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The Bourne Ultimatum *minimal spoilers* *more spoilers*

 
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2007 1:07 pm    Post subject: The Bourne Ultimatum *minimal spoilers* *more spoilers* Reply with quote

Another lovely movie at the temple of air conditioning over the weekend.

I enjoyed this more than most action movies that I see these days. Not sure exactly the reasons why. It wasn't anymore believable than most action movies - in large part, you have to accept that Bourne is a bit of a superman and super thinker created by the CIA, now turning tables on them.

Perhaps Matt Damon *not* looking like your typical superman helps it go down easier. I'm not the biggest of Damon fans, but I also don't instantly hate him when he pops up on my screen. He does a good job with the troubled Bourne. He's nicely scripted as somewhere between McGuyver on one extreme and Arnold on the other extreme. Bourne can kick some ass if needed, can work a chase sceene if needed, but has those elements of out thinking the bad guys in inventive ways that never quite get to the level of McGuyver making a bomb out of pencil lead, some Wrigleys gum, some shoe laces, and a wrist watch (or something like that). Bourne's brains tend to get a "Ah... that's swift" from you.

What's interesting is that Bourne *does* fuck up, and people do die. Granted, at times the people who die fuck up *bigger* in the process of leading to their deaths. But it does come down to Bourne not being able to save them or get them out of a jam, and not getting exactly the info out of them that he might need. Most of them tend to be red-shirts, in the case of the two who bite it here. But in the series it's been established that Bourne can have the non-red shirts die on him as well.

This gives some tension to one of the "chases" in the movie where you think that Julia Stiles might actually be in peril. We've seen the person chasing her take one person out already, and Bourne not being able to prevent it... actually unintentionally *helping* it happen by playing into the killer. We've also seen Bourne have a Really Swift Idea earlier int he move cause someone else eat a bullet. More than that, we've had the flashbacks of someone meaning far more than Ms. Stiles bitting it, and Bourne making the trip to see her brother in a sense getting across his guilt. It's rare in an action movie where you ever get a sense of peril for the lead and his lady side kick, but here you did to a degree. Of course Bourne wasn't going to buy it because we had more movie left. But it was entirely possible he would get there a second to late to save her.

Speaking of action, it's one of the things I like about this movie is how Paul Greengrass handled "action". The movie essentially had three big "chases", discounting the "prequel" and end game since it was less chase than revelation. The first major action chase was on foot. The major one in the middle (with Stiles in peril) was in the first part on cycle/mopeds, but the majority of it was again on foot. The last one was the sole one largely in cars, and ironically the least effective. It's telling that the bounds of cars/vehicle chases have been pushed so far into clusterfuckville that simply getting out of the cars, into crowds and on foot is far more compelling these days. They also play well into Greengrass's shooting style.

The big car chase from a plotting standpoint came across as being there:

(a) because this is where we toss a big car chase into an action movie to get the crowd going

(b) for the ending plot point of Bourne's actions toward his fellow "asset"

That second was the type of thing that the movie tended to do - something that you're wondering about at the time, but ties off later. Minor, but plays well.

About the only major "WTF" moment in the movie was leading into the Big Car Chase - Bourne doesn't get out of the CIA building in plenty of time to catch a cab to avoid being seen. The reason for it is obvious - we need him to be seen so we get the chase. But the flaw, to me, is that they didn't have a reason *within the movie* for Bourne being slow to get out. Having to pause on the way down the stairs not to be seen. Duck in a side office as he's just about to be seen. Something... anything that adds to both drama of him getting out of the building (there really wasn't any at all) and explaining why he didn't get down to the ground floor in time not to be seen by Vosen's returning crew.

On the other hand, what one might think is initially a "WTF" in that scene actually made plenty of movie sense: Bourne calling Vosen from Vosen's office. From a fan watching the movie point, it was there to fuck with Vosen and play for some laughs... which it was very effective at. But within the movie, it did make sense - Bourne needed Vosen's voice to open the safe. How else to get it other than on the phone? Sure there are ways, but it was the most obvious one. From a secondary line of thinking, getting Vosen to chase around his own tail (out following Landy, then chasing back to his own office) would give Bourne time to get to the Research Building. Better sense than simply hanging up on Vosen.

Which makes the delay getting out of the office a bit more annoying - Bourne would have wanted to use the time Landy was chasing his tail to quickly get to 417.

Minor, but stands out a bit as much of the rest doesn't quite leap out at you. I tended to shrug it off for what it was - "Car Chase Time".

I like Greengrass a good deal as a director. I thought United 93 was exceptional, and enjoyed his prior Bourne movie. Bloody Sunday was a powerful movie as well. That he's adapting Rajiv Chandrasekaran's Imperial Life in the Emerald City for the screen with the intent to direct it himself... I can't get across how pysched I am for that. Sadly it's set for 2009 release, whereas it would be wonderful if it came out next September or October before the election.

Anyway... enjoyed Bourne quite a bit.


John


Last edited by jdw on Sun Sep 09, 2007 11:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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Jeremy Billones



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Location: Alexandria, VA

PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've only seen Greengrass do the two Bourne films.

I think he's Peter Jackson. Excellent script, spectacular work by the Stunt Coordinator and his crew, completely f*cked up by Greengrass' pathological need to use ShakyCam, quick cuts and poor choice in framing and angles that complete obscured the choreography and work.

(Anyone else catch the Stunt Awards on MyNetwork a couple weeks back?)

The last scene was one cut too long. We needed to see her smile, and roll credits. No need at all for that last shot. For the most part, they didn't understimate the audience, but they did there.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2007 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeremy Billones wrote:
I think he's Peter Jackson. Excellent script, spectacular work by the Stunt Coordinator and his crew, completely f*cked up by Greengrass' pathological need to use ShakyCam, quick cuts and poor choice in framing and angles that complete obscured the choreography and work.


Except that Jackson wrote shitty scripts. ;)

I didn't mind the Shaky Cam, and came to really enjoy the framing and angles. I also think some of the choreography was *helped* by his shooting. I thought the one real fight scene (Bourne vs. the agent in Tunisia) was one of the best fight scenes I'd seen in years... specifically because the shooting detached you from whether Damon (and Damon's stunt double) were throwing credible punches and crap to be a credible ass kicker. Instead, it came across as a frantic fight with us in the middle of it.

I'm tired of Matrix-fu fight scenes. This was gritty.

I also like the camera work in the train station, again helping to remove us from a "HEY! It's Matt Damon on the screen!" mentality and instead dropping us into the middle of a crowded, claustrophobic situation where everywhere you look may be a bad guy.

With Jackson, I feel like the director is reaching out with his hand to try to wrap it around my cock to stroke me off to his fantasy of what he imagines I'd like to see.

With Greengrass, I get far more of a feel of telling a story, setting a scene, drawing me into it, and not just jerking off on the screen.


John
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Steve Yohe



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 1:59 am    Post subject: The Script Reply with quote

From what I've read, the script for Bourne 3 was written as they were filming. It was a rush job for Aug.

I watch the first two before going to the opening mid-night show & was a fan....but I was disappointed. I liked the fight scenes in the first two better than anything in this one. He was trying to be artcy during the action scene & it didn't work for me. I need to watch it again.

I did not get the ending & what we find out about Bourne. The brainwashing idea was dumb. If a guy was good enough to kill people in such a way, you wouldn't have to wipe their mind clean to get them to do the job. The assassin thing is a male fantasy. Grunts in the Army I knew, would do anything for that position. It's a dream job.

So anyway, doesn't it turn out that Bourne volunteered for the job? It turns out that he was the person that Bourne feared he was in the first movie. I don't get it. It's a mess to me. I see no redemption in it. What was the point? So what happened in the book?

So it's kind of like he saw god flowing in the Ocean in #1 & changed. Maybe in #4 we'll find Bourne working on a farm in Iowa as a born (Bourne) again Christian. And make friends with Rambo!

What was interesting to me..was that the movie didn't take place after the second one but the two over lapped each other. That was kind of cool & the scenes were viewed different in both films. And the villians in all three films were Americans & the CIA. Considering the post 9-11 mood, it's a surprise. Guess there were some Russian type bad guys in #2.

If the CIA types were real good guys, they would have met with Bourne by the second movie & resolved the whole mess. The CIA being movie assholes were the only thing stoping that from happening.

I agree with Joan Allen in the movie, you don't kill your own people. It was nothing like that in the army. If you screwed up, the boss didn't kill you.....they found a easier job that you couldn't fuck up. You know, like promoted you.

Guess in the next one....Bourne will join the team & be just like James Bond. How many false IDs does he have left? How much money was in that bag in #1? Guess he invested well?

They say it will be ten years before filming starts on the next one... but I'll bet it isn't three. If Matt needs another hit, he''ll bit.--Yohe
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Steve Yohe



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2007 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It must have been really hot in Arcadia for John to leave his apartment twice for a movie in one week. Gee he had to walk across the street.--Yohe
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Jeremy Billones



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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 6:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Needless to say, this thread now has spoilers :)

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I think the implication was that he volunteered for the project blindly, signed the "I can't back out form", was ordered to kill someone for no reason, refused, then was given the days of torture and brainwashing until he "agreed".

It wasn't that they wanted an assassin. It's that they wanted an assassin who wouldn't question his orders. I'd like to think that pool is smaller.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2007 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steve Yohe wrote:
It must have been really hot in Arcadia for John to leave his apartment twice for a movie in one week. Gee he had to walk across the street.--Yohe


No AC in the appartment - it was 100+ *inside*. So it was consecutive days across the street. :)


John
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