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.
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
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).