The Bourne Supremacy

Ah, the #2 Bourne movie. Although there were a number of films floating around that used the shaky-cam effect before the sequel to The Bourne Identity was released in 2004, this is the one where people really started to notice. Specifically, when complete strangers started throwing up on their shoes.

I love the Bourne movies. I had read the books by Robert Ludlum and was thrilled and amazed as I watched Matt Damon turn himself into an action hero in the The Bourne Identity. I couldn’t wait to see the next one and felt nothing but excitement as I scoured the rapidly-filling theater for seats. It was the first Saturday of opening weekend and the place was packed, so I was not very surprised when I ended up in the second row. It had been awhile since the Three Kings fiasco so I never really considered that there might be a problem other than a stiff neck from looking straight up. But director Paul Greengrass and his merry band of palsied shooters had other ideas. The producer of the film, Patrick Crowley, liked Greengrass’ “sense of the camera as participatory viewer”, a visual style Crowley thought would work well for The Bourne Supremacy.

I never had a chance. My close proximity to the screen magnified the quick cutting style and my brain could not seem to connect all the parts into one cohesive film. And to make it worse, I was eating greasy popcorn, which also adds to the chaos going on in your gut. I left the theatre within 15 minutes and spent the rest of the time lying on a bench in the lobby. Usually I can shake the nausea off and go into a different screening, but this one just flattened me. I had a headache for 24 hours after I left.

The Bourne Supremacy is the first film that I ever saw this issue addressed by critics. I know that I am particularly sensitive to the shakiness, but this film was so bad that even people who regularly ride on roller coasters were losing it. I did eventually realize that watching the film on DVD made most of the problems go away, probably because the screen you’re watching is small enough that your brain can integrate all the pieces and interpret them as one fluid thing. That is not a scientific explanation. I just know I was able to watch it on TV so I could move on to The Bourne Ultimatum.

Barf Bag Ranking: FOUR BAGs. It just doesn’t get any worse than this.

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2 Comments

  1. Although I loved comic books as a child, I don’t care much for graphic novels. I find I prefer a little more sub-text than you’re given in the drawn ones. But show me an old Fantastic Four and I’m in heaven!

  2. Here here! While I don’t get nauseous (thank goodness), the quick editing makes it impossible for my brain to process and I can’t enjoy a second of the movie. How do you feel about comic books?


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