Jason Bourne: not only a cool-sounding name for a super spy (à la James Bond) but an indicator of this man's destiny. Like a character in a Greek tragedy, this Bourne is born again after being pulled from the sea, virtually dead, by passing fishermen. And thereafter, this Jason must set off on a long, arduous quest, voyaging across the world in search of his golden fleece.
Except, as played by Matt Damon, Jason himself has been fleeced - shorn of his morality by an exploitative, uncaring band of gods called the C.I.A., who now look down from on high, letting loose thunderbolts at their whim. True, Jason's Argo is an orange Mini, but that doesn't mean his internal and external conflicts are any less compelling than those of some ancient be-toga'd hero. What's more, his deeply serious, mythic tale has been modernized as super-staccato mayhem. Result? The trilogy that is The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Bourne Ultimatum - now available on Blu-ray Disc together (and only together) in this three-disc boxed set - is one breathtaking home-theater joyride.
To this end, all six sound channels are frequently engaged in head-spinning demos of DTS-HD Master Audio. The mix's addictive music sometimes has different rhythms of drums, bells, and what-have-you in each of the surrounds, while strings shimmer and seduce from the front. And sonic effects are natural and expansive from the start: Identity's opening sequence at sea brings you all the rain, wind, waves, bells, and gulls you could possibly want.
Likewise, the immersive sounds of a Tangier street in Ultimatum - shouting, singing, the footsteps of the pursued - come at you from all sides and help build tension for the frenetic action scene to come. That scene has highly complex effects of cars careening and crunching across the soundstage, sirens screaming past, and gunfire rattling and ricocheting about. In fact, there are so many elements here and they're so well rendered that if you're a panned-effects freak, Ultimatum should probably be your single go-to disc.
The look of the Bourne series is a kind of evenly lit, sometimes grainy, nighttime-gloomy electric blue, with zip-panning hand-held camera work and hyperactive editing. There's also a purposeful softness to images to help enhance the feeling of immediacy. At the same time, there's vast detail, with the lived-in faces of the Langley higher-ups (played by the very character-filled actors Joan Allen, Brian Cox, Albert Finney, and David Strathairn) revealing all the responsibility that making ruthless decisions has etched into their brows.
In these VC-1-encoded transfers, contrast is excellent, too, such that the usual Company suits are deep black, shirts bright white, and reserved yet intricate tie patterns distinct, even in ominous offices lit only by computer screens. Daytime scenes exhibit a wide range of tones, with richly colored areas brightening up shots.
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.