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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Bourne Identity: Explosive Extended Edition
The Bourne Identity: Explosive Extended Edition
Universal // PG-13 // July 13, 2004
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Blake Kunisch | posted July 15, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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Overview: When the Bourne Identity first hit theaters, I loved it.  I saw it twice and waited with anticipation for the DVD to be released.  I can't really count how many times my friends and I have enjoyed the "Collector's Edition" of Bourne, featuring a good amount of special features, including an alternate ending, "explosive" deleted scenes, a featurette on the making of the film and a commentary by Director Doug Liman.  So now, I hear that there's a new "Explosive Extended Edition" coming out and I can't wait to get my hands on it (odd that they use "Explosive" in the packaging again as they did with the collector's edition, but what can you do?).  So once the Extended Edition got here, I feverishly opened it up, checked out the features and popped it in the DVD player.  I started up the video and chose the "Play the Explosive Extended Edition" option and then realized that I had to hit the Enter button on my remote at the right time to skip to the alternate beginning and ending.  Strike one.  Why not just integrate them into the film?  I've already selected that's how I want to watch the film - why would I want to hit a button again to see the extra footage?

Then, oddly enough, before I can even get to the film, there's a brief explanation as to why they didn't include the original starting and ending because of 9/11.  Strike two.  Why can't we just go to the film?  If I wanted to know why they cut the original starting and ending, shouldn't this be in the special features?  Or at least optional?  I've already had to make two choices telling the DVD to start the film, and now I've got another 3 and half minute wait (that can actually be easily bypassed with a chapter skip).  Note: Tthe deleted opening scene, end scene and commentary by the director is included in the special features section, which is probably the best way to watch it, rather than trying to half-heartedly inserting it into the film and slapping an "Extreme Extended Edition" title on the box.

So once we finally get to the "start" of the film, I select the "original opening" which transitions me out of anamorphic widescreen (strike three) and puts me in a letterboxed widescreen with a short 3-4 minute opening scene which turns out to be part of the ending and the whole film we originally watched (the theatrical version) is a flashback in Jason Bourne's life.  Then, after the whole movie is complete, we jump back to "real-time" and see a scene not included on the original Collector's Edition (again in non-anamorphic widescreen) which then transitions to the deleted ending that is on the original Collector's Edition DVD (with better quality than the Collector's edition though).  A little more on the extended scenes later on.

The Movie: As I stated earlier, I'm a huge fan of the movie and can't wait for the sequel.  Slick and stylish, this is a great movie, filled with the right amount of action and intrigue.  When Jason Bourne is fished out of the ocean with bullets in his back, he remembers nothing about his life.  Through an implanted chip, he is able to track down a safe deposit box filled with cash, passports and multiple guns, however, he has no idea what to do with the cash or why he has all the passports.  He does start to slowly figure it out as he is being tracked down by the very people that trained him, as he is now considered a rogue agent, and they have no idea that he has lost his memory.

The Bourne Identity excels on the screen through a great script based on a magnificent series of books and with Matt Damon and Franka Potente headlining and Doug Liman behind the camera, everything fits together perfectly.  The film is a tight, engrossing thriller that quickly transitions between action and drama with just a slight bit of romance thrown in to mix things up.  An exciting film, any fan of the thriller genre will be more than happy while watching this fine film.

The Picture:  Presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) (excepting the bonus "extended" footage), the picture quality is absolutely fantastic (though, to be fair, the quality is on the same level as the original Collector's Edition of the DVD).  The picture is crisp and clean with very few flaws (none to be noticed by the untrained eye).  The whole film is a bit on the dark side to set the mood and it transfers quite well to the medium.

The Sound:  Similar to the Collector's Edition, the film is presented in Dolby 5.1 Surround (both French & English were presented in 5.1 on the Collector's Edition, and it appears that Spanish has been added with 5.1 surround to this edition - French subtitles have also been added aside the Spanish subtitles of the Collector's Edition).  The Dolby presentation is quite adequate, but the DTS English track has been dropped this time around.  For those of you with DTS enabled theaters, this is a huge loss.  I could have lived with Stereo presentations of French & Spanish languages in exchange for an English DTS track, but luckily, I still have my Collector's Edition to fall back on.  As for the Dolby Surround, the presentation is full-featured and rich.  The dialogue is clear and is not overtaken by sound effects or music.  Overall, it performs at the same level of the Collector's Edition with the subtraction of the DTS track.

Special Features:

Explosive Extended Edition:  Here in the special features, you can watch the short intro to the extended scenes and you can figure out why they cut them from the original film, but it's not a huge addition to this DVD.  They're nice to see once, but you do understand why they cut them and without actually adding them back into the film, there's really no point to watch the "explosive extended edition" of the film itself via the Play option on the front menu, when you can just watch them here.

The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum: Presenting a look at the author behind the series of Bourne books, this short featurette gives you a little bit of insight into the author and a little bit of background information.  It's about five and a half minutes long and is pretty interesting as most fans of the movies may not even know it was based on a series of books, nor would they know much about the author behind them.

Access Granted: An Interview with Screenwriter Tony Gilroy:  I enjoyed this presentation as we look behind the script to see how Tony Gilroy was able to cut down the book to the movie and why some parts of the book was cut.  It also touches on what exact scenes made it from the book to the movie and why.  This featurette is four minutes long and a good look behind the scenes of the script writing process.

Matt Damon: From Identity to Supremacy (Jason and Marie):  Featuring interviews with Matt Damon and Franka Potente, this short feature details a little bit of the background behind the Bourne Identity and then transitions to what they plan on doing in the Bourne Supremacy.  It also touches on a few of the differences between Bourne and other clichéd action/thriller movies.  It's only about three minutes long and I would have liked to see more from Matt & Franka.

The Bourne Diagnosis:  As described on the box, this short feature "probes into the intriguing causes and effects of Jason Bourne's amnesia and its central role in this gripping espionage thriller."  It's quite short at only three minutes long and features quite a few clips from the movie and very little explanation from the "expert."  He concludes that Bourne has dissociative amnesia and has a drive to do something, but doesn't really want to do it and therefore blocks out previous parts of his life as a defense mechanism.

Cloak and Dagger: Covert Ops:  A CIA Liaison talks about the basic functions of the CIA - both overt and clandestine services.  Since I've always been interested in the CIA and/or the FBI, I really enjoyed this featurette which lasts for almost six minutes and ties the actual CIA to the movie.

The Speed of Sound: Featuring interviews with some effects supervisors and editors, they talk about the main car chase scene in the film and how they added upwards of 90% of the sound effects after the film was actually done after the film is cut.  An interesting behind-the-scenes look and a very nice addition to the DVD.  After you view the interviews, you can then listen to the isolated tracks of effects for the first minute of the car chase - including, Backgrounds (wind, air, traffic, birds & crowds), Foley (the recreated sounds of actors' footsteps, movements and interaction with props),  Mini Cooper Engine, Mini Cooper Accessories (tire skids, gear shifts and suspension noise), Background Vehicles (motorcycles, buses, police cars, mopeds and other autos), Sirens & Horns, and Sweetners (misc. sound effects and recreated group dialogue).  Each one is pretty cool to listen to on its own, though you do have to turn the sound up to hear some of the lighter effects.

Declassified Information: Four Deleted Scenes: These four scenes are provided without any introduction and, though you can tell where they would fit into the film, it's hard to figure out why they were cut or what exactly they were trying to accomplish.  Note: All of these scenes are on the Collector's Edition DVD.

Inside a Fight Sequence: Featuring some behind the scenes footage of Damon, Liman, and others with some interviews, this four minute featurette disects the fight scene in the embassy and shows how it was rehearsed and put together.  Interesting, but nothing too special.

Music Video: Moby - Extreme Ways: The same video featured on the Collector's Edition, this is nothing new.  Just a music video.

Conclusion: In the end, it's not hard to say which is a better presentation of the DVD.  The Collector's Edition features a DTS track along with the commentary by director Doug Liman which gives it a huge leg up on the competition while the Extended Edition only adds a few new featurettes and a couple new scenes (the original start and the extended ending of the film).  As a fan of the movie and not of the extraneous features, I'd stick with the Collector's Edition, and see if you can borrow a friend's copy of the Extended edition for the few new features (most notably the extended scenes and the extra information on the author, Robert Ludlum and the screenwriter, Tony Gilroy).  Another nice feature is the included ticket for The Bourne Supremacy, but once that's used up, this "explosive" DVD has no redeeming qualities to make it worth the purchase if you already own the original (even if you don't own the Collector's Edition, with a price drop there, it is a much more attractive purchase than this edition which is obviously just a ploy to capitalize on the release of the sequel in theaters).

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