The Bourne Ultimatum (2007) [HD-DVD]
|Genre(s): Action / Drama / Mystery / Thriller|
|Universal || PG13 - 115 minutes - $39.98 || December 11, 2007|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2007-12-22|
Writer(s): Robert Ludlum (novel); Tony Gilroy (screen story), Tony Gilroy and Scott Z. Burns and George Nolfi (screenplay)
Cast: Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Paddy Considine, Edgar Martinez, Albert Finney, Joan Allen
Theatrical Release Date: August 3, 2007
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The Bourne Ultimatum closes out arguably one of the better trilogies and certainly will stand the test of time and perhaps be one of the best of the 21st century. Doug Liman started the series with The Bourne Identity, providing the blueprint with the action scenes before Paul Greengrass took over with Supremacy and his own unique style. Of course, some hate it but I for one liked it because it didn’t fit the mold of the espionage/action genre.
This was my second viewing of the film, now on HD-DVD, but my thoughts remained the same as the first day I saw it. Here is the condensed version of my original review:
Ultimatum also pulls everything out for the trilogy’s end with the casting of two top notch actors in what could’ve been unfulfilling and cardboard characters. David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck) is a fantastic and, for the public, underrated actor. Noah Vosen is just as big of an a-hole as Ward Abbott or Alexander Conklin (played in the previous two movies by Brian Cox and Chris Cooper respectively) but is someone who could’ve been your typical CIA agency head and instead Strathairn gives the character some needed weight, one who can stand toe-to-toe with the talented Joan Allen. Albert Finney makes a cameo appearance as the man behind the curtain. It’s a small and thankless part, but Finney’s presence makes it worthwhile even if the revelation isn’t anything groundbreaking.
It takes some time for the film to find its groove as the movie takes us from Moscow to Berlin to CIA headquarters to London to Italy (I think I’m missing another one in there) and not necessarily in that order. Although someone who hasn’t seen Identity and/or Supremacy in a while could survive, I think it’s best if you watch those two beforehand because it’ll only make the experience easier to follow as well as give some satisfaction tying all three films together.
Admittedly, Ultimatum does have a couple flaws, albeit minor. Greengrass once again brings back his trademarked “shaky-cam” which was one of the bones of contentions for fans of Supremacy. I felt it was innovative and was a good change from Liman’s ho-hum style but I admit there were times that I felt nauseous. Not to the point of detracting from the experience, but it could’ve been toned down just a bit.
In the end, though, The Bourne Ultimatum closes up what Identity started. Greengrass and company leaves it open for a sequel, but if one is so inclined, you can consider the story finished. Screenwriter Tony Gilroy, with the contribution of Scott Burns and George Nolfi (Ocean’s Twelve), gives the fans a connection with the previous two and not just for the sake of nostalgia.
Matt Damon also proves, once again, that he is no lightweight and provides a nice closure to his character. Time can only tell, but it seems Damon is possibly the new Sean Connery for the obvious reason, but also both men had solid work after their respective portrayals of “J.B.”. Just as I’m sure it was when Connery stepped down as Bond, it will be the same if Damon chooses to do the same for Bourne. I cannot imagine anyone else in a role that really Damon made come alive.
The Bourne Ultimatum is a thrilling ride in a thrill-less and mundane summer. It is filled with great action and fight sequences while still giving a plot that isn’t “dumb- down” for American audiences.
Director’s Commentary – Paul Greengrass, as he did for Supremacy, sits down for a commentary filled with on-set facts and talks at length about the story without sounding like some play-by-play analyst. I’d hoped for this last installment Matt Damon would’ve been a part of the commentary but Greengrass does a good job on his own.
Deleted Scenes (12:15) – 8 scenes are offered up and most were rightly excised from the final cut. Most didn’t move the story along but it’s nice to see them here in any case. Presented in letterboxed widescreen.
Man on the Move: Jason Bourne (23:32) – This nice featurette takes us around the world as we follow Matt Damon as he shoots on various locations from Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid and Tangier. Damon and others on the crew provide some good sound bites about how it was to shoot at these places and how it authenticates the movie.
Rooftop Pursuit (5:35) – Closer examination of one of the film’s more memorable chase sequences as Bourne goes from rooftop to rooftop in Tangier before culminating with his brutal fight against Desh. And this featurette leads into...
Planning the Punches (4:54) – From the rooftop we go into Bourne’s fight with Desh and we get to see the choreography that went into the sequence.
Driving School (3:18) – Matt Damon gets to show off his stunt driving skills as he prepares for the big car chase scene in NYC. It was quite impressive to see how good Damon was doing various maneuvers.
New York Chase (10:41) – Everything from the stunt driving to the logistics of shooting a big chase scene in New York City is examined. Those who enjoy seeing the process of shooting these kinds of action scenes will definitely be interested.
Web-Enabled Features – With an Internet connection, you can check out a couple other items. Most of them just advertise upcoming Universal/HD-DVD titles (Eastern Promises, The Kingdom) but there are two other features related to TBU. First is a poll where you answer questions about various things from Bourne’s motives to issues with the CIA and then see how your answers stack up with others who have voted. The other is a very short featurette, called “Controlling the Big Apple” (1:38) where we get interviews with production assistants as they explain how they try to keep people from getting in the middle of filming.
U-Control – This is Universal’s HD exclusive bread and butter. I like the U-Control feature and even though it sometimes uses some material already featured, it’s cool to see it in a small window as you watch with the movie. There are two “features” within the U-Control: Picture-in-Picture (as explained already) and Blackbriar Files which is just an onscreen text (w/ graphics) containing character profiles and maps with their locations. You can skip this one...
Be Bourne Spy Training – Cool game where you are shown clips from the movie and must answer a multiple choice test to see how good of a spy you are. Topics range from previous Bourne installments to what is sitting on a table. I was never any good with tests so needless to say, I didn’t do all that well.
MyScenes – This is a cool, though not entirely useful, feature where you can make your own HD video highlights from Ultimatum and store them to watch whenever you want and also share it with other Universal HD-DVD registered users. I guess it’s nice to show off certain scenes to friends/family when they come over.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
TBU is presented in glorious 2.40 OAR widescreen 1080p/VC-1 video... high-definition goodness. This isn’t a movie I think one should use to show off a home theater and HD but the picture is great with crisp detail just about everywhere you look. The details are nice and I noticed very little in terms of grain or compression artifacts.
The movie also features an explosive Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix that will blow your socks off. The audio is rich between quiet, dialogue-ridden scenes to the eardrum numbing, window shaking action sequences. The standard Dolby Digital Plus is also available and is also perfectly suitable. The DD+ is offered in English and French.
Side B has the boring old SD version for those who want to take this on the road. The audio is just your regular Dolby 5.1 mix in English, French and Spanish.
The Bourne Ultimatum culminates a solid trilogy surpassed only by classics like The Godfather and Star Wars. Obviously it’s not in the same genres as those but it’s unusual to see three top-notch movies in a franchise since, as history demonstrates, sequels tend to, for a lack of a better word, suck. Not this one, though. Hopefully if/when The Bourne Legacy gets developed, Universal continues that trend of high quality entertainment (both in theater and at home on HD-DVD).
Note: Screen caps come from the SD-side and do not necessarily represent the quality of the video.