PictureI'd describe image quality as variable, ranging from the sublime - showing great cinematic detail with a solid , flat, noiseless picture - the scenes where Bourne and Marie Helena Kreutz are driving along mountainous roads is breathtaking in its beauty and clarity - to something quite mediocre in appearance, with Mpeg artifacting being especially obvious at times - for instance at the beginning of the movie when Bourne is aboard the fishing vessel. I also noticed a few rogue instances of minor print damage, which is a little surprising given the movie's age and budget. Edge enhancement has also been used, although for the most part it's not overly intrusive - unless you're blowing the image up to projector screen sizes when this may become an issue, especially if the mere mention of edge enhancement has you tut-tutting under your breath!
Overall the image is very good, but too variable in nature to achieve reference quality - I had been hoping for just a little more.
SoundThe 448Kbps Dolby Digital track certainly goes out of its way to be varied! It's as though sound engineers have decided to put a bit of everything into this release with fantastic use of surround channels, especially during the car chase scenes - very Italian Job meets Ronin! If I had a tiny criticism it would be that I missed that sense of real deep bass to accompany engines revving etc. - again very Ronin - but as these scenes involve motorcycles and a mini perhaps I'm being a little overly critical here... the car chase scenes are actually a bit of a “mini-classic”!
Overall The Bourne Identity has that quality of being able to transport you to the very heart of the action being depicted on screen, from the rich, full-bodied creaking and lapping of waves when Bourne is on board the fishing vessel at the beginning of the movie - not quite up to the epic scale of Master And Commander, but not far behind, either - to the numerous fight scenes that are quite true to the feel of Robert Ludlum's bestselling novel, and again have you ducking for cover. Top stuff.
ExtrasThe Bookend Scenes can be watched individually as alternative opening and end scenes, or as part of the movie where you press the enter button on your remote when a target image appears on screen. No matter what I did I could not get the alternative ending to play as part of the movie, though. There's also a lead in explanation as to why it was felt these scenes were necessary. As I've intimated previously, I'm pleased the filmmakers left the story alone, and included these new scenes just for us DVD collectors.
The Bourne Mastermind is a short (less than six minutes) feature about, and including, “storyteller” Robert Ludlum, followed by an Interview With Screenwriter Tony Gilroy, which at just four minutes in length is even briefer. Indeed most of the supplemental features are just a few minutes in length and could easily have been melded into one feature, I think. There appears to be a lot here, but it's mostly mirrors and illusion until we get to The Speed Of Sound, which has some interesting info on Foley effects. The Declassified Information is merely Ludlum speak for Deleted Scenes - and as seems to be the norm it's all too clear just why they were deleted in the first place!And that's about it. No Director's Commentary, which can be found on the first release, and I feel extra features are ultimately a little disappointing here, considering the Special Edition tag.
VerdictAs a movie I heartily recommend The Bourne Identity. As far as this particular DVD is concerned... well, if you don't already own the original release then I think it would be a worthy addition to any collection, but if extras are your thing just make sure you carefully compare supplemental features from both releases.
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