steroids and baseball
1968: january 28

oscar run x: the bourne ultimatum

The best way to describe The Bourne Ultimatum is to note that I came to the picture never having read a Robert Ludlum book, and never having seen any of the previous Bourne movies. I was quite prepared to be lost, plot-wise, since my understanding was this movie would complete the narrative begun in the first two films I hadn't seen. I shouldn't have worried. The plot of The Bourne Ultimatum is irrelevant to the pleasures the movie offers. Rather like a non-comic Road Runner cartoon, the movie spends almost its entire running time in chase scenes. They are quite inventive, they are enjoyable, you can see why the three Oscar nominations the movie got were for editing, sound, and sound editing (not sure why those are three different categories). No one is likely to feel cheated watching The Bourne Ultimatum, and while I have little interest myself in sniffing around for cultural context to analyze, I'm sure it's there. It's just that in this case, I'm not interested. The movie delivers, the characters and situations are completely unbelievable (which doesn't matter except that once in awhile the movie stops for a few minutes and I think we're supposed to find Jason Bourne's situation profound ... it isn't), and I can recommend the movie even to those, like me, who knew little about Jason Bourne going in.

I do have one question, though. How does a movie like this get three Oscar noms ... let me finish, I don't mind that it has its nominations ... how does a movie like this get nominations, but last year's superior Casino Royale got none?



Not that I ever agree with Oscar nominations or movie critics for that matter. But as a fan of action movies, I thought Bourne was a much better action movie than Casino Royale, which was entertaining but not all that great.


I can't argue with the point that this Bourne movie was action-packed, and it wasn't stupid or anything like that, so I think it was clearly above-average for the genre. I don't want it to seem like I didn't enjoy Bourne Ultimatum a lot. I have a long history with James Bond, though, going back to the 60s when I was a kid and actually used 007 cologne :-). And I, like most who read the book, have had nightmarish thoughts about the torture scene in Casino Royale since I first read it, and was squeamishly delighted to see it make the screen in all its terrible glory. Point only being that I was extremely grateful that Casino Royale was such a good movie-with-James-Bond that I'm sure I overrated it. This is definitely one of those cases where it helps to know the writer's (i.e. my) context. I think Casino Royale is arguably the best James Bond movie that didn't star Sean Connery. Not that I can be trusted ... I liked the Timothy Dalton movies, and when I wrote a piece for a Bond anthology, the movie I chose was Never Say Never Again.


I went into The Bourne Ultimatum in almost the same situation. I had only seen the first on fleetingly (one of those It's-Playing-in-the-Background-of-a-Party kind of things). And hadn't seen the second one at all. Regardless, it was a helluva lot of fun.

Rosie Powell

Not only do I agree that CASINO ROYALE was superior to THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM, I believe that THE BOURNE IDENTITY and THE BOURNE SUPREMACY was superior to this third Bourne film.

Claudia Trent

"I think Casino Royale is arguably the best James Bond movie that didn't star Sean Connery."

Please don't try to convince us that all of Connery's Bond films were superior to the other ones. Please don't. I just find that very hard to believe. I can only think of two Connery films that are great. And none of them are GOLDFINGER.


The worst of the "canonical" Connery Bonds ... take your pick, maybe Diamonds Are Forever? ... is better than the best of the Roger Moores (The Spy Who Loved Me?). I'm a fan of the Timothy Daltons, so I can see a possible argument there. The Pierce Brosnans are ok, better than the Roger Moores, but the best thing in any of them was Michelle Yeoh. So yes, I suppose I think Diamonds Are Forever is a better movie than anything that came after it until Casino Royale.

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