Media

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2010

ARTICLE INDEX

"The Bourne Identity" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-february-2010-bidentity210

Synopsis

A fishing boat finds a man floating in the sea.  When he wakes up, he remembers nothing.  The only clue is a small device hidden beneath his skin that projects a Swiss bank account number on the wall.  Thus begins the journey of Jason Bourne (Damon), the CIA’s top secret, $30 million dollar weapon.  As Bourne struggles to regain his memories, he is pursued by an agency determined to erase his existence and cover up their own mistakes.  Along the way he meets up with a German student, Marie (Potente), who becomes caught up in the adventure.  He quickly discovers he has extraordinary fighting skills and amazing instincts that manage to keep him one step ahead of his enemies.  As Bourne remembers more and more, it becomes clear that he isn’t the only one with a mysterious past.

 

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2002, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 59 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Brian Cox
  • Directed by Doug Liman
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

The Bourne Identity and its two sequels have always been among my favorite movies.  The storyline is killer to be sure.  The action is top-notch and Matt Damon is just perfect as Jason Bourne.  You’re never quite sure how he’s going to survive a threat, then, he does something totally unexpected.  Fans of spy flicks will feel right at home here.  The intrigue and conspiracies abound and surprises lurk around every corner as the characters pasts are slowly revealed.  The pacing is never slow and if you haven’t seen this film before, you will be on the edge of your seat the whole way through.  The car chase scene is one of the best and the fight sequences are expertly crafted.  I’ve watched the movie many times and it never gets old; highly recommended!

Technical

This is the same transfer as the initial Blu-ray release from January of 2009; previously available only in a boxed set.  Resolution is quite good with some film grain which is never distracting.  The color palette is very cold with a blue or green tint over pretty much the whole movie.  This is appropriate as the entire plot takes place during the winter.  The feeling of coldness is quite apparent throughout.  Flesh tones are a bit flat due as a result but it fits in with the theme just fine.  Sometimes mid-tones are too dark, muddying detail a bit.  Contrast is generally uniform with solid blacks and good shadow detail in dark scenes.

Audio is generally excellent with great punch and dynamic range throughout.  Car crashes and gunfire have a terrific impact with aggressive use of the subwoofer and surround channels.  Dialog is always clear and well-defined.  John Powell’s musical score is especially nice featuring a haunting bassoon solo for Bourne’s theme.  The overall soundstage is quite wide and deep with effects placed appropriately.

Extras

This is the first Blu-ray flipper disc I’ve encountered.  One side is Blu-ray and the other is DVD.  Tiny hub rings tell you which side is which.  While I’m sure this saves a bit on production costs, it would be nicer to have two separate discs.  Not only does this reduce the risk of damage but you can take the DVD on the road or to another room while leaving the Blu-ray in the main viewing area.

The bonus features on this release are the same as the previous version and are quite extensive.  There are featurettes about the Ludlum novels that are the basis for the movies, alternate opening and ending scenes, deleted scenes and an extended scene.  Other featurettes include making of documentaries, interviews with screenwriter Tony Gilroy, character sketches, Inside a Fight Sequence and even a music video.  You can also activate director commentary during the film.  BD-Live features include live in-movie chat, webcam video commentary and a card-based strategy game.