Thursday, August 9, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

Two posts in one day: that's a rare thing to find from me. But I just got back from seeing Ultimatum, and I figured I might as well get it out of the way, especially since I just wrote an article about summer movies.

Surprisingly, I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would. I had really low expectations coming in because of my bad experience with The Bourne Supremacy and its style, and I heard that Paul Greengrass was back again to direct this one. Naturally, I thought Ultimatum would be completely hand held and shaky. I was wrong. Only about 60% of it was hand held. So that actually wound up as a nice surprise for me, and made for a more enjoyable movie watching experience.

The action was awesome in this installment, and (dare I say it) this was one of my favorite sequels of the summer. I didn't want to get into this topic since it's seemingly being talked about all over the internet, but after seeing this movie I think I should at least post my thoughts on the matter: Bourne would destroy Bond in hand to hand combat, no question about it. In this flick, Bourne's fighting with some assassin in a bathroom and it's the most bone-crunching intense fight scene I've seen since The Protector. Don't get me wrong, I love Bond and I really like where they're going with the tougher Daniel Craig stepping in to renovate the franchise, but Bourne would definitely take him to the house.

(Spoiler Alert in Next Paragraph.)

The story was pretty good, but tell me what OTHER film you've seen all that uses all these elements: A lone soldier-like figure who doesn't like authority, being used as a weapon, brain washing, amnesia, the return to the place it started in a search for the truth behind it all, only to discover that he volunteered for the procedure himself, and Brian Cox is involved. If you said X-Men 2, you're absolutely right. It seemed to me that the plot was ripped directly from the origins of Wolverine, but I haven't taken the time to research whether Robert Ludlam's (the author whose works are the basis for the Bourne movies) books came out before or after that part of Wolverine's history was revealed in the comics. I don't have the resources (and more importantly, the patience) for that kind of research. So I'm merely pointing out the plot similarities.

As my dad pointed out, the editors did a good job keeping the shots really tight and the pacing of the film was fantastic. If I was going to sit through those dizzying hand held shots, I was happy each one didn't last too long on screen. Yes, I understand that's the look and feel the filmmakers are trying to achieve, and I appreciate what they're trying to do (make us feel as if we, the audience, are in Bourne's shoes) but I'm just not a fan of that particular aesthetic on screen. And of course, it leaves the ending open with the possibility for more sequels. (Sigh.) Why can't series just end anymore? If you're like me and are hesitant about seeing this, I'd say give it a shot and take a chance. If you can get past the shaky camera, then you'll be fine and you'll definitely be entertained for two hours. Until next time...

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