Saturday, September 08, 2007

Movie Review: The Bourne Ultimatum

I saw The Bourne Identity in the theatre, when it came out in 2002, but I wasn’t quite sure if I actually liked it. I just couldn’t make up my mind. So when I found it out was based on a book, by Robert Ludlum, I decided to check it out. It turned out that I loved it, and I ended up reading a lot of books by Ludlum—including the sequels to The Bourne Identity, which were called The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. So when I heard that The Bourne Ultimatum was coming to the theatres, I was interested. Unfortunately, I never even knew that The Bourne Supremacy had been made, until I happened to see it in Rogers Video one day. I completely missed the theatrical release. So before I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum, I wanted to do two things:

  1. Re-watch The Bourne Identity, to see if I liked it any better the second time around
  2. Watch The Bourne Supremacy, since it seemed kind of silly to have watched the first and third parts of a trilogy, and not the second.
Luckily, The Bourne Identity came on TV, and I was able to see it again—but I still wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. And I never did get a chance to see The Bourne Supremacy. (A colleague had mentioned that she might have it on DVD, so I got my hopes up, but it turned out that she didn’t.)

So really, I shouldn’t have bothered to go and see The Bourne Ultimatum in the theatre, but I did. Andrea was still away, and I was bored Friday night, so I decided to just go.

Don’t you hate when I go on and on with my preamble, before I ever get to the point of my post? Well, I’m getting there now.

I really liked Ultimatum. Of course, it’s nothing like the book, but that wasn’t too surprising. They had two problems: One, they’d already deviated from the story in The Bourne Identity—they’d had to simplify it, because the plot in the book is very complex, and you just couldn’t cover it in a two hour movie—so, therefore, they had to follow the plot they’d already been using for the first (and presumably second) movies. Second, just like the first book, the plot in The Bourne Ultimatum would be much too complex to cover in a movie, so even if they hadn’t deviated in the first movie, they’d still have to simplify it anyway. And this is good news; it means that you can read the books and watch the movies, and not have things spoiled for you. (The Bourne Identity is at least similar, while The Bourne Ultimatum is nothing like the book.)

When I read Stuart Klawans’ review of Ultimatum in The Nation, I wasn’t quite sure if he liked it or not. (I’m often left in that predicament, after reading Klawans’ reviews of “popular” movies; when he reviews foreign movies, I can feel his love of movies, and it always makes me want to see them, but when he reviews the Hollywood blockbusters, I can never quite tell his opinion.) I think, though, that he’s saying Ultimatum is the best of the trilogy, and I think he’s right. It’s a great movie, that I can recommend.

If you like it, I would also recommend the books, by Ludlum. The story is richer, deeper, and wider, and, if you like action, Ludlum doesn’t disappoint; his books are always fast-paced.

Of course, you probably don’t want to make my mistake; I’m assuming that you’ll enjoy The Bourne Ultimatum more if you’ve seen The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy first.