SRP $119.98 2.35:1 DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 UNIVERSAL
 

Previously available on dvd and HD-DVD, "THE BOURNE TRILOGY" has been released on blu-ray, by UNIVERSAL.  While many differ as to which film is the best of the series, they're all highly entertaining, and well-worth owning as part of any blu-ray collection.

Matt Damon stars as "Jason Bourne," a man, whom in the first film, "THE BOURNE IDENTITY," finds himself struggling from amnesia, with many out to kill him, and realizing that he has uncanny abilities. As the plot unfolds, he finds out that he's a CIA assassin, and his quest to find out about his identity, will lead to him uncovering a mass conspiracy, and that the secret behind his amnesia is tied into his last mission. Along the way, he abducts and then falls in love with an unconventionally pretty German girl, and the two embark on a virtually non-stop adventure to solve the mysteries confronting him.  The film moves at a fine pace, tightly directed by Doug Liman("GO," "MR AND MRS SMITH"), however, the ending feels a bit predictable, which is definitely disappointing considering how great the rest of the film leading to that point, has been.

In "THE BOURNE SUPREMACY," Bourne is happily trying to live a nice, peaceful life with the girl he met in the first film, but his contentment is thrown asunder when a dangerous assassin shows up to kill both of them. When tragedy follows, Bourne utilizes his rediscovered skills to exact vengeance and to try ending the dilemma he's in once and for all.  Director Paul Greenglass (UNITED 93)takes over the reigns here, and while this reviewer finds "BOURNE SUPREMACY" to be the least favorite of the trilogy, the action scenes are terrific, and the entire atmosphere is unique and compelling throughout. Again, the only disappointment comes in the final moments, wherein the mystery Bourne uncovers feels confusing in respect to the other films' endings.  Greenglass proves that the "BOURNE" films can have different directors at the reign and still achieve a generally similar feel, while still offering  unique styles to individual films, akin to what the "BOND" series tried to do, but not nearly as well.

"THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM" is this reviewer's favorite. It's also, arguably the best script of the three, due to the incredible talent of Tony Gilroy(MICHAEL CLAYTON). While it ties in perfectly with the previous films, it also stands flawlessly on its own, so viewers can thoroughly enjoy this one, having no knowledge of the others in the series!  Greenglass starts the film off with a fury, and the pace is so gripping that it should stand the test of time as one of the most tense action-thrillers of all time, decades from now.  This is also the first of the three films, wherein an underlying "CIA" conspiracy feels the most realistic, in relation to their motives, risky decisions, and in resolving the deepest mysteries behind how "JASON BOURNE" came into being! 

UNIVERSAL has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for all three films, with the 1080p/VC-1 encoding over dual layer BD-50 blu-rays.  While colors are often pushed to the limits, and generally solid in "THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM," they're still subdued in comparison to the other films.  Contrast is decent, but not up there with the best UNIVERSAL blu-ray releases, providing less detail in the darkest scenes, than we'd prefer, although notably better than on dvd.  Detail is impressive in most scenes, save for a few of the darker ones, and there are enough "jump-off-the-screen" type moments of depth, to rank this up there with the better blu-ray transfers, although short of reference quality. UNIVERSAL has provided DTS-HD Master Audio for all three films. The mix to "BOURNE ULTIMATUM" is notably better than the hd-dvd's Dolby Digital Plus mix and the dvd Dolby Digital mix, with deeper bass and more pronounced discrete effects. The score is perfectly balanced with the dialogue and effects. It's a great mix, although not as aggressive as the ones offered in the other films of the series. Action scenes fare the best of all, but even quieter moments have a nice sense of ambient effects.

"THE BOURNE SUPREMACY" starts off with breath-taking imagery and comparable detail. Colors are vibrant, and the exotic locations have the jump-off-the-screen effect one hopes for with blu-ray. The rest of the film varies in quality, often impressive, but with colors being subdued at times. Fleshtones vary as well, sometimes becoming notably unnatural. Some of the darker scenes lack the fine detail offered throughout the majority of the film, due to less than inky blacks. Still, the image offers enough depth to impress, while still not close to reference quality.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is more aggressive than in the previous film. Surrounds kick in with great impact and the bass manages to be thunderous, while dialogue is still perfectly intelligible. Discrete and panning effects are prominent in many scenes, but, of course the car chase sequence near the film's ending ranks this mix up there with the best!

"THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM" offers the best image quality of the trilogy. While colors are intentionally under-saturated in spots, due to the gritty, cool atmosphere of many locations, every single scene offers flawless detail.  While grain is prominent, it's necessary for the gritty atmosphere sought by the director, and never feels intrusive.  Contrast is excellent, providing consistent depth in the darkest scenes.  This is "REFERENCE QUALITY!"

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix stands up there with the best available. Aggressive from beginning to end, the incredibly effective score sneaks up, grabs hold and doesn't let go! Discrete, panning and bass effects are seamlessly blended in one of the most engaging, immersive and thoroughly entertaining listening experiences that any home theater can provide. Even the most subtle effects add a unique sense of detail here. BRAVO!

All of the extras, including commentaries, deleted scenes and featurettes, offered on the previous HD-DVDs and special edition dvds, have been included here by UNIVERSAL, so, thankfully, the studio didn't neglect to offer as thorough a collection as possible.  Some may be disappointed these aren't provided in anything but standard resolution, but nothing's lost, as they weren't offered in any other resolution on previous versions either. 

UNIVERSAL has included some great Blu-ray exclusives, including their U-CONTROL picture-in-picture and promotional materials, allowing for full HD, as well as BD-LIVE extras!