My girlfriend and I caught Bourne Ultimatum this week-end. I was genuinely surprised that the theater was packed: it was three weeks after the release date, and Bourne was still drawing in the viewers.
At about the ten minute mark, my girlfriend whispered in my ear and said, “The camera’s shaking too much.” I don’t buy Ebert’s lame excuse at suntimes.com that shaky-cam had become so prevalent in movies that he was tired of complaining about it. That might be true, but Bourne Ultimatum must’ve been the first movie I’ve scene that was TOTALLY shot in shaky-cam.
I’m not going to complain to much. Granted, I HATED the shaky camera, but I can understand why it was done. Jim Emerson’s Scanners has the best explanation. Shaky cam made some of the most ridiculous action sequences, such as leaping window-to-window in Tangiers like a video character, look downright plausible.
However, some other things that irked me:
- After the movie, I told my girlfriend, “OK, so now apparently Bourne is Wolverine.” She thought it meant that Bourne was nigh indestructible. I really meant those flashbacks. Now, Bourne was created before Wolverine, true, but the hazy, disorienting flashback sequences reminded me a lot about how Wolvie’s origin story used to be portrayed in the comics and in the X-Men moives.
- SPOILERS: For an entry in the Bourne series, that ending was super-sappy. Bourne convinces government-trained agent not to shoot him by appealing to his inner humanity. Guh. Bourne plays dead, but swims away while his lady-friend smiles. Double guh. Lady CIA agent sees the light and turns on the govenment. Nice, but unconvincing.
- I can understand Bourne calling evil CIA guy from his own office, since Bourne is so indestructible that the could’ve walked out of the office with an Abrams tank pointing down his face. Yet it seemed out of character to call him up until he was out of harm’s way.
Overall, though, I liked the movie despite its shortcomings. Is Bourne the new Bond? I don’t think so. A central tenet of the Bourne mythos is that the government is the bad guy, and that can get old fast. (It was already starting to get old with the introduction of the “Blackfriar” conspiracy in this movie.)
And it ends with us knowing the most important details of Bourne’s past, a disorienting element that’s uniquely Bourne. How are we to continue? Delve into even more mundane aspects of the past, or throw a curveball and say that it was all a lie? Neither of these sound good. I mean, look at his doppleganger, Wolverine. Marvel kept stringing us along with twists and double-twists of his mysterious past for so long that fans finally let on that they were just throwing garbage storylines that wouldn’t stick two years down the road.
Still, if they do continue doing Bourne, I have a few suggestions for the next titles. Given that one of the last lines was that Bourne no longer existed, and Jason was now David Webb (his real name), here are my suggestions:
- The Webb of Deceit
- The Webb of Denial
- and, of course … World Wide Webb.