Howdy ladies and gentlemen and welcome to another instalment of Films I’m Looking Forward to in 2012 and today’s film may surprise some of you as it the upcoming fourth instalment in the Bourne film series; The Bourne Legacy.
Now if you’re like me and you’ve seen The Bourne Trilogy with Matt Damon then you know how brilliant those films are and the significance that they hold. While the films don’t revolutionize the world of cinema or anything like that, The Bourne Trilogy is well-made, perfectly executed and one of the most consistent trilogies in recent years along with the Toy Story and The Lord of the Rings. This trilogy first started in 2002 with The Bourne Identity starring Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a man found in a critical condition with no memory of his past. After he is nursed to health he starts to patch things together and then goes on a mission to find his past, also add into the mix that he’s being hunted by assassins and the involvement of the CIA and you have a lot on your plate. Luckily Jason Bourne is up for the challenge. The Bourne Identity is one of those wonderful films that impresses you from start to finish, it’s not one of those thriller type of movies just for the sake of it. This film has all the codes and conventions of a great thriller film, it’s smart, with a well though out and thought-provoking story, it’s also action-packed and has characters you can get invested in and care about. Doug Liman did a fine job as the director, Matt Damon was awesome in the film and it was well-received by critics and the public audience.
And with the success of the first film, the Bourne series continued with the next two titles in the series; The Bourne Supremacy (2004) and The Bourne Ultimatum (2007), now both under the direction of Paul Greengrass. The next two Bourne films continued Jason Bourne story as he continued to search for answers to his past and dive deeper into the business with the CIA and Treadstone. Just like Identity, Supremacy and Ultimatum continue to impress and go from strength to strength developing the characters and creating a very interesting story full of a web of conspiracy, lies and deceit. And besides some issues with the “shaky camera” work from certain scenes The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum were well-received, commercially successful and The Bourne Ultimatum even won three Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing at the 80th Academy Awards. After this point the Bourne series had established itself as a pretty successful film trilogy.
A solid trilogy… There was no need for a fourth film. Darn money-hungry film studios.
The films are partially based on a series of books by Robert Ludlum, and while I have never read the books personally I’ve heard they are pretty good. Now embarrassingly I didn’t get around to watching any of these films until around 2009 to 2010 I think, I’d always heard of them but had never really been interested. But after being in a media class and watching a number of thriller films I gave these films a watch and I fell in love with them. The current Bourne Trilogy is one of my favourite trilogies ever, it was perfect, consistent and fine the way it was. I could watch those films over and over for an eternity…
So imagine my frustration and to find that there was potentially going to be another film.
I am a firm believer that most film series should never go beyond a third film unless there really is a need for it like if the third film sucked or if there is much more story to divulge. The Bourne Trilogy was solid, there really wasn’t a need for another film. Sure there were still some questions left unanswered still leaving the door open for more material but I feel the series ended with enough closure. So in 2008 it was reported that Paul Greengrass was going to direct again and Matt Damon was going to play Jason Bourne again. Then in 2009 Greengrass pulled out as director and then in 2010 Damon pulled out stating that he wouldn’t make another Bourne film without Greengrass and also said that the next film for him wouldn’t be made for 5 years. At that point it seemed like Bourne was going to be left alone, well at least that’s what I had hoped. It was announced by the writer and new director Tony Gilroy that the new film would be going ahead under the name The Bourne Legacy. His words on the justification of this new film’s existence caught my eye though, check it out:
“This is not a reboot, it’s a whole new chapter. The easiest way to think of it is an expansion or a reveal. Jason Bourne will not be in this film, but he’s very much alive. What happened in the first three films is the trigger for The Bourne Legacy, and everyone who got into them will be rewarded for paying attention. I’m building a legend and an environment and a wider conspiracy. We’re going to show you the bigger picture, the bigger canvas… The world we’re making enhances and advances and invites Jason Bourne’s reappearance somewhere down the road.”
So basically this film would be building around the world that the first three films were set in? Hmmmm. While it was a smart way to stay connected to the previous films I was still wary. But I don’t think it was until 2011 when Jeremy Renner was announced as the new title character of the Bourne series. Right there and then I think many people on the internet became unhappy with the choice. I mean no offence to the guy, he’s a good actor and I know he can do action and thriller-based work from what I saw in The Town, but stepping into the world of Bourne just didn’t fit for a lot of us. I guess we were all too attached to Matt Damon. But then who wouldn’t be? Filming also started in 2011 and then Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton were cast and I was like “What? Really? Okay I’m a little more interested now.” Firstly Rachel Weisz is not only a great actress but she’s hot as hell and Edward Norton is great actor too full of talent, so if this film could attract them then this film might be worth checking out.
But my interest wasn’t properly caught until this short trailer came out in February:
I saw this trailer and I had to actually watch it twice, it was nicely stylized, had the same sort of tone from the previous films and it showcased Jeremy Renner basically doing what Matt Damon did before; basically going to get answers and beating guys up in stylish ways. But obviously in a totally different environment and under different circumstances. Renner certainly looked combat-ready and able to handle himself. However I can’t help but think that this film shouldn’t exist or that it won’t compare to the previous titles. I know that’s close-minded, but it’s only because of my opinions on film series’ being overstretched. I am really interested in The Bourne Legacy just to see what Jeremy Renner and crew do with this one, whether it’ll be compared the previous films and stand on its own or whether it’ll fail. I guess we’ll just have to wait until August to find out. Either way, this summer has just gotten hotter with another interesting summer movie.