I didn't really care for this movie when I saw it back in 2002 but I have to admit, it really works on DVD. Maybe it's the cool packaging, or all the extras that are a part of this but I really enjoyed this movie better the second time around. I found myself very much engrossed in Jason Bourne's plight but I also liked the way even the smallest characters were fleshed out.
If John Sayles ever made an action film I imagine that it would be something like THE BOURNE IDENTITY.
The Bookend Scenes: Never-Before-Seen Opening and Alternate Ending
Not wanting to give too much away in this review, I'll just say watch this feature and then decide for yourself if it altars the movie in your mind. Personally, I think these scenes were well done but I can understand why they were excised from the film.
The Bourne Mastermind - Robert Ludlum
This illuminating featurette was really inspiring. In Robert Ludlum you have a man that just wanted to tell stories and entertain. He wrote about places that he lived and from that crafted 25 books all of which where New York Times Bestsellers. Add to this that he didn't really start writing until he was 40 and his success is even more amazing. Basically, you come to realize that in Robert Ludlum you have a man not unlike Jason Bourne. Both were put in situations where they had to succeed(Ludlum loved the theater but couldn't support his family there) and they did everything they could to make that happen. I wouldn't mind seeing an entire movie based on Ludlum's life.
Access Granted: An Interview with Screenwriter Tony Gilroy
They lucked out when they picked Gilroy for this project because his take on this film was to make a very intimate movie. He wanted to provide viewers with an experience that they could take with them once they left the theater. In fact, it's very interesting that he would make such a big budget, popcorn-type flick an interesting character study and not just pay lip service to it around each explosion.
Gilroy also breaks down what goes into writing a script like THE BOURNE IDENTITY. How you have convey a lot of information and what is the best way to do that. He talks about how the script wasn't originally written for Matt Damon and how he as a writer had to adjust the project. This feature, while short, really tackles well, all the little nuances that have to be in a screenplay in order for it to translate well on screen.
From Identity to Supremacy: Jason and Marie
The goal with THE BOURNE IDENTITY was for the film to not be a typical action thriller. The action would be part and parcel of the character and the audience would then be able to invest in the character's as ordinary people. Which now leads us to part two, THE BOURNE SUPREMACY and their hope is to make a film that surpasses the original. While I hope that this is the case, I am a bit leery of the fact that Doug Liman(the original director) isn't on board. Either way, I look forward to seeing what has been done with the sequel and hopefully it isn't just a "bigger" version of the first film.
The Bourne Diagnosis
A UCLA psychologist Dr. Reef Karim probes into the intriguing causes and effects of Jason Bourne's amnesia. I have to be honest, this is pretty cool. I mean how many movies take a subject that seriously that they have a doctor come in and actually make a diagnosis about it? He goes on to talk about the different types of amnesia and how people that have the type that Bourne has will act in various circumstances. The doctor's points are highlighted by various clips from the movie in what is almost an audio/video dissertation on disassociative amnesia.
Cloak and Dagger: Covert Ops
Chase Brandon, a CIA liason, gives us a detailed, real-world analysis of what goes into making a real superspy. He takes us through the agency and how it works. How they don't go into the office but remain basically scattered throughout the world looking for "bad guys". He talks about how someone like this is trained and how that training is then put into use. It is amazing to me how together someone like Mr. Brandon is considering the line of work he is in and the immense pressure that that entailes.
The Speed of Sound
This is a look at the car chase sequence in the film where Jason Bourne drives a "Mini". What is interesting is that it is looked at through the eyes of the sound editors and how a majority of the sound was recreated in a studio. They then take us into their workspace where we see how the sound and images are then matched up on the screen. I like what the sound people said about how the audiences misperception that what they've seen was recorded on set, sounded like that because that was the sound people's intent. These also has neat sound clips you can listen to!
Declassified Information - Deleted Scenes
I watched a bit of these scenes but I am someone that has never been a big fan of what was taken out of a film. If it was recut and then put back in the film that would be one thing but as a seperate entity I find deleted scenes out of context and hard to watch. Also, sometimes I think not knowing what you didn't see is a good thing.
Inside a Fight Sequence
Here we are taken by Matt Damon and the film's stunt coordinator Nicky Powell into the making of a fight scene. Would be action film Directors I suggest that you watch this because I personally found the fight scenes in this movie to be very well done. All the more impressive is that Matt Damon did almost all of his own fight scenes. The scene is broken down and it's interesting how technical something like a fight scene really is yet on the screen, once it's all chopped together, it's extremely fluid.
Other special features include:
Moby "Extreme Ways" Music Video
Cast and Filmmakers Bios
Shown in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen this film looks fantastic. It's nice to see DVDs recieve an allstar treatment. A film like THE BOURNE IDENTITY will have such a longer life because the tender loving care that went into this DVD really comes through. I mean this thing is packed with extras and all of them look outstanding. A very fine job all the way around.
Dolby 5.1 all the way here folks. Even on my cheap TV/VCR, one speaker combo this movie sounded great. Knowing what went into this movie as far as sound is concerned makes this entire package all the more impressive.
This is one very solid DVD. If they can keep the same thing going for all the subsequent BOURNE movies(and lets be honest that's the plan right?) these DVDs will take on a life of their own and maybe become something akin to the STAR WARS movies of the action/thriller genre. I know that might be making huge leap but a film like this, with all these DVD extras and really cool looking motion graphic menus make this DVD something to own. It will stand very tall in my library.
The Bourne Identity was released June 14, 2002.