Friday 26 August 2016

Bourne Again

I was home sick from work today, so that means that I had the whole day free for blogging, but on the other hand I was home sick from work so I wasn't exactly jumping up and down to do anything even moderately creative, and forming cohesive sentences was just not an option. Given that there's nothing holding me to this silly Blaugust thing but my own compulsive behaviour, I was planning on just skipping the day and waiting to see if anyone noticed, but as the clock approaches 11pm on the 26th of August with just 5 days left in the challenge my brain slipped into stubborn mode and refused to be beaten, so here we are, looking for a blog topic that I could smash something out about with short notice.

So I did what I always do in such situations and go looking for handy prompts, and stumble across Shaun's prompts from earlier in the week. What's my job like? Well I didn't go today so I really couldn't comment. What do I do when I can't think of a topic? I go looking for helpful prompts, thanks for that. What Simpsons references have I discovered lately? Honestly its been so long since I've watched yellow humans walking around I don't think I even remember any Simpsons references, or the ones that I do are from Naruto Abridged. So, that was a dead end...

Next, I head over to the Blaugust anook group that I've been neglecting this last few weeks as I've struggled to find time, and I notice that one of my fellow Blaugustines has been reviewing films every day this month. Now that's something I could do! Heck, I've even seen some films lately. I could do that. Man, I even went to cinema and saw something on a big screen for once! With popcorn and everything! Ok, topic selected, let's do get some popcorn and get this post on the road.

I went to see Jason Bourne, the next edition to the never-ending action franchise with a couple of mates, as it seemed like the sort of film that Mrs. Owl was unlikely to resent me seeing without her (we're still waiting for Finding Dory, is that still on?). I was slightly concerned that since I'd seen the first three films maybe once each and the fourth one not at all that I'd miss some of the nuance of what I'd kind of expected would be a classy action flick with a little bit of a brain. I needn't have been worried, as the necessary back story was quickly gone through, viz. Jason Bourne is still in hiding from the CIA, who are kind of scared of him. That's it. When a former agent hacks their files (conveniently labelled 'Black Ops' so that the audience can be sure), it's a race between Bourne and the CIA to get their hands on them. With as many implausible chase scenes and disposable faceless agents as possible.

I remember Matt Damon saying back in 2007 (thanks Wikipedia) that he had no plans to make another Bourne film, as he'd "ridden that horse as far as he could", and I can't help wish that he'd stayed out of the saddle. It's not to say that Damon gives a poor performance here, but the overarching plot is bland, made up of a bunch of generic set-pieces connected by increasingly inplausible and poorly-explained segues; and the technology, supposedly the bit where Bourne films really excel, was just laughable.

The attempts to make it politically relevant by talking about government surveillance and individual rights, particularly in the realm of social media, were promising. Given that I saw this one on the weekend of the ill-fated Australian census and the resulting social media cascade I would have been receptive to some interesting points on either side of the issue, but none were forthcoming, sadly that sub-plot was only introduced to be shoved aside as if by an armed assailant in a crowded hotel.

It was a fine film for a generic action blockbuster, but with the Bourne name behind it (and maybe with the rose-tinted glasses of nostalgia) I was expecting a spy film, and those two things are really quite different beasts. Once again my judgement was hampered by having faulty expectations going in. I think I actually quite enjoyed it for what it was, but what is there to so about an action film except that it has action in it? I guess it's just not my genre, give me a John le Carre film with most twists and turns than the Italian country town it's set in, and we'll talk.

This film is perfectly made for where it will eventually end up (and where I recommend you bother seeing it), running in the Saturday night movie slot on Channel Seven every couple of years between seasons of James Bond. It's a fine thriller, with fights and tense moments galore, but it was perfectly forgettable, which is exactly what you want in a film you're going to see again next time it's on TV.

Blaugust Writing Prompts
1) What's your favourite cerebral movie?
2) How do you ignore your preconceptions and enjoy things on their merits?
3) Got a good recipe for something hearty, maybe with chicken?

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