Sunday, August 26, 2007


Here's the review. BOURNE ULTIMATUM - not so much.

Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, plus other actors you've seen before but might not be able to put a name to a face.

To issue an ultimatum you'd have to write it down or even speak some words. Bourne's never been really big with the dialogue. This movie is following the pattern--awkward silences with meaningful looks. Not that you actually KNOW the meaning but you get that it's supposed to speak volumes. You know, if I wanted to work that hard to piece a story together, I'd rather have a book. The movie seems to be mean-spiritedly sparse. Heaven forbid they take more than a millisecond to wallow in the moment, any moment.

There really isn't a hard-to-follow plot, but you really keep hoping you've missed something and that all those looks mean...something deep.

The camera work drove me nuts. They decided it would fun to use the jiggly hand-held camera to give us an up close and intimate feeling anytime someone dared attempt dialogue. I tried to push as far back in my seat as I could to see if distance would make the darned movie easier to watch. Again...not so much.

Brush up on your speed reading because if you expect to get the clues and the "meaning" from the documents they flash you, you'd better be able to read at jiggly-quick speed.

I swear you don't learn a darned thing, don't resolve a darned thing. Okay. His real name is David Webb and he was in some super secret assassin training program. ::blink:: ::blink:: Well, that was certainly worth my $ 7. There is one other tiny detail that he learns that I won't giveaway, just in case you don't see it coming a mile away.

Plot summary: Amnesiac is willing to kill anyone he has to in order to claim his real identity and discover what the assassin training program did to him. is that different from the first two movies?

Anyone who's watched the previous movies will have assumed that Julia Stiles' miniscule role of logistics person in the 2nd Bourne meant we'd see more of her in this, the third installment. Well, you really only saw her a miniscule bit more. And by the way, I thought she was rockin' the first hair style you see her with in this movie.

Here's the entire "romance/relationship" part of the movie. Pay attention. I don't want you to miss it. Here it is, the dialogue we've all been waiting for her to say to the amnesiac when he wonders aloud why she's helping him, putting her career on the line and knowing that the CIA is coming after him with a wicked nasty enthusiasm. She says...DRUM ROLL PLEASE!! "You weren't like the others. It was hard for me. With you." ::pregnant pause:: then, "You really don't remember do you?"

And??? And??? ...nothing. Geez!! Why bother ?? Why introduce elements that go nowhere?

Maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe the brilliant thing about this move is that you get to make up your own movie as you go along. Nothing more is explained so feel free to make up your own backstory for the characters. (No, I have not read the books and shouldn't have to if I'm watching a movie.)

There are zero surprises. Lots of action by stunt men and doubles. Typical ending. (Oh my gosh!!! Is he dead or not???????)

Oops, that was a spoiler. (Yeah, like you didn't see that coming? Please. They showed us clip after clip after clip of him been near drowned/tortured in training by being held underwater and you think there is any mystery when he's shot and falls from a tallish building into NY harbor?)

I didn't hate the movie (surprised, huh?), but I left the theater wishing I'd gone to see something else which would have given me a story with a beginning, middle and an end. Or a movie with a character arc. Or even a movie where the main character has actual conversations.

I like action adventure as a genre. I do. Promise. Loved THE RUNDOWN with the Rock. RIDDICK with Vin Diesel. CONAIR with Nicholas Cage. DIE HARD with Bruce Willis. THE ROCK with Sean Connery and Nicholas Cage. CASINO ROYALE with Daniel Craig.

But Bourne was not a thinking woman's BOND and had none of the wink-at-camera, over-the-top fun of a Bond. Or maybe I'm really just cranky because the camera is constantly jiggling and you're trying to figure out why the heck that document they're jiggling on screen is important and what the heck it SAYS.

I didn't consider the plot more sophisticated than a Bond plot. Less complicated? Sure. But not more sophisticated. It's still pretty broad strokes. "Stylish" but broad.

So, what's your pleasure? Bourne or Bond?

How hard do you like to work while watching a movie?

Do you like the immediacy and intimacy of the jiggly camera?


Betina Krahn said...

Deb--you're a woman after my own heart. My reaction to this move-- down to a "T." A lot of action and jiggly, dragged-into-the-moment violence. . . and hardly a storyline or a bit of dialog to string together. And they think THIS is quality movie-making?

Yes to the throwaway plot threads. Yes to the lack of dialog or character development (did they really think they did all of that in the other movies?) And yes to the crappy camera work that gave me a case of motion sickness and made me cranky afterward.

I was literally cranky and awful at dinner after the movie- - directly traceable to the crappy movie. If there's another Bourne-- and who can't see another one coming?-- then it will roll on without my $7.00.

To be honest, I never thought Matt Damon was especially sexy or handsome; I'll admit he can occasionally act. ("The Departed" required him to be truly vile and nasty and he nailed it. He's really GOOD at sleazy.) Sitting through 2 1/2 hours of "Mr. Ripley" --on Christmas Day, no less-- was enough to put me off him totally as a hero.

Bond. Give me Bond. He has some humor and some humanity in spite of his 007 status.

Bring on Daniel Craig as Bond and I'm in the seat for a first-crack midnight showing! Deep-six Bourne and I won't shed a tear. . . except, as noted, the water probably won't kill him. sigh.

Helen Brenna said...

I completely with you, too, Deb. On all counts.

Personally, I think Hollywood is spending much too much time trying to make movies LOOK cool and not nearly enough time on CONTENT like, hello, plot and characters.

Can't we have it all, please?

lois greiman said...

I agree, too. Jiggliness. Yikes. Hated that. And the fact that he had not a friend in the world. Hate that too. And hated number the number two movie as well. Reallllly hate when they kill the woman off to give the he-man a revenge plot. Let's not do that anymore.

Playground Monitor said...

Haven't seen the new Bourne movie and after reading this I think I'll save my money and maybe buy Casino Royale instead. GOD I loved Daniel Craig in that after I swore nobody could take Pierce's place as 007. DC is yum-o and Casino Royale was a return to the Bond of old. It wasn't as campy and was just a good action adventure film.

And does anyone else think that Hollywood has stopped trying to make new movies? So much nowadays is remakes of old stuff. And TV is going that route too with a new "Bionic Woman" series.

Of course, we have Balls of Fury and whatever that Chuck and Larry thing is. Sheesh! And people wonder why I read so much.


Michele Hauf said...

The jiggle-effect always just makes me wonder. Are their people out there who get into this? Now, I've heard that it makes some people literally ill, and that they have to leave the movie or get sick. That's weird. I just find it annoying, but I get used to it after a while.

I did have high hopes for this movie. And when Juila Stiles had to give herself a new hairstyle and they're both standing there in the bathroom, looking at each other, I'm thinking, no! Can you come up with something original for this one? You've already done this scene in the first movie.

And the villain in the car crash who magically appears later all blood-free and unharmed. I hate that kind of stuff!

But I am impressed by Damon in these shows. I like him looking gritty and not speaking so much. Though I didn't feel he was trying as hard in this movie, I did still want to root for his character.

I liked him in Dogma, as a wise-ass fallen angel the best.


Debra Dixon said...

Betina-- Yay! I thought maybe I was being overly critical and didn't realize how cranky I was until I saw the length of my review. And, we probably won't be able to deep six Bourne as you've noted. They've left that door wide open.

Helen-- Yes, I want cake and a fork to eat it with!

Lois-- Perfect. Yes, let's please stop killing the women.

Marilyn-- Yes. Save money. Buy Bond. Lots of Bonds hopefully if they will just keep Daniel Craig front and center, I'm there with Betina for the crack-of-midnight show.

Michele-- Damon is the reason I'm tricked into going. I know he has acting chops and I keep thinking they'll actually give him a script for these movies. The thing with Julia was lame. Yes. Completely. And they did nothing with it. Another throwaway bit.

Keri Ford said...

Nope, not big into the jiggy camera. Remember the old shoulder mount video cameras? The ones that recorded on an actual VCR tape? That's what I feel like I'm watching. Some movie my sister made thinking she could film.

As far as the Bourne movies go, so far I've liked them all, but I've waited until they hit HBO. I always like a movie better when I'm not spending loads of cash of the theater.

Debra Dixon said...


Smart move. Save the bucks.

Dara said...

I'm not a fan of action flicks. DH and I make bargains - I'll see an action flick if he'll see a romantic comedy. But Gawd, I hate that jiggly camera thing. Lots of ads do it these days as well. I leave the theater feeling dizzy! Thanks for the review. I'll definitely be skipping that one.

Michele Hauf said...

For fans of action flicks...I saw WAR, the Jason Statham movie this weekend. It wasn't bad. But, I went expecting to see some great choreographed fight sequences like Statham did in The Transporter, and there was none of that. Nothing spectacular. They didn't take any time to show unique fight scenes, just blasted away and crashed cars. So, I was on the fence about it. There is a great twist at the end, but probably it's a wait-for-the-video movie as well.

Just wanted to report in case anyone was perusing that flick!

Christie Ridgway said...

I really like action flicks...but I don't want the jiggly camera angles.

I will likely see this at some point, but I'm not running out today. 'Specially cause I was hoping for some romance with the Julia Stiles character. Dang. I hate that they didn't do something more with that.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Oh, rats. I missed this yesterday. It was one of those rush-rush days in which I was experiencing jiggly camera angles. Fortunately, no one was shooting at me.

I'm sorry I missed this discussion because--as usual--I had a different take. I would have asked how many of you liked the Casino Royale remake. Oh, well.