Universal's The Bourne Legacy is now available on Blu-Ray and DVD, and the home version is a worthy translation of a great major motion picture. What do you get inside the Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack edition?
For those who missed the August theatrical release, Bourne Legacy is a film that stands well on its own merits while also expanding the scope of the successful franchise. It doesn't snub the previous Bourne films; rather, it establishes a compelling new hero and his story parallel to previous events, while leaving the door wide open for convergence at a later date.
As super-agent Aaron Cross, Jeremy Renner proves why he's earned two Oscar nominations, while fellow award nominee Edward Norton chews up the scenery as his opposite number, retired Air Force officer Eric Byer. (Perhaps the biggest missed opportunity in the film is that there's so much more to explore with Norton's character that just doesn't have a place in the movie, resulting in a performance that fits perfectly within the picture, but leaves you wanting even more.)
There are certain concessions to this being a big-budget studio picture, but overall, Bourne Legacy is a welcome addition to the series. (For my full review of the film from August, click here.)
Is the combo pack edition worth your money? Absolutely. First and foremost, the transfer of the film itself is very good. It's not perfect, but it certainly stacks up to the original presentation with rare exception. Colors are bright and details often astounding. (If you've ever wanted to count pores on someone's forehead, now you can.) Even better is the audio, which is crisp and clear without trying to blow your speakers out. As far as transfers go, this is almost like replicating the theatrical experience.
Five of the nine bonus features for Bourne Legacy are exclusive to Blu-Ray, not counting the digital assets. These include an 'Enter Aaron Cross' feature which focus on Renner's stepping into the franchise, another one on the supporting characters, a third film about Legacy's various locations, and a really fascinating look at how one of the movie's Aaron-versus-wolf sequence was put together. (As intriguing as that is, watching the accompanying minute of test footage with a stuffed animal stand-in is equally hilarious.)
Turning to features available on both Blu-Ray and DVD, the feature commentary track features all the Gilroys who worked on the flick - director/co-writer Tony, co-writer Dan and editor John - as well as second unit director (and well-known stunt guru) Dan Bradley, director of photography Robert Elswit, and production designer Kevin Thompson. As such, this is more a commentary for people who are interested in the details of moviemaking.
It's a disappointment that there's no such track with any of the actors, who could carry such a thing - this interview of Renner, Weisz, Norton and Tony Gilroy by Charlie Rose is particularly interesting - but given their undoubtedly busy schedules it's not a surprising omission.
The other two major pieces are a featurette covering the massive chase sequence that makes up the film's climax, and another that covers the construction of a Bourne franchise movie without the title character involved. There are also a handful of deleted scenes, and it's obvious why they were removed.
Finishing out the set are the usual digital bonuses: an Ultraviolet digital copy, a digital copy for iTunes, Windows Media or Amazon Instant Video, BD-live capability, and a 'Pocket Blu' app for your smartphone.
Universal really covers all their bases with this release, including special features that tackle everything you'd expect to see. Unfortunately, all of the featurettes are less than ten minutes long, which is efficient but means they don't dig into their topics as much as they could. Like Norton's character Byer, what's here is great, but there's some untapped potential here.
There are several other versions of Bourne Legacy for those interested in minor exclusives: the Best Buy edition has a bonus disc with an extra half-hour of behind the scenes material and the Target copy arrives in a steelbook case. Neither are that impressive to warrant a double dip, however.
Fans of Bourne Legacy will not only be pleased but impressed by this home version, which is just a few little omissions away from being everything a movie buff could ask for. Those who missed the film in theaters or were on the fence about it should give this one a rental - if you're not won over by the caliber of the film itself, you'll definitely be impressed by the audio-visual experience. This is a title that belongs on the holiday wish-list.
The Bourne Legacy Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack is now available via Amazon and all other movie retailers.
(c)2012 Brittany Frederick. Appears at Starpulse with permission. All rights reserved. No reproduction permitted.