The Bourne Identity (HD DVD) (2002)

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Released 4-Dec-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Menu Animation & Audio
Audio Commentary-Doug Liman (Director)
Featurette-The Ludlum Identity
Featurette-The Ludlum Supremacy
Featurette-The Ludlum Ultimatum
Music Video-Extreme Ways-Moby
Featurette-Making Of-The Birth of The Bourne Identity
Deleted Scenes
Alternate Ending-/Opening Scenes
Featurette-The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum
Featurette-Cloak And Dagger: Covert Ops
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Inside A Fight Sequence
Interviews-Cast & Crew-U-Control
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-U-Control
On-Screen Information Track-The Treadstone Files; GPS Tracker (U-Control)
Screen Saver
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 118:09
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Doug Liman

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Matt Damon
Franka Potente
Chris Cooper
Clive Owen
Brian Cox
Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje
Gabriel Mann
Julia Stiles
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $39.95 Music John Powell

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
French Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
German Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Catalan Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
Japanese Dolby Digital Plus 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In the dark, stormy seas, a deep-sea fishing vessel spots a man floating face-up in the ocean and the crew pulls him aboard. They're surprised to find him alive, but he has no means of identification (besides a couple of bullet holes in his back). After some quick surgery to remove the slugs, the man regains consciousness but is suffering complete amnesia - no recollection of the past whatsoever. What is his name? How did he come to be floating unconscious in the middle of the ocean? The only real clue he possesses lies in a tiny capsule that was removed from under his skin; a laser-light bearing the account numbers of a bank in Zurich.

    The Zurich code poses even more questions when it reveals access to a safety deposit box laden with multiple passports, currencies and other paraphernalia. Turns out his real name is Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) - but Jason is becoming very troubled the more he learns about his abilities. An innocent brush with the law exposes extremely efficient, violent tendencies. With the help of his new friend, Marie (Franka Potente), and some quick sleuthing of the box's contents, he's lead to his home in Paris. Clues at his home point to recent activity of him using an alternate identity to pursue Wombosi, a former Nigerian dictator who is doing a very good job of embarrassing the CIA. As Bourne searches for his identity, he must navigate through numerous twists and turns, as he discovers the identity of his former employer and attempts are made on his life at every turn.

    Director Doug Liman came from an indie filmmaking career to pull off a fantastic major-studio funded action-drama. The solid cast does go some way towards helping the believability factor with the first Bourne film, with stellar performances from Chris Cooper, Clive Owen and Julia Styles.

    VanessaA's HD DVD review of the second film in the series, The Bourne Supremacy, is well worth a read.

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Transfer Quality


Disclaimer: Please note that this disc has a video resolution of 1080p. It has been reviewed on a display device with a maximum native resolution of 720p. More information can be found here.

    The 1080p transfer maintains the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 within a native 16x9 frame.

    The image is beautifully sharp, with plenty of fine detail visible throughout. I found the suburban Paris scenes particularly sharp and detailed, with nice textures to be seen in distant architecture and brickwork.

    The Bourne Identity is a pretty dark film, with lots of action and drama taking place in the dimly-lit, shadowy evenings. I don't recall ever straining to make out what was happening on screen, and black levels do appear very deep when necessary. Shadow detail is particularly well handled in this transfer.

    The colour palette is slightly subdued for the majority of the film, but becomes rich and bold when appropriate. The bright closing scene is a good reference point for the strengths in the transfer.

    As you would expect for a relatively recent film, there isn't much bad news to report. The VC-1 encoded transfer is solid and doesn't exhibit a single hint of compression artefacting, which really surprises me considering the vast amount of extras included on the disc. Some very minor film artefacts are present in the form of specs of dust and dirt, but these are few and far between. Film grain is kept to an absolute minimum.

    An English subtitle stream is included and it does a reasonable job of translating the spoken word. Some subtitles are burned into the video stream for bursts of European dialogue that appear from time to time.

    This disc is dual-layered (HD-30).

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The film's original English soundtrack is included of course, presented in Dolby Digital Plus 5.1. A mix of other dubbed languages are available via the setup menu.

    The English dialogue is absolutely crystal clear and never obscured by effects or score. The film underwent extensive ADR looping during post production due to the conditions on the set (extreme cold numbing the faces of the cast). The ADR comes across completely seamless and natural. Audio sync is perfect.

    The surround channels are utilised for all manner of effects, from gunfire and passing vehicles to subtle atmospherics and street noise. This is exactly the kind of mix one would expect of an action film of this calibre. Voices are generally confined to the front centre channel.

    Although there are some traditional elements to be found, the score is unfortunately dominated by energetic, beat-laden electronica that adds a certain energy to the action sequences (the car chase in particular). On the downside, I have to say that this kind of music never dates well and will likely make the film a bit old hat within a decade. The soundtrack also features a contribution from Moby (he's a dead ringer for Karl Pilkington, and almost as bland).

    The subwoofer augments explosions and the like with suitable intensity.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    For a single-disc release, this is an exhaustive array of bonus content. It's difficult to judge whether this has had an adverse effect on the quality of the feature transfer, but it has to be said that the sheer volume of content they can fit onto these HD discs is impressive. All of the featurettes are non-widescreen, standard definition. The U-Control is the only HD-exclusive feature.


    A language select menu loads first, followed by the main menu. The menu design and navigation is completely generic, similar to many other Universal HD DVD titles.

Screen Saver

    A standard feature on Universal titles, the screen saver appears when the film is paused for a few minutes or the menu is left to rotate a number of times. The feature is also coded with the typical Universal progress bar that appears whenever the feature is paused or skipped.

U-Control (HD)

    When activated, the U-Control watermark appears alongside the film in the bottom right corner of the screen. The icon lights up whenever enhanced content is available, and this is displayed alongside the feature simultaneously. The viewer can skip directly to any of the U-Control featurettes via the Scenes menu.

Audio Commentary- Doug Liman (Director)

    Doug has a great passion for film and reveals a lot of detail about his style of filmmaking, covering the various locations that were used, the challenges in casting the film, as well as his admiration for the French crew he used on the film. He often relates the experiences he had during Bourne to his past films (most notably Swingers and Go). He details the various re-shoots that took place and explains the alternate ending that was made, and also points out any digital effects that were applied. This is an overall informative and worthwhile commentary.

Featurette- The Ludlum Identity (12:48)

    This featurette outlines the genesis of Ludlum's career as a writer, as well as his methods and habits. Ludlum came from a career in stage and theater and wrote his first novel at the ripe age of 40. He certainly sounds like an interesting chap.

Featurette- The Ludlum Supremacy (12:42)

    Following from the first part (above), part two covers the peak period of Ludlum's popularity in publishing and how he used his personal experience in the making of his stories. This featurette draws some unnecessary comparisons between Ludlum and the personality of his creation, Bourne. A bit silly, really.

Featurette- The Ludlum Ultimatum (24:48)

    Part three analyses Ludlum's dissatisfaction with the earlier attempts to bring Bourne the screen and how Doug Liman came to be involved. Liman's project was green-lit with the author's blessing, in fact, although Ludlum passed away before the film was complete he is given a production credit for his input into the film's development. This featurette also interviews Director Paul Greengrass, who helmed the second and third Bourne films.

Alternate Opening and Closing Sequences (10:46)

    This piece includes an introduction from the Director and producers, explaining why these were filmed and how they were intended to fit into the finished product. Like the first Spiderman film, is seems the events of 9/11 caused the producers to rethink and tinker with (read: tone down) Bourne's ending (unnecessarily, in my opinion). Thankfully, sanity prevailed. The alternate ending is pretty ordinary.

Deleted Scenes (6:58)

    There are four deleted sequences in total, mostly comprised of unnecessary plot revelations and character interaction, and are not missed in my opinion.

Extended Farmhouse Scene (0:58)

    A slightly longer introduction of the family who lives at the farm house, helping to build viewer empathy with the cute, young children.

Making-Of Featurette- The Birth of The Bourne Identity (14:31)

    An EPK-style, made for television piece that looks at the making of the film via interviews with cast and crew, covering the usual subjects of stunts and character development. Some portions of these interviews are duplicated in the U-Control featurettes, but the U-Control features are much more comprehensive and have less of a tabloid feel..

Featurette- The Bourne Mastermind: Robert Ludlum (5:43)

    While it is rather short, this piece offers some interesting facts about Ludlum for laymen like me. He was the author of a staggering 25 novels, all of them best sellers. It's an intriguing glimpse of the man who simply saw himself as a storyteller, although it does duplicate some of the material found in the Ludlum-focussed featurettes listed above.

Featurette- Access Granted: Interview with Screenwriter Tony Gilroy (4:03)

    Gilroy relates the challenges inherent in adapting a large, popular novel for the big screen, and shares his initial apprehensions when Damon was cast.

Featurette- From Identity to Supremacy: Jason & Marie (3:37)

    This is essentially a promo piece that introduces audiences to the sequel.

Featurette- The Bourne Diagnosis (3:25)

    A bona-fide psychiatrist validates the amnesia experienced by Bourne in the film.

Featurette- Cloak and Dagger: Covert Ops (5:31)

    A former CIA employee runs us through a normal working day of an operative and how factual the film really is, focusing on the film's action.

Featurette- The Speed of Sound (4:04)

    This piece concentrates on the film's sound design, specifically the elaborate car chase scene that was sonically constructed from scratch. At the end, we're directed to a menu that gives us nine isolated elements of the soundtrack (dialogue track, foley effects, background noise, etc.) that can be played separately. This is an interesting breakdown of the process, showing what elements go together to make up a soundtrack such as this.

Featurette- Inside a Fight Sequence (4:42)

    A glimpse behind the scenes at the fight sequence in the embassy being filmed.

Music Clip- Moby "Extreme Ways" (3:38)

    The bald fellow plays everything; guitar, drums, you name it. The energy of the video clip doesn't nearly match the stale, hum-drum repetition of the song, nor it's shallow vocal performance.

Theatrical Trailer (2:04)

    The film's US theatrical trailer has a focus on the action, but does the job.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This HD DVD edition is identical in content across the globe. The bookend scenes that were included as part of the very lame Explosive Extended Edition DVD are included here as extras. The HD DVD edition seems to gather together all of the substantial extras that have been released to date.


    The Bourne Identity is fantastic, intelligent, action-packed entertainment.

    The video transfer is great.

    The audio transfer is very good.

    The extras are fantastic, if a little bit repetitive.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba HD-D1, using HDMI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.

Other Reviews NONE
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Bite rate for Dolby Dig Plus - Pendergast (Why not take a look at my bio, you might think it stinks.)