Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dear Charlie:

Okay, so I didn't plan to watch The Bourne Ultimatum for a while, if at all, at the theater. I figured it'd be a good rental -- something to enjoy at the house without noisy kids and idiots with cell phones and teenagers necking, etc. I did want to watch it, but, to be honest, I kinda have to pick and choose what I can afford to watch at the theater.

And I...ahem...*coughcough*...hadn't seen The Bourne Supremacy yet. Sorry! I just didn't get the chance, and every time I was supposed to see it, something came up. Plus, I enjoyed the first one so much that I was afraid the second would submit to The Dreaded Sequel Disease.

So, I wasn't in a hurry.

Until a friend from work said he was going to watch it this weekend and asked if I'd seen it, knowing me for an action movie afficionado. *sigh* We got to talking about it, and I admitted my crime toward the second installation, and he let me borrow his DVDs of both Identity and Supremacy.

Who am I to turn down a favor like that??

Admittedly, I never thought I'd see it this weekend. I got adopted into another family's before-back-to-school vacation this year, so I went to Branson and avidly rode rollercoasters and equally avidly tried to get out of the shopping all weekend. And I was so tired today -- I don't sleep well in my own bed, let alone a strange one, and only managed to net about 6 hours shut-eye all weekend -- that I figured I'd come home, do a little laundry, choke down a sandwich, and keel over by 8:00 or so, if that.

So I probably shouldn't have watched the two borrowed movies Thursday evening, because that third installment was just about all I could think about this weekend...except for the rollercoasters, of course. They pretty much precede everything else but football, though I managed to watch some of that this weekend, too.

Damn, this weekend just keeps getting better the more I tell. Huh.

Anyway, so when I got home today, I threw some clothes into the laundry, stowed away some Harry & David's contraband, and made my second mistake -- glancing at those two discs laying so innocently on my coffee table. I wanted to watch them again.

No. I wanted to watch Ultimatum. Dammit.

Long story short...well, shortish, I went. And I'm glad I did. While even the long face shots look like they were shot by someone with dangerously low blood sugar, the movie itself is excellent. It takes a little from Identity, a little from Supremacy, and a little from my Psych 101 text book. Woot!

Without getting too detailed, I'll say that my absolute favorite part is that...they didn't really do anything to him. Oh, they broke him, all right. They used him, got around him, used his own honor and logic against him until he became exactly what they wanted no matter how much he fought them and himself.

But they didn't do anything. They didn't put him through some super-spy-growing chemical work-up. They didn't expose him to radiation. They very likely trained him, but they didn't change him. They just changed his mind. They changed the way he reacts to any given situation.

You know, one of my favorite things about writing bad guys is that they're just like good guys, except that they think different. They feel differently about consequences. Their risk/benefit ratio is completely different.

I walk into a room full of people, and I see people I might talk to, people I definitely won't talk to, that guy I ought to avoid, the water fountain, and maybe an exit sign or two. A "bad" guy walks into a room full of people and sees security cameras, possible weapons, all possible exits, sixty different ways to kill me, and a room full of possible targets, hostages, bargaining chips, and meat shields.

See what I mean?

They didn't change him. They changed the way he reacted. They told him that shooting this man or stabbing that woman or throwing this businessman off a roof or blowing up that office building meant nothing but saving American lives. If you take everything away but that -- every reason why one life is or isn't as good as another, how an innocent might be caught in the crossfire, that if any lives are worth saving then every life is worth saving -- it's a very simple decision. Shoot or don't. After they're done with him, the decision is even more simple than that: if they say shoot, there is no don't.

But that's all my own thought process as to the movie. The movie's real strength is that it makes me think.

I mean, we already sympathized with Jason Bourne. We already want him to know who he is and "what they did" to him. We want him to recover his memories and discover that he was just like anyone else and how they made him into the #1 killing machine -- a killing machine that is no longer safe for those who made it.

But now, we want to think about it. We want to think about what would make a man who regrets his sins commit them in the first place. What kind of mind control, what kind of chemical voodoo would take a basically decent man with a conscience and turn him into a directed, loaded weapon with no volition of his own?

This is what Ultimatum gives us. This is why it delivers on so many levels. Plus, it's fun to have recently watched the first two so you catch all the little drops from this movie or that one. Heh. I love that. I love remembering this line or that lead-up or the other scenario. Fun stuff.

So, if you've the time and money and even remotely enjoyed the first two Bourne movies, you cannot go wrong with this one. And even if you haven't enjoyed/seen the first two, this one is fun to watch, even though you'll have no idea what's going on.

If nothing else, find out what your home movies will look like after you get Parkinson's disease.


At 10:23 PM, Blogger Joely Sue Burkhart said...

That Man really wants to see Bourne 3. Finding a babysitter... Sigh.

Hey, I made a comment right after yours on PBW's blog tonight. Ha.


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