"The Bourne Files" DVD Review

July 28, 2007 by Zach Demeter

I know what you’re thinking. When The Bourne Supremacy was released in theaters, The Bourne Identity was re-released on a DVD that was ultimately useless, providing a few extras and leaving off a couple of the audio tracks from the original release. With this new release, titled The Bourne Files, one would expect the set to follow suit, but that’s not the case.

For those who haven’t seen any of the Bourne films, the stories follow the Robert Ludlum novels and adapts them into film format (rather loosely, from what I’ve heard from some reviewers), creating fast paced action movies along the way. I hesitate to call them “popcorn flicks”, as they seem to have higher production values and less gasoline fueled explosions than the Die Hard series, but there’s little doubt that the Bourne films aren’t an incredible joy to watch.

Matt Damon plays the role of Jason Bourne brilliantly and, oddly enough even though I’d never seen these films prior to watching this set, I am eagerly awaiting the third in the trilogy. The supporting cast changes throughout the films, but the (what appears to be, anyway) expanded role of Julia Stiles is also an interesting prospect, given the state Bourne left her in after their meeting in Supremacy.

I don’t want to rabble on about the films too much at this point—when it comes to DVD set releases like this, it’s more about whether the release is superior over the previous releases. Still, both Identity and Supremacy are excellently crafted films, although Identity still has the slight edge. Some of Supremacy’s action is too frantically shot (with Bourne leaning so far left in a frame in one shot that he’s nearly out of it) and the car chase towards the end seemed like it’d never end. Having said that, the current Bourne duo comes Highly Recommended.

The DVD
And now for the main feature! The Bourne Files comes in a superbly crafted “folder” packaging, with tabs for each of the three discs (one for each of the two films, plus a third bonus disc). Although it has no spine to easily identify it on a shelf (the wrap around that comes with the folder is not attached in any way), the packaging is still quite cool to play around with. Once Ultimatum arrives, I’ve no doubt I’ll customize the “Bonus Disc” slip to replace the Bonus Disc with the third film to complete the trilogy.

With a packaging as cool as this, I almost wish they had waited until the third film came out to put it in a nice little set like this. Still, for what it’s currently going for (under $20 and is currently $15 in most places), it’s an attractive set that’ll certainly draw some eyes to your DVD shelf.

For the discs themselves, while Supremacy is the same was the single disc release that came out when the film originally arrived on DVD, Identity is a curious hybrid between the first release and the extended edition that arrived when Supremacy was hitting theaters. While Identity still lacks the DTS track from the original release, this new one in the three disc set contains the Doug Liman commentary, as well as all the special features from the Extended Edition release. An interesting turn of events, considering I wouldn’t think they’d actually invest in re-editing the menus with the commentary option (although new trailers are included on all three discs). Really is a pleasant surprise, as the commentary that Liman provides is engaging and really informative.

Aside from the reworking of the Identity DVD, the special features on both releases match perfectly with the previous releases. The extra third disc is not a whole lot to look at, with the three featurettes covering each one of the films and the books behind them. A lot of interviews are given, but none that I could recall from the actors, mainly just from historians and friends of Ludlum. The “Ultimatum” sneak peek is nothing more than an extended trailer (which, if nothing else, makes the film look a great joy ride).

There have been reports that this set comes with movie cash to see Ultimatum, though I believe the reports center around Best Buy only. Considering that this set is so incredibly cheap, even if you only own one of the prior films, this set is easy to pick up. Regardless if you get the movie money or not, the extra bonus discs deeper look into the books is worth watching and the already packed DVD releases of the Bourne films more than makes this a worthy purchase. Highly Recommended.

The Bourne Files is now available on DVD.

 

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