"Note: Since combining all 3 movies into one review will take me over the character limit, there are two options you can take. 1) you can read this shorter overview of the box set as a whole. Or 2) you can read the reviews for the individual flipper releases that are much more detailed in terms of movie, video, audio, and extras ratings.
Movie - 4.5
The Bourne franchise is a very entertaining and gritty entry that re-infuses a lot of what was missing in the spy/thriller genre. It has just the right mix of conspiracy, politics, action, drama, romance, and a personal enough narrative to keep audiences empathizing for one Jason Bourne. In Identity, we're introduced to Bourne and given a mystery to solve; who is he, how did he come to end up where he is, and where will he go from there to find out the rest? In Supremacy, he's established something of an Identity, but still has a long way to go. In the process of finding himself he loses something very dear to him and seeks vengeance as a result. However, in his pursuit he discovers more of his past and realizes that it's a very dark one. And through this discovery he decides to redeem himself as well as go after the persons he feels are responsible for this constant cycle of killing. And finally, Ultimatum is the culmination of it all where the pieces come together: Bourne finds out who he really is, discovers the system of conditioning behind this government conspiracy, tracks it down to the origin, and comes to terms with himself for who he is and what he's become at that point. This series of films is successful thanks in huge part to the acting talents of Matt Damon, whom I've personally doubted, but have since been a fan of after seeing The Departed. Doug Liman and Paul Greengrass also do excellent jobs in directing their respective films. As an overarching storyline, the narrative has a very good flow of progression and is recommended that when you watch these films you try to do so within a short or consecutive amount of time to get the full effect of the plot.
Video - 4.5
As with the films themselves from a writing standpoint, the video also has a certain level of progression. Identity, while still very good, is probably the worst of the three. Colors, black levels, and contrast all look excellent, but the overall image tends to suffer from various amounts of noise and occasional instances of artifacting and debris. The little specks aren't as prevalent as some older catalog titles, but for a BD presentation on such a great film, it can be distracting at times. Subsequently, Supremacy gets better and looks much richer in terms of everything else, minus the debris. Image detail is notably much sharper and tends to reveal some of the finer qualities within the picture. The only slight inconsistencies one might point out as detractors, though, are some noisier scenes in the dark and possibly some excessive bits of color saturation during the shots in India. But on the flip side, Ultimatum looks as pristine as can be. All of the aforementioned video elements are stunning, and much of the photography is preserved to perfection resulting in a reference level picture. A nice theatrical layer of film grain is present through all three films, but in my opinion, really accentuates the gritty nature of the franchise best via Ultimatum's video transfer. Just know that what you're getting is a good representation of progression, not just in story, but also video-wise.
Audio - 5.0
While the video has to improve throughout each movie, the audio, on the other hand, is excellent from the start. Again, Identity appears as the weakest of the bunch, but only so slightly. And it's not even a question of the transfer, but a result of the overall sound design in general. Each film has a particularly great sense of musical immersion thanks to John Powell's enthralling score. The whirring effect in Identity and the pounding drums throughout Supremacy and Ultimatum are sure to get viewers into the films' plots and make for some adventurous movie-watching. Sound effects are also very well-handled. Background chatter, city noise, car engines, feet shuffling, water drops, flying paper, and all sorts of commotion fill the sound scape enveloping the viewer within the world of Jason Bourne. And that's just without all the action sequences. Punches, kicks, whacks, thuds, crunches, gunshots, crashing vehicles, shattering glass, and heavy breathing dominate when they should, but never overwhelm. Dialogue, a more integral piece to the films, is also spot-on and suffers no dropout or distortion from the center channel. But in terms of directionality and separation, all three films exert these elements extremely well through the front and side speakers, and even more so in the second and third installments. LFEs aren't a very big part of the overall sound design, but really make their mark when the occasional explosion and car chase wreck occurs. However, bass is especially prominent in the music and does a great job keeping things balanced. These movies (aside from maybe Identity) are easily reference material.
Extras - 4.5
Each film comes with the usual kind of goodies: director's commentary, making-of featurettes, and a very informative background on Robert Ludlum, his writing career, and the sad fact that he passed away before the first film ever came out. But with that said, what interviews there are of him are a joy to watch. His demeanor is very friendly, and just from watching him, you get this sense that he really liked what he did as a writer and probably would've loved these films a lot had he ever gotten a chance to see them. But the coolest feature, I feel, is the inclusion of U-Control. Throughout each movie, U-Control allows the viewer to "control" this feature of looking up and accessing these dossier-type profiles on the characters, events, and other elements of the film. It's like being a spy with some omniscient supercomputer that lets you learn all kinds of trivia about the franchise as a whole. I personally think it's a very cool gimmick and very befitting of the Bourne series.
Overall - 4.5
If you've already seen and know the Bourne films, then there's probably not much else to be said. Universal did a splendid job transferring these movies from HD-DVD to BD. Not that I have experience in the former, but technical specs alone should speak for themselves. A higher bit rate, DTS-HD MA track, and U-Control feature for each title should me more than enough to satisfy fans of the franchise. But on the downside, this box set can be pretty expensive. So unless you're lucky enough to get Best Buy Rewards Zone gift cards during a sale on the box or are willing to partake in some potentially defective flipper discs, you can also order the UK box set (region free) from Amazon UK for about $30 shipped. I personally can't stand their age ratings on the covers, though. But if aesthetics aren't a problem, go for it. In any case, The Bourne Trilogy is an excellent effort in film-making with either reference or near-reference quality for every film and comes highly recommended to fans of the spy/thriller genre."
A note on the packaging
Thunderhead22 | Decatur, GA USA | 01/28/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I couldn't figure out how to open this set. I was tugging on the sides. Then I tried to slip the case off vertically. I was on the verge of forcing open the box when I decided to google the set, hoping to see something about the packaging scheme since there is no clear indication as to how to open it. Before you force this thing open, take note: The cover image of Matt Damon is a magnet. It flips open to the left, allowing access to the discs. Enjoy."
Nothing fancy just the movies
Marcus.Caesar. | Ohio | 11/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The box set is nothing fancy, 3 Bourne movies with few bonus material on each disk. I like it since I love the movies. If you are looking for hours of extra content, packaged in a beautiful looking folded up box set, also containing posters or picture arts, this is not it."
Excellent Triolgy - The Set Makes The Story Even Better!
Amazon Fan! | 12/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While I never read the books I really enjoyed each of the Bourne movies. The story is intriguing and the action exciting. Not a mindless "shoot-em-up" flick, the storyline will keep you engaged.
The DVD set has the movies, of course, but I really enjoy the extras on each DVD. The technical aspects, such as how some of the scenes were done, is fascinating. But also the rationale behind some of the choices made by the director, etc. is interesting.
Watching each film in sequence, and not separated by years waiting for the next "installment", I caught a number of subtle elements I had previously missed. Things like that make it even more enjoyable. I'm now more impressed with the story (screenplay) itself.
Because of the intensity of the storyline, it's great to watch as you run on a treadmill! Motivating - as you connect with the character. I find myself running longer since I'm don't want to stop in the middle of a chase scene or a fight scene. To me, that's a plus.
But, hey, it's also fun for "sit-on-the-couch-and-forget-about-your-day" situations. Another plus.
Buy the set and enjoy how the movie links to the book. Like I mentioned, I hadn't read them but the DVD helps point out the choices made. In fact, I'm likely to read the books now and compare - since Amazon has them as well (at great prices).
And that's what makes it a positive experience - value. The Amazon price is tough to beat!
And I received mine before the promise date - another plus for Amazon. "
Lots of extras
biogeek | 09/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps the people who said this disc set has no extras haven't actually looked at the back of the DVD cases. Each movie has a lot of bonus material that is quite interesting. There is feature commentary with the director, interviews with cast members, deleted scenes, fight sequence planning, driving school, going on location, and lots of other really cool stuff (too much for me to write it all down here). If you are interested in how these movies were made you will really enjoy all of the bonus features."