Bourne back on course

The Bourne Ultimatum

The Bourne Ultimatum, the sequel to The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, is to start filming in August, according to an interview on the iF website with producer Frank Marshall:

Filming starts August 1st shooting in Europe. Paul Greengrass is the director. Matt Damon is in it. He loves the script. Tony Gilroy wrote the script and we’re off and running. Paul is doing a movie called FLIGHT 93 right now, so Pat Riley and I are going over to England next month to start pre-production. [Tony Gilroy] made up an incredible story. It’s really, really out there. Joan Allen and Julia Stiles characters [are back] and then some fresh new characters. And a couple of baddies

Despite bearing the title of the third book in Robert Ludlum’s Bourne trilogy (unbelievably, there’s a fourth book, The Bourne Legacy, written by Eric Van Lustbader of all people), it’s unlikely to have many similarities. By the third book, Bourne aka David Webb is married to Marie (a Canadian economist), has two kids, is a university lecturer, is best pals with Conklin and finds he’s under attack from his arch-enemy and noted terrorist, Carlos the Jackal. Doesn’t really gel with the last movie, does it? It’s also not very good, and is more of a long curse at old age by Robert Ludlum, disgusted to find his mind was slowing down, 20 years or so after he wrote The Bourne Identity. An original movie wouldn’t have to work too hard to be better.

The return to the series of both Tony Gilroy, writer of the previous two films, and Paul Greengrass, director of The Bourne Supremacy, isn’t so welcome though. Supremacy is a good film if you’re watching on a widescreen television at home. It’s impossible to watch at the cinema without getting motion sickness, thanks to Greengrass’s trademark use of handheld, jerky shots at all times: would it have hurt him to lock off the camera just once in a while? I would have preferred Doug Liman, director of Identity, who at least knows how to shoot a fight scene.

And while Gilroy appears to turn in clever scripts, if you look at earlier drafts of both Identity and Supremacy, you see that most of the clever bits were added in later by the directors and script doctors. Thankfully, Marie being run over by a bus and Bourne spending a lengthy time in an Indian prison never made it to the big screen version of Supremacy.

Nevertheless, I’m hoping that Greengrass can temper some of Gilroy’s more lame-brained ideas, and that feedback from critics and audiences alike will convince him to cut back on the shaky-cam. I’m fed up with the increasingly stupid Hollywood blockbusters we get each year, and fancy another decent, clever spy thriller that doesn’t massively insult my intelligence. At the moment, there’s precious few of those and The Bourne Ultimatum might just increase the count by one.

PS Anyone know how to view the “alternative Russian ending” to The Bourne Supremacy on the region 2 version? I know it’s there on the region 1 disk, but it’s not in the same place on the Euro version.