It was inevitable. After the release of the Bourne Files on DVD in July, it was only a matter of time before a collection of all three films arrived on DVD. Despite The Bourne Files fun packaging (with its faux folder accordion foldout), Universal stepped it up a notch with The Jason Bourne Collection, packaging the trilogy in a box mirrored after Bourne’s Gemeinschaft Bank box. Packaged inside are the three films in their original DVD amaray cases, “The Bourne Idenity” (Explosive Edition), “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum.” Each one of the films is, of course, in widescreen and has all the original inserts and disc art that their original releases sported.
With the Bourne trilogy, viewers were in for a ride in each film that would leave them on the edge of their seat from the start of each film. There is a certain level of excitement that stems from watching a Bourne film that you can get only from watching James Bond. Admittedly, the humor in Bourne is not existent in any capacity, but there action elements, at times, push it well beyond what James Bond has done in recent decades. The Bourne trilogy is, and always will be, a really tense, action packed thriller that is about as close as we’ll get to a full-length 24 film (until they actually make one, anyway).
While they deviate from the source material at times, fans have had the pleasure of seeing Ludlum’s Bourne trilogy not only be adapted into a popular film series but also a successful one at that. Ultimatum received such positive critical and fan praise that Universal is still mulling around the idea of continuing the series; while the series never hampered and the third film was quite possibly the strongest of the three (though I still have a hard time deciding which is exactly “better” than the other—they truly are just like one long film), there could be serious consequences with allowing the series to continue. The books that came after Ultimatum were panned by critics and fans and Ultimatum’s semi-“happy” ending could throw a wrench into the series. Just how much more pain does the man have to go through before he finally snaps back into his former assassinating self and begins killing everyone in the CIA rather than just knocking them unconscious?
Still, even if the series is somehow continued, it won’t lessen the impact that these three films have had. They don’t rewrite the genre in any way; they just make their own entertaining entries into it. Those who don’t know much about the series or have yet to see it should do themselves a favor and go out and pick up this release; there’s plenty in these films to enjoy and they’re an easy way to pass a slow weekend—before you know it, the two hours that each film runs will be up and you’ll be popping in the next one to discover what happens next. Highly Recommended.
So how does this DVD set compare to the previous The Bourne Files collection? Honestly, packaging aside, they’re really pretty much the same. The only major difference I noticed from the get go was the very confusing “Explosive Edition” of The Bourne Identity. While originally released to cash in on Supremacy’s release in theaters, this “Explosive” edition of the film was released sans the DTS and Doug Liman commentary tracks from the original DVD release. In The Bourne Files collection a variant of the “Explosive Edition” was released, this time without the useless “extended” edition (which was really just the alternate beginning and ending being tagged on) and with the Liman commentary track. While the DTS track was still missing, The Bourne Files did contain probably the definitive DVD version of The Bourne Identity. In The Jason Bourne Collection, I had assumed they’d just repeat the disc found in Files, but was surprised to find that the disc, despite saying it contained commentary by Doug Liman on the back cover, was in fact the original “Explosive Edition”, without DTS or Liman commentaries.
With that confusion out of the way, we can finally move onto this set itself. The aforementioned packaging is attractive and the magnetic closure on the bottom really adds to the packages overall presentation, although once one opens the packaging and finds the individual DVD releases inside, the excitement over the set wears off a bit. The exclusive extra in this set is a replica of Bourne’s passport from his deposit box and inside this passport is the bonus disc which contains the “Ludlum Identity”, “Ludlum Supremacy” and “Ludlum Ultimatum” featurettes. Sound familiar? They should, they’re from the bonus disc in The Bourne Files set. The documentaries focus mainly on the books and those involved with Ludlum; these extras are entirely devoid of the Bourne films and are a nice look at the original books that Ludlum created.
Aside from the packaging, this set doesn’t offer a whole lot else to the buyer. If you don’t already own the previous releases, then this set is worth picking up for the packaging and bonus disc alone; those that already own the first or second film or both may want to think twice before plunking down the change on this set. For simplicities sake I still like The Bourne Files packaging and it could be easily modified to hold a fourth disc, should you want to shove Ultimatum into the packaging. Still, the attractiveness of The Jason Bourne Collection cannot be denied and I’m sure more than a few units will be moved this holiday season from its sheen alone. With such strong films underneath the packaging, it’s no wonder either—they’re well worth owning.
Owners of previous Bourne Releases: Skip.
For Those That Don’t Own Any of the Bourne Films: Highly Recommended.