Monday, October 20, 2008

Bourne Again

I watched The Bourne Ultimatum again over the weekend. Obviously it’s a cracking good thriller that fills the gap when there’s bugger all else on, but, with Variety reporting last week that Universal is pushing forward with a fourth instalment of the series, I was curious to see what evidence there was in continuing the Jason Bourne story.

It’s pretty obvious that most movie franchises go a film too far. Now, instead of the occasional lazy sequel, companies have an eye on turning everything they can lay their hands on into a damnable trilogy. Usually this involves taking what was a simple self-contained story and extending it beyond breaking point or trying to cobble up a different take on more of the same and getting the ingredients hopelessly wrong.

Pirates of the Caribbean, which had a marvellously entertaining first movie, disappeared up its own plot-knotted fundament halfway through the second film. Both X-Men 2 and Spiderman 2 improved on the initial film but then spectacularly crashed and burned on the third go around. Even before they were the glimmer of an idea in the screenwriters’ minds, The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II told audiences everything they needed to know about Michael Corleone without the messy, utterly superfluous third chapter.

Any right-minded, responsible individual is going to say we don’t need all these useless films spewing out onto cinema screens. The problem is the studios see them as an easy way to make money, whatever the cost, knowingly there’s a growing audience of emotionally retarded, geeky nerds who crave this cinematic equivalent of momma’s tit to suck on. These obviously include the fans happy to watch a Star Wars film that included fucking teddy bears and the next generation of demon spawn, sired by the ones who amazingly got to stick their dicks in a woman.

They’re probably the lot to wept for joy at the arrival of the second Star Wars trilogy, because they didn’t mind the whole thing with the fucking teddy bears, or whooped at the news of a fourth Indiana Jones movie without realising that, after Raiders of the Lost Ark, the series had actually gone downhill. Hell, they probably ache for another go around Jurassic Park, the fucktards!

Like junk food, one of these films once in a while is not wholly a bad thing, but you can’t gorge on them all the time. Otherwise it’ll turn you into a gormless moron. The great thing about the Jason Bourne films is that, while providing the requisite heart-pounding adrenaline rush, they still harked back to the sometime downbeat thrillers of the 1970s rather than indulge in insipid high concepts that regularly go way over the top with stupid high-tech gizmos that stand in for story and character.

With The Bourne Ultimatum the series reached its natural conclusion both narratively and visually. Why take it further? I suppose because Casino Royale took the long-running Bond franchise back to Bourne-like, bare-knuckle basics and racked in a whole heap of cash for Sony. With the upcoming release of Quantum of Solace set to do the same, Universal probably hope to get back in to the game and grab a share of that pot for themselves. If they are going to do it, I hope they get it right rather than do an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and sully the memory of everything that went before.


At 5:48 pm, Blogger Lucy said...

I LOVE EWOKS! They're the only good thing about Star Wars. Bearing in mind I have never, ever watched a Star Wars movie all the way through except Phantom Menace. A part of me died that day.

At 6:19 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Oh, sweet Jesus, just reading that got the bile rising.

No. No. No. NO! The Ewoks were awful. And you watched The Phantom Menace all the way through? I caught bits when it was on TV a while back and it looked sucky.

I saw the first movie in... probably early 1978 when it came out over here. It was sometime around then, anyway. Obviously way before your time (which just thinking about it makes me feel very old).

We were living in Torquay at the time and the shops were full of posters advertising this damn film (and all the merchandise that accompanied it). I guess it was the first time I'd ever seen such a media blitz. It was on the TV and in magazines. It was damn well everywhere.

There hadn't been anything like this for a film, ever. Not the latest Bond movie, not even for Jaws a couple of years before. So this was a big event. This was something completely different.

After it had been on a couple of days I finally got to see it. Sure, it was entertaining, but coming out of the cinema I thought to myself, "Is that it?" After all the hype, was that all there was?

Still I went to see the next one and actually do like parts of The Empire Strikes Back, although I probably haven't seen it since the "Special Editions" were released back in the 1990s. By the time the flipping Ewok film rolled around we were in Exeter - or rather I was, my folks had fucked off abroad by then - and thought that film sucked big time.

I guess the films are fun for kiddies, but once someone hits their twenties and thirties, they really should have grown out of that kind of nonsense. Bad as it is you wasted a couple hours of your life, I suspect you learned a lesson that day.

At 6:46 pm, Blogger Lucy said...

Bear in mind GD I was still a kid when Phantom Menace came out... Wow, you're senile as well as old! ; )

At 8:14 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

I just checked and... good grief, that hideous canker was released nine years ago. Where the hell does the time go?

Anyway, nine years back you’d have been, what? Early to mid-teens? ;-)

I wouldn’t say that was being a “kid”, even if you were out on a school night.

One thing I do remember is that up here in London Strangers on a Train was re-released the same day The Phantom Menace came out. I don’t know whether that film reached the sticks at all, but I bet as you chowed down on your popcorn you wished you had gone for some Hitchcock instead.

Wow, you're senile as well as old!

Well, I can’t fault you on that observation.


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