[box cover]

The Bourne Identity: Extended Edition

Released as a cross-promotional tie-in to 2004's sequel The Bourne Supremacy, 2002's The Bourne Identity has been double dipped in a way that doesn't necessarily improve on the first edition. The film, concerning secret agent Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) getting amnesia and trying to figure out his previous life before his old coworkers murder him, is still a fine summer action effort, and is well presented in anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1) and in Dolby Digital 5.1. But such only indicates the major losses from the first edition, notably the DTS track and the audio commentary by director Doug Liman. The main attraction of this new release is the extended opening and closing sections. These can be viewed as part of the film if one presses the target icon at the appropriate moments, or can be accessed separately in the bonus features section. Since it's done without seamless branching, it doesn't feel like a new cut, especially since the footage is not presented anamorphically. These scenes come with an introduction, where producer Frank Marshall suggests the re-shot opening and ending were done to soften the film in a post September 11th world, and were done as part of a pick-up shoot where the concluding action scenes were re-shot (that — from the footage included — seems to have been done without director Doug Liman's participation, since it shows Marshall acting as the director). It's more than a little ironic — the new footage is labeled "Explosive," but in fact features no explosions, and was done specifically because Hollywood had become explosio-phobic after 9/11. Beat that. The new footage was done just in case the test screenings were poorly received, but when the audience liked it as-is, the re-shot opening (2 min.) and ending (5 min.) were abandoned. They provide a wraparound for the story, taking place just before Bourne reunites with Marie (Franka Potente) but is drugged and is offered freelance work by CIA honcho Ward Abbot (Brian Cox). It would have softened the film and would have changed the sequel, so it's for the best these were unused. Also scrapped from the first disc for this edition is an extended scene and the 15-minute "making-of" featurette, while the four deleted scenes (that aren't especially interesting), the Moby video, and the theatrical trailer are carried over. In addition to these supplements, there's new stuff: "The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum" (6 min.) on the author of the source material; "Access Granted: An Interview with Screenwriter Tony Gilroy" (4 min.); "From Identity to Supremacy: Jason and Marie" (4 min.), which interviews stars Damon and Potente; "The Bourne Diagnosis" (3 min.) which offers a study of amnesia; "Cloak and Dagger: Covert Ops" (6 min.), which talks to the CIA; "The Speed of Sound" (4 min.) is a look at the sound design, which also comes with a sound demo featuring the nine different soundtracks that went into to making one minute of the car chase; and "Inside a Fight Sequence" (5 min.), which offers a behind-the-scenes look at how the American embassy fight was choreographed. Keep-case.

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