PicturePicture quality is good with the transfer on offer here being crisp, damage free and with no obvious colour problems. The film itself has been shot with, what appears to be, a muted palette during scenes featuring the European countryside. Out of interest I compared this release with a friends copy of the earlier release; the transfers appear to be identical with no additional scenes (except the bonus opening/closing scenes available - see below) and no improvement in the picture quality. No obvious blocking or banding are evident on the main feature but there are a few moments where a little too much edge enhancement is visible in the form of ringing (check out the Paris night time scenes featuring headlights for an example of this).
SoundFirst of all, DTS fans should note that the DTS 5.1 track (which was included on the previous release) is not present here. Instead we have English, Spanish and French Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. With that out of the way what of the quality of the English 5.1 track? In a word: “dynamic”. Sound mixing is used to great effect throughout the film; from the opening sequence where we find Jason adrift on a stormy sea with wind and crashing waves all around us, through a classic mini chase and many small but memorable moments. There's plenty of use of the split rear channels and some good moments to wake up your subwoofer.
ExtrasWhoa! At first glance this set seems to be positively bursting with a great many special features but let's take a look at them one by one. Firstly the main selling point of this set, “The Bookend Scenes”. These are introduced by producer Frank Marshall, Tony Gilroy (screenwriter) and members of the cast. The introduction explains why, following the horrific events of September 11th, an additional set of scenes where shot to “bookend” the movie, greatly changing it's emphasis. Although both scenes are short, they effectively change the entire movie into one, large, flashback sequence. Unfortunately the new ending scene is, in my opinion, far poorer than the one ultimately used for the theatrical release. Whilst on the subject of these extra scenes, I should point out that these two scenes make up the “extended” edition of the film. When the movie is played you are given the option to play the theatrical version or the “extended” edition. If the extended edition is selected an icon will appear on screen at the beginning and end of the movie, if selected this will play the “bookend” scenes in situ. Unfortunately the new scenes are not encoded anamorphically and also appear to be of a very low (almost VCD) quality. Added to the fact that this option is not set up using seamless branching, this results in a rather jarring experience when watching on a large display. It should also be noted that the additional scenes are encoded in Dolby digital 2.0.
”The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum” explores the career of the author who wrote the trilogy of books; “The Bourne Identity”, “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum”.
Access Granted: An interview with screenwriter Tony Gilroy” features an interview with Mr Gilroy who faced the unenviable task of taking a huge novel, interpreting it and turning it into a feature film whilst ”From Identity To Supremacy: Jason & Marie” is as close as the extras come to a promo (no relevant trailers are included on this set) as it takes a look at the filming of the second movie. Very much a piece in two halves, this extra starts out featuring the cast and crew discussing the progression of their characters and roles, whilst the second half degenerates somewhat into a puff piece.
”The Bourne Diagnosis” and ”Cloak & Dagger: Covert Ops” both invite the opinions of real life professionals, as a psychologist discusses the portrayal of Jason Bournes' condition and real life CIA liaison Chas Brandon discusses the way in which the movie demonstrates the skills and training a real CIA operative would rely on in the field. ”The Speed Of Sound & Interactive Feature” takes us behind the scenes of the sound mixing with regard to the car chase sequence and give you the chance to step through the various audio layers that go to make up the final mix. Whilst this is not as “interactive” as it could be (the separate layers can't be mixed by the viewer) it's still fun and shows the subtlety that goes into the creation of a modern soundtrack.
”Declassified Information” features four scenes deleted from the final movie. These four sequences (“Warbosi on the private jet”, “Bourne & Marie by the side of the road”, “Psychologist discusses Bourne” and “Bourne and Marie practice on subway”) are all non anamorphic and seem to have been encoded at the same (VCD-like) quality as the new opening and closing sequences. Most of the scenes add little to the overall flow of the movie, but the sequence featuring a psychologist analysing the phone call made from his apartment does fit in very well to the flow of the film and it's a shame that at least a couple of these sequences didn't find their way back into the movie itself. The set is closed off with the same Moby: “Extreme Ways” music video that was available on the earlier DVD release, DVD Rom extras and a Cast & Filmmakers Bio section.
Lastly, although the front cover proudly announces the inclusion of a free cinema ticket for “The Bourne Supremacy” this is, sadly, only valid for cinemagoers in the US.
VerdictWhilst this re-release is obviously timed to cash-in on the advertising of the upcoming sequel; has lost it's DTS and commentary tracks and, ultimately, doesn't deliver on its promise of an extended edition, this is still a first rate action thriller. Featuring an excellent performance by Matt Damon and the rest of the cast, you should definitely pick up a copy of this movie. Whether that copy is this new version or the earlier edition (which appears to have the same video transfer and better extras), will come down to which features you want.
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