Friday, August 03, 2007

The Bourne Ultimatum

Just checked out a free screening of The Bourne Ultimatum tonight and I gotta say, it was pretty solid. I was kinda bracing myself for the fast-cutting edits, super close-up action and shaky cam shots that remember so much from the first movie. But despite sitting in the front section of the theater, the action seemed to me at least, a bit easier for me to follow in this third Bourne movie. The overall premise involved a clever cat-and-mouse game, much like the previous installments. The CIA vs Bourne. Pretty much your standard action hero fare.

Each clever twist was incredibly enjoyable. I don't know if it was because no one in the theater had paid for a ticket, but there were several moments when the audience cheered out loud for Bourne, myself included. There were also a LOT of chase scenes too. It never felt stale though, and I always got the sense that we were being offered something new. For example, as soon as the rooftop chase scene began, I immediately thought of Altair in Assassin's Creed, skillfully jumping from rooftop to rooftop, tracking his target across Jerusalem. By the end of the big car chase, I didn't know what else to expect next, it was that jarring.

About midway through, I got this connection to an old favorite game of mine, Planescape: Torment. If you've seen either previous Bourne movies, you know about his past and how he's almost trying to right his past wrongs. I couldn't help but think about how in Planescape, you were this immortal, blank slate with no memory, who was continually discovering atrocities committed in your past lives. What kinds of responsibility do you take when facing the demons of your past, when you can't even remember them? Anyway.. that's a lesson to us all, I guess, in case you ever get amnesia. Actually, amnesia in movies is very strange in that you always end up being a completely different person post-amnesia than you were previously. Maybe we all deserve amnesia every once in a while, so we can all start fresh from time to time. Tabula-rasa, baby!

Overall, the movie seemed to deliver a decent action movie with enough mystery and underlying intrigue to keep you going. It's not going to be the deepest movie you'll see this year, but it's certainly a lot of fun. There was one part of the movie that have to complain about which was toward the end. It almost felt like they were trying to put you to sleep. In a movie full of action, you should never slow it down to such a crawl for so long. I suppose, since this movie was the third in a series, you had that Lord of the Rings effect where you were wrapping up plot from 2 movies back. Since I had knowledge that there was a fourth book, part of me knew this wouldn't be the end.

Plot-wise, the movies are quite different from the books, but that doesn't really bother me much. I hate when people complain that a particular movie veers too far from the original source material, whether it's a book, comic or whatever. Different mediums call for different things and there's no one right way to tell a story.

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