The Bourne Trilogy (Dual-format)

After being pulled from the sea with two bullets in his back, Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) awakens on a fishing boat with no memory of his involvement in a top-secret, black-ops arm of the CIA called Treadstone. The only clue to his identity is the number of a Swiss safe-deposit box in which he discovers an array of passports, weapons, and cash. As he struggles to unlock the secret of his own identity, Bourne has to deal with his past in order to ensure his own future.

Based on the popular book by Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Identity launched a highly successful film franchise that spawned two sequels, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. All three movies offer non-stop action, extraordinary chase sequences, and a myriad of questions that beg to be answered. Who is Jason Bourne? What is Treadstone? Why has Bourne been targeted for termination?

Each film has a gritty look with a heavy layer of grain—just how they looked on the previously released box set. The image looks a bit harsh and less realistic because of the intentionally heightened contrast, which also skews the color palette. Black levels vary between the films—the first is not as inky as the last—but the detail in all three is excellent, and there's nothing much to complain about overall.

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtracks all impress, but the third installment is the best of the three in this regard, with an extremely impressive soundstage and a plethora of discrete effects. Dialog intelligibility is excellent, even in the most silent passages, and the engaging soundtrack draws you into the picture. The robust LFE channel allows you to feel the impact of every punch, kick, and gunshot. Soundtracks like this make watching an action film all the more enjoyable.

Each disc boasts an impressive array of supplements with behind-the-scenes featurettes, deleted scenes, director commentaries, and PIP enhancements. In addition, all feature BD-Live functionality with scene sharing and a strategy game that is painfully slow to load (a common problem with most BD-Live features).

Premiering as individually packaged Blu-ray discs, Universal is releasing each film as a dual-format disc containing both a Blu-ray and DVD version of the film on the same disc. The studio released many HD DVDs on a similar format, something that wasn’t initially available with Blu-ray. Craig Kornblau, President of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, states “Universal’s flipper discs are the perfect way for consumers to future-proof their collections while still enjoying their favorite movies on their existing DVD players. The flipper disc offers and easy way for viewers to convert to Blu-ray now or at any time in the future.”

While the concept of a flipper disc makes perfect sense, I’m not sure the marketplace wants them. Last year Disney started offering a DVD copy of movies with its children’s Blu-ray titles, which is probably much cheaper to produce than a flipper. Additionally, you’ll need to keep a magnifying glass near your player in order to determine which side of the disc is Blu-ray versus DVD. The market will ultimately decide whether the Blu-ray buying public is clamoring for flipper discs, so if you currently don’t own these films on Blu-ray or DVD, you’ll get the best of both worlds with the new SKUs.

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Release Date: January 19, 2010

The Bourne Identity
Movie: 8/10
Picture: 9/10
Sound: 9/10

The Bourne Supremacy
Movie: 7/10
Picture: 9/10
Sound: 9/10

The Bourne Ultimatum
Movie: 10/10
Picture: 9/10
Sound: 10/10

Review System

Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player

JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)

Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner

M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer

Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector

Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics