I seem to be hitting cinemas a tad harder than usual these days. Perhaps the phase I’m going thru’ has me craving escapism more and more? This time the cinematic distraction was provided by the Bourne Legacy; supposedly the fourth in the Jason Bourne franchise. Tho’ it’s not even loosely based on the novel and has little to do with the Jason Bourne character?
“An expansion of the universe from Robert Ludlum’s novels, centered on a new hero whose stakes have been triggered by the events of the previous three films”.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never actually read any of the Jason Bourne series. (Tho’, having enjoyed the first three movies, I had added them to my to-do list). I’m just confused as to what the hell the studio, the writers and the producers were thinking?
The script was originally to be written by one of the writers of the Bourne Ultimatum and would’ve been based on the novel. (As you’d expect). But when director Paul Greengrass and actor Matt Damon pulled out of the project, it seems they went for a completely different approach. Why? There’s been more than one Bond, why not more than one Bourne? (Sorry Matt, you did an excellent job, but fans of the character would want it that way).
If I ignore the title and look purely at the movie in isolation, then I’d have to admit that Jeremy Renner (as Aaron Cross) and Rachel Weisz (as Dr. Marta Shearing) both did an outstanding job. Renner’s got the build and the intensity to make the Cross character believable and Weisz sells the out-of-her-comfort-zone, scared-to-death aspects of the Shearing character.
The action scenes were great (particularly the bike chase). We had the conspiracy elements (check); the international feel (necessary for any spy flick) and the time honored strive to breed a super-soldier. Wrt the latter, I’m sure Bourne wasn’t the first fictional character based on this aim and he probably won’t be the last. The only reasons I can think of for adding Bourne to the title were..
- to re-cycle an existing audience and boost the box-office take
- head off the Cross to Bourne comparisons, by explicitly making them part of the plot
The trouble for me was that taking all that time to interweave the Cross/Bourne stories and timelines just spoiled the whole dynamic for me. It had me thinking too much and escaping too little. The sign of a skilled author and a strong character is to leave enough gaps and loose ends lying around, that if a novel takes off, you can always come back and take the story in new directions.
The trouble is: that none of this related to the original author (Robert Ludlum) and the overall treatment just had me thinking: ‘pilot episode‘. Like the original movie the Bourne Identity, we’re introduced to a promising character and a romantic interest; but they sail off into the sunset and we know there’s more to come. I guess it’ll depend on the box-office outcome, before we see who’ll come back. (Will the pilot flop or will there be more episodes to come)?
I enjoyed the movie thanks to the actors mentioned and even the storyline (if I gloss over the Bourne stitch-ins). So I’ll give it a 6 out of 10. But if I was Robert Ludlum, I’d be kinda p****d off with the liberties they took.
Favorite scenes: the whole wilderness survival bit (particularly surviving against drones); Shearing’s fight against suicide (and Cross’s make-shift nail gun); the whole motorcycle chase (particularly the rail slide, complete with passenger. Class ;o)