created assassins such as Jason Bourne. Even as the agency tries to get their hands on Bourne, he proves to be too good at what he does to be captured. As the scenario plays out, Bourne and Landy ultimately find themselves heading towards a common objective and a level of understanding. The cast of THE BOURNE SUPREMACY also features Franka Potente, Brian Cox, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban, Gabriel Mann, Marton Csokas, Tom Gallop and Michelle Monaghan.
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM picks up the action virtually at the same point that THE BOURNE SUPREMACY, but then jumps forward several weeks when information about the secret CIA project that created assassins like "Jason Bourne" is leaked to the media. Hoping to uncover some answers about his past, Bourne sets up a meeting with the journalist who had unearthed the information. However, CIA section chief Noah Vosen (David Strathairn) has identified the journalist as a threat to National Security, and has him eliminated. Although Bourne is unable to save the journalist, he does recover his notes and the name of his source, whom he hopes will provide him with the answers he has been seeking. This, of course, places Bourne in the agency’s crosshairs again, thus leading to Deputy Director Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) being requested to assist in Bourne’s capture. Of course, with her newfound respect for Jason Bourne, Landy begins to question Vosen’s ultimate motives in everything he is doing. The cast of THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM also features Julia Stiles, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Édgar Ramírez, Albert Finney and Tom Gallop.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has made the films that comprise THE BOURNE TRILOGY ($95) available on Blu-ray Disc in 2.35:1 / 2.40:1 aspect ratio presentations that have been encoded onto the discs with the VC-1 codec. I have to say that the 1080p presentations are all pretty tremendous and are certain to please fans in a very big way. Across the board, all three presentations are very film like. While the photographic style of THE BOURNE IDENTITY comes across a little less impressively than latter two films, there is nothing wrong with the way this first installment looks in high definition. Image sharpness clarity, dimensionality and detail are great and seem to get better with each subsequent installment. Fine details all rate very highly for all three chapters, with each film delivering somewhat more than the film that preceded it. THE BOURNE IDENTITY has a cooler, slightly more subdued color palette than the later two installments, which come across in a more vibrant fashion. All three movies deliver accurate blacks and whites, as well as very good to excellent contrast and shadow detail. Some mild film blemishes crop up, but they are very few and far between. Each film displays a grain structure, which maintains a marvelous organic quality for each presentation.
The films that comprise THE BOURNE TRILOGY are presented on Blu-ray Disc with 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks. Each film comes with and aggressively mixed, rock ‘em, sock ‘em action movie sound design. Like the video quality, each installment sounds better than its predecessor, and believe me, the first film is no slouch when it comes to the sonics for the action sequences. Sound effects placement is always dead on, with smooth panning between channels. The talky stretches hold up well enough and don’t leave one with any reason for complaint… other than causing a lull in the action. Fidelity is excellent across the board, with modest improvements, as each film gets newer. The bass channels are weighty when they need to be and fully percussive when they need to be. Heck, they even add all the rumble and shake one expects in these types of films. Across the board, dialogue is crisp and maintains complete intelligibility. French and Spanish DTS 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto each disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Universal's U-Control interface is utilized for an interactive version of each movie that provides in context picture-in-picture, pop-up supplements in relation to individual moments or sequences in the film (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Each film in THE BOURNE TRILOGY is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).
THE BOURNE IDENTITY comes with a running Audio Commentary that features director Doug Liman. Featurettes include The Ludlum Identity (twelve minutes), The Ludlum Supremacy (twelve minutes), The Ludlum Ultimatum (twenty-four minutes), The Birth Of The Bourne Identity (fourteen minutes), The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum (six minutes), Access Granted: An Exclusive Interview With Screenwriter Tony Gilroy (four minutes), From Identity To Supremacy: Jason And Marie (five minutes), The Bourne Diagnosis (three minutes), Cloak And Dagger (six minutes) and Inside A Fight Sequence (five minutes). Deleted Scenes & an Alternate Ending, a Music Video for Extreme Ways by Moby and a Theatrical Trailer close out the supplements.
THE BOURNE SUPREMACY comes with a running Audio Commentary that features director Paul Greengrass. Featurettes include Matching Identities: Casting (five minutes), Keeping It Real (four minutes), Blowing Things Up (four minutes), On The Move With Jason Bourne (three minutes), Bourne To Be Wild: Fight Training (four minutes), Crash Cam: Racing Through The Streets Of Moscow (five minutes), The Go-Mobile Revs Up The Action (six minutes), Anatomy Of A Scene: The Explosive Bridge Chase Scene (five minutes), Scoring With John Powell (five minutes), The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum Part Two (five minutes) and The Bourne Diagnosis Part Two (six minutes). Deleted Scenes and a Theatrical Trailer close out the supplements.
THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM comes with a running Audio Commentary that features director Paul Greengrass. Featurettes include Man On The Move: Jason Bourne (twenty-four minutes), Rooftop Pursuit (six minutes), Planning The Punches (five minutes), Driving School (three minutes) and New York Chase (eleven minutes). Be Bourne Spy Training is an interactive Spy Aptitude Test based on clips from the movie. Deleted Scenes close out the supplements.
A final note, while I don’t usually comment on packaging. The box Universal has placed THE BOURNE TRILOGY in is very well done. Stylish, not bigger than it needs to be, snugly fitting around standard Blu-ray cases, plus has a nice magnetic latch to hold it all together.
THE BOURNE TRILOGY is most likely one of the most eagerly anticipated action movie series to come to Blu-ray, since the inception of the format. That said; Universal did a fantastic job brining this films to Blu-ray- all three make for outstanding high definition programming that every action movie fan is going to want to own. Highly recommended.
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