I went on Sunday to see the latest incarnation of Robert Ludlum’s master
assassin, Jason Bourne, as played by Matt
Damon, in The Bourne
The Bourne Supremacy is the second in the trilogy of Bourne books.
We’ve seen two
interpretations of the first
book, The Bourne Identity, on screen; this is the first time anyone’s
ventured past that.
I would say the first movie, also starring Matt Damon, only took the
general premise of the book into account and then took liberties with
the rest of the plot. The beginning started out like the book, but it
slowly diverged from the book as it went along. I liked the movie, but I
definitely liked the book better as it had some great psychological
stuff in there that probably doesn’t translate well to film.
After watching the second movie, I’m really wondering now if the people
who wrote the movie even read the book. I mean, did they even bother
skimming the thing? Just read a few pages, guys. Here’s the description
from the back of the book:
In a Kowloon Cabaret, scrawled in a pool of blood, is a name the world
wanted to forget: Jason Bourne.
The Chinese vice-premier has been brutally slain by a legendary
assassin. World leaders ask the same fearful questions: Why has Jason
Bourne come back? Who is paying him? Who is the next to die? But U.S.
officials know the shocking truth: There is no Jason Bourne. The name
was created as cover for David Webb on his search for the notorious
killer Carlos. Someone else has taken the Bourne identity–and unless
he is stopped, the world will pay a devastating price. So Jason Bourne
must live again. Once again, Webb must utilize his lethal
skills–because once again, like a nightmare relived, the woman he
loves is suddenly torn from his life. To find her, trap his own
impostor, and uncover an explosive secret plan, Webb must lauch a
desperate oddyssey into the espionage killing fields. But this time,
survival will not be enough. This time Bourne must reign supreme.
Okay, now go see the movie. When no one ever even mentions China,
you’ll start to wonder what’s up. Not to mention the constant pursuit of
the ever-elusive “Carlos” character in the book, who was also in the
first book, and who didn’t make it into either of the movies.
I’m not saying this is a bad movie. I liked it. I had a lot of fun with
it. I’m saying it had zero to do with the book, aside from the fact
the main characters are both named Jason Bourne. Watching the movie
didn’t make me feel cheated, it made me feel like they should have named
it something else… and then considered it “a new adventure for Jason
Bourne.” Something like a “lost chapter” in the character’s history.
Of course, in the books Jason Bourne marries the Marie character
(played in the movie by Franka
Potente) and they stay together
through the entire trilogy. In the movie, in the first five minutes,
they kill Marie. What?! That definitely doesn’t happen in the
Again - I liked the movie, it just didn’t even remotely follow the
book. Not even close.
Should you see it? That depends. If you are a die-hard fan of the
books, you will probably be disappointed. Despite the great action and
special effects, it will probably stick in your craw that the stuff on
the screen has nothing in common with the Bourne universe you know and
love. Of course, I loved the books, and I had a great time with the
movie. Divorce yourself from the idea that the movie is “based on the
novel” and pretend for an instant that it’s just a new adventure with a
character you already know and love. Go into it like that, and you’ll
have a good time with the movie.
It makes me curious now to see if they’re going to do the third book.
No way they could even remain close with that - they’ve already diverged
too far and have created their own mythos surrounding Bourne.
Might be cool, though.