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Bourne Ultimatum


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#1 King J Greenspon

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 01:31 PM

Was anyone else disappointed and annoyed with the camera work in the Bourne Ultimatum? I mean, I really enjoyed the movie, but almost every single shot was handheld and incredibly shaky. My eyes had to work overtime to try and take all the information in. Even shots that could've been executed with sticks were intentionally shaky and jarring. To me, this seems like a cheat. If you can't create suspense with plot, character and action, why cheat by creating the suspense with shaking the camera? Of course, there are always times when the shaky camera is called for (the running scene in Rosetta, the beginning of Saving Private Ryan), but through an entire movie with a huge budget?? On the other hand, the lighting was wonderful. I've no complaints about that. The flashbacks (done in the style of The Limey - but not as extreme) were especially pleasing. (By the way, does anyone know how the flashback effect is executed in The Limey?). The pop zooms were jarring also. They took me out of the narrative and reminded me I was watching a movie. Of course, I know all these decisions were made purposefully. I just disagree with them.

All this said, I did really enjoy the film. I just think Garrett Brown would be as horrified as I was. Thoughts??????

Sincerely,

King J. Greenspon
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#2 Jason Maeda

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 03:34 PM

the bourne supremecy, or whatever #2 was called, suffered from the same thing. when a director and dp dont know where to put the camera they tend to move it around like crazy. cheap cop-outs like this will never change and will never be effective.

bourne identity (#1) was a really great action film and it was very confident in its direction and shot selection. im sorry to hear that this latest film is yet another failed attempt to capture the great modernist simplicity of the original.

jk :ph34r:
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#3 Justin Hayward

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 05:30 PM

They?re probably a little more organized than that. Even though the camera is flying all over the place, it still manages to land on whoever has a line of dialogue or any other important piece of information.

I didn?t understand why he told that guy he was in his office. He could have just walked right out of there. And, is it just me, or are all the ?assets? just Zoolander male model assassins?
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#4 King J Greenspon

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 05:54 PM

He told that guy he was in his office to let him know that Bourne knew he was lying. As in, "I'm smarter than you and I know that you were stupid enough to go to that meeting site." As for the second thing, did you ever see Alien Resurrection? Good looking people will always dominate the screen. Even if they can't act.

As for them knowing what they were doing ("being more organized"), I'm sure they did it on purpose. But I still think it's a cheap cheat. The Bourne Identity had great camera moves, as did director Doug Liman's Mr. & Mrs. Smith. These guys are just trying to put the "NYPD Blue" documentary style into major action films. It brings more "immediacy" to the action. But using it the entire movie, even in extreme close-ups and shot-reverse shots is overdoing it.

;)
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#5 Max Jacoby

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 07:36 PM

I haven't seen 3 yet, but I'm with Jason, I also think that 1 is really well directed (especially the scene where he escapes from that building by climbing along the outside, with the snow), while 2 is just shaky camera. I think 'United 93' was much better directing job than Bourne 2.
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#6 Jason Maeda

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Posted 04 August 2007 - 10:30 PM

"is it just me, or are all the ?assets? just Zoolander male model assassins?"

that's really funny!

btw max, that's so weird you said that because that's always the scene i think about when i remember that film. some of the better samurai films share this same discipline and well-crafted artistry.

jk :ph34r:
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 03:30 AM

If you can't create suspense with plot, character and action, why cheat by creating the suspense with shaking the camera? Of course, there are always times when the shaky camera is called for (the running scene in Rosetta, the beginning of Saving Private Ryan), but through an entire movie with a huge budget??
I just think Garrett Brown would be as horrified as I was. Thoughts??????

Sincerely,

King J. Greenspon

So it's OK if YOU like it, but not OK if you don't? It's alright to dislike something, but don't say that a certain style or technique is OK in one movie and not another. Handheld was "called for" by the director in all of your examples, not by a script. At least Paul Greengrass is directing and doing things the way he wants. Some directors don't have an opinion, much less an original idea.
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#8 Tim Partridge

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 04:45 AM

I've not seen any of the Bourne movies (although strangely I have seen the window climb scene from the first movie). However, I did see SUNDAY by Paul Greengrass when that debuted on TV and thought he was one to look out for. I certainly didn't think he would ever be accepted by Hollywood. So he ditches the substance and keeps the hyper verite thing (which was an appropriate gimmick for SUNDAY, also shot entirely in avilable light, unlike the later Greengrass movies). Shame all his talent has amounted to is some sequels starring Matt Damon and a 9/11 cash-in.

Check out SUNDAY- it's really good. Credit to DOP Ivan Strasburg (strangely he doesn't seem to work with Greengrass anymore).
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#9 Max Jacoby

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 05:54 AM

and a 9/11 cash-in.

Have you seen 'United 93'? I thought it was a very well made film and it certainly didn't feel like a cash-in. It was very balanced with its depiction of the various characters (including the terrorists).
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#10 Tim Partridge

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 10:46 AM

Have you seen 'United 93'?


I'm not really into all that commercial bumpf of yours, Max. ;)

I remember hearing that Greengrass was prepping a movie adaption of the WATCHMEN comic book for a while too. Again, unexpected move so soon after SUNDAY.
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#11 Max Jacoby

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 02:12 PM

I'm not really into all that commercial bumpf of yours, Max. ;)

Ah you know, I just can't help myself, I just love that Hollywood stuff.
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#12 chuck colburn

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 02:30 PM

B U Should be PU. Most God awful camera work I've ever seen.
Can't figure out why that Barf Cam style is so popular. First time I remember it was in some cop show from the early eighties. We would watch it and laugh are asses off at how bad it was. Some things and some people just won't die.
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#13 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 02:37 PM

B U Should be PU. Most God awful camera work I've ever seen.
Can't figure out why that Barf Cam style is so popular. First time I remember it was in some cop show from the early eighties. We would watch it and laugh are asses off at how bad it was. Some things and some people just won't die.

You know, a lot of people worked hard on this movie to give the director the look he wanted. You may not like it, but I don't think they need to die or be insulted for their hard work.
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#14 Jason Maeda

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 06:22 PM

brad, of course you are correct; it does take a lot of people and hard work to put together a big hollywood film. i for one share your empathy with and respect for these craftsmen and women. on the other hand, we are here to critique these films honestly, so - without calling for people to die, or otherwise being unnecessarily rude - we must be allowed the opportunity to voice our opinions, negative as well as positive.

jk :ph34r:
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#15 chuck colburn

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 07:03 PM

The "thing" I want to die is that barf cam style of shooting. The "people" I want to die are not the crew of that movie but others that would end me up in jail if I used their names.
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#16 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 07:55 PM

Just saw the movie and liked it, but I wished the shakey cam style had be reserved for just the action/suspense scenes, not wall-to-wall.

Funny thing is, I just saw "The Taking of Pelham 1,2,3" at Film Forum -- which has a documentary style, but not a lot of handheld. Owen Roizman's naturalistic work was top-notch, very Cinema Verite. And the script was very clever.
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#17 Jason Maeda

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Posted 05 August 2007 - 10:58 PM

yeah that's a nice film...from a better time for hollywood.

jk :ph34r:
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#18 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 05:24 PM

on the other hand, we are here to critique these films honestly, so - without calling for people to die, or otherwise being unnecessarily rude - we must be allowed the opportunity to voice our opinions, negative as well as positive.

jk :ph34r:

Oh, I agree. We're all basically here to voice our opinions after all. But many people like to be Monday morning quarterbacks without actually furthering any discussion or debate. They just say it's god awful and they want them to die. Not exactly productive, and certainly disrespectful.
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#19 King J Greenspon

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 09:03 PM

So it's OK if YOU like it, but not OK if you don't? It's alright to dislike something, but don't say that a certain style or technique is OK in one movie and not another. Handheld was "called for" by the director in all of your examples, not by a script. At least Paul Greengrass is directing and doing things the way he wants. Some directors don't have an opinion, much less an original idea.


I wasn't trying to say that anything was OK or not. I was just trying to voice my disappointment in the use of shaky handheld through the entire movie. Even though I'm not a fan of the style in general, I do think it has great use in extreme action/suspense sequences. However, in my opinion, in this movie it was entirely overused - the extreme close-ups, the over the shoulder shots. I agree whole-heartedly with what David Mullen wrote. I'm not trying to bad mouth Paul Greengrass. I thought United 93 was one hell of a film. I thoroughly enjoyed both Bourne sequels. There are a lot of hacks out there and I don't think he's one of them. I was just trying to put my opinion out there.

King
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#20 Justin Hayward

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Posted 06 August 2007 - 10:12 PM

I wished the shakey cam style had be reserved for just the action/suspense scenes, not wall-to-wall.


But isn?t it more original to not reserve the style for only the action scenes? It?s the same as using hand-held for the most non-dynamic scenes? Like at the end of Blade Runner when Harrison Ford picks up the unicorn? tin foil thing?

It makes the whole movie more dynamic.

Trouble is, most of the time a filmmaker shows a strong style, it?s only other filmmakers that criticize. And not because they really dislike the stuff, but mostly because they notice it, and want the rest of us to notice they notice it.
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