View Full Version : Bourne Supremacy - handheld ad nauseam
07-23-2004, 08:01 PM
Saw this tonight, wasn't very impressed with it. The first one was much better. The thing that caught my attention though were the handheld shots, and I'm not exagerating here, probably 90+% of movie was shot handheld. And not just normal handheld, but overly handheld. They exagerated all the movements, everything was blurred from all the movement, it really took away from the (few) fight scenes they had as you couldn't tell what was going on. The car chase scene was also a total blur form all the movement.
Don't get me wrong, I'm glad haldheld type footage is now the hip thing to do. But it was overly used in this movie and took a lot away from it IMHO. That and the lackluster and predictable plot made me come away from it very disappointed.
07-23-2004, 09:35 PM
yeah I caught that tonight too. I rented Greengrass's last indie film. (Bloody Sunday) and that was pretty handheld to. so I knew going into it that this was the way it would swing. maybe no one every showed him a steadycam. the story was good though but a mix of the talkers next to me and the shaky handheld got to me by the end of the flick
07-24-2004, 07:45 AM
I can't believe the critics like this movie.
Sure the acting is very good, the story is decent, and the script was solid. But yikes--the cinematography was terrible.
Good cinematography can make a bad movie somewhat watchable. This is a visual medium, and what we see makes a difference. A good example I seem to recall was 2010: A Space Oddessy. In every way a terrible sequel to the Kubrick masterpiece, but some of the space shots were absolutely gorgeous.
I have never encountered a movie so potentially good as The Bourne Supremacy that was so completely ruined by the director or DP (not sure who to blame). I wish I would have been told the truth about this film before blowing $20 last night to take my wife to it.
To make matters even worse, we sat in row 2 of a 1,000 seat theater in the Chicago suburbs. I should have bought a bucket of dramamine tablets rather than popcorn. The thing was so completely disorienting that I had a hard time relating to any of the story. I just found myself praying "oh, please let them lock off the next shot so my eyes can take a breather!"
Handheld can be cool in certain contexts on specific scenes. Using it for every single shot? Man. I was beginning to wonder if there wasn't a Bogen/Manifrotto strike in Hollywood when this stinkburger was shot.
The best cinematography SUBLIMINALLY affects the viewer, communicating the passion, the revelance, the ethos of the story in a way most viewers are completely oblivious of. Not here. The camera is the star of this damn show, not Matt Damon, a far more deserving candidate, IMHO.
If you have to see this movie, rent it from Blockbuster. That way you can pause it from time to time and look at a still life painting for a few minutes to prevent the buzzy headache you'd get from seeing this thing uninterrupted on the big screen.
I have never been more disappointed in cinematography in my life. Absolutely shameful.
07-24-2004, 08:18 AM
actually..good audio can make a bad movie somehwhat good...people can forgive the image..but its the audio that makes or break a movie....then again this is a hollywood movie and hollywood movies usually always have good audio...so I guess the image would be somehwhat important in this case.
Anyways...unlike most of you I liked this movie. To me cinematography is important in any film EXCEPT action films. Ususally is action films...the story and acting is the most important...which was all good in this movie. I didn't understand some plot points in the movie, actually if it wasn't for my friend I wouldn't have understood anything. So I liked this movie but I liked the first one a little more (a little less confusing).
07-24-2004, 08:50 AM
Bart, I totally agree, although I thought the plot was a little shallow and predictable compared to the first one. The acting was very good, and it would have ended up being a much, much better movie if it wasn't for distracting, sickening handheld motion. When a locked down (or semi-locked down - they even moved the camera around on purpose even on tripods) I wanted to cheer, but before I could even start to it'd be back to the motion sickness.
This movie could have been shot on DV for all we know, due to the motion there's absolutely no details. With all the time and money they saved by shooting this thing handheld, they could have done better. What really gets my goat is that they over exagerated it on purpose. If you want the handheld look, fine, just shoot handheld. But you can see the director standing there barking More motion! More motion! 20 degrees is not enough, make it 45 degrees! Grrrrrrr.
07-24-2004, 01:30 PM
I am not usually a harsh critic, but this really got me mad.
I pray this thing bombs and none of the other cutting-edge-director-wannabies decide to abuse us again.
In a total contrast to this, just last night I watched the first hour of "West Side Story" on DVD in glorious Cinemascope. Now THERE's a film shot by an artistic DP. Every element perfectly framed, every camera move lovingly orchestrated--the good ol' days, I fear...
Why use a $150,000 camera dolly/crane when you can give Ralph the Gaffer a four-shot mocha latte and have him handhold every take? Will Citizen Kane be replaced as directing icon by The Blair Witch Project? Have we entered the "Starbucks Age" of cinematography?
Heck, even the Blair movie wasn't as bad as Bourne.
07-24-2004, 01:57 PM
you all have to be kidding me....
you all hate the movie just because the cinematography wasn't to your tastes?
cinematography doesn't make a movie...the story does. And the story is great.
07-24-2004, 09:02 PM
The combination of *everything* is what makes a movie. *The story was difficult to enjoy because the cinematography detracted from the story. *Somewhere along the line--a faux cinema verite style shaky-cam became an acceptable technique. *The style is an affectation that was never acceptable or widespread even in documentary filmmaking. * It's just plain embarassing to watch because it broadcasts the director's paucity of ideas. My general observation is that if you're noticing the cinematography while you're watching a movie (for better or worse)--the film has problems.
07-24-2004, 09:08 PM
My wife and I saw this movie today (yesterday now), she fell asleep, and I felt like I had been in the car. I personally think the commercials covered the whole story, with about 70% of Matt Damon's lines.
Julia Stiles wasn't in the movie very long for all the publicity she did, how much did she get paid for that? I liked the movie, but it was shallow as was mentioned before and they overdid the handheld shots.
07-25-2004, 06:20 PM
I just got back and I really liked the story. I thought it was a well-made movie. I do think they did go a little over board with the hand held, but I still think it was a good flick.
07-26-2004, 02:50 AM
I haven't seen the movie yet but I'm amazed at how many "good story - horrible camera work" reviews there are everywhere, yahoo, etc (and so many from John Q Public who don't normally even mention technical items). I don't recall ever seeing a film get battered this hard for camera work, sounds like a wait-for-the-DVD movie.
I wonder if on set monitoring on smaller screens while shooting hid the drastic / erratic camera movement too much here and a DVD on an obviously smaller screen will forgive the director a bit.
07-26-2004, 03:00 AM
I wasn't impressed with the first one and didn't even bother with this one.
All the best
07-28-2004, 01:41 PM
Loved it! I will agree the hand held shots at the beginning were too much. But the car chase at the end was done very well. Made me feel like I was in the car.
07-28-2004, 03:44 PM
ok, get this, I saw i at the cine capri the day I left arizona (its the larget screen there) and I fell asleep
I dont know what happened, I avnt fallen asleep in a movie since i was a little kid, but it was overwhelming I couldnt keep my eyes open.
At this point im blaming the cinematography. All the hand held stuff isnt inherently bad, but i didn't appreciate it here, it combined with the editing was just to jarring and itself too noticable. The fact that many times I couldn't orient myself to what was going on and that every shot went in and out off focus, it just induced unconsiousnes, lol
I saw the car chase though and like it. It felt like, hear me out, a video game. Like, when u play GTA and ur running from the cops, u try not to hit anything, but u start slamming into everything. It seemed somehow more realistic. AND NOTHING BLEW UP! so those things made me happy.
As far as the rest of it, i cant say since i dont know what was going on, i was asleep
07-28-2004, 07:09 PM
Saw this movie the other night. I have the original on DVD so I was looking forward to seeing the sequel. The one thing that caught my attention was the shaky handheld camera work. I saw its purpose in some of the scenes but there were MORE scenes that just needed a STEDICAM. That hi speed chase scene was crazy. There seemed to be more action in the first one to me. I don't know if this movie fits in the same boat as Blair Witch with the shaky camera syndrome but it definitely was shaky!
08-02-2004, 04:19 PM
I saw the movie, and I was amazed how short the cuts were done. Soon, you'll just see movies that strobe each scene under a second. It wasn't just the handicam feel, which I did think was well don in some situations, it was the fact that the scenes were so short that I could barely catch what was in them. Maybe I'm getting old :D!
08-02-2004, 07:59 PM
no dude, thats what I'm saying, I couldnt make out what was on screen. u have 1 second to rasp whats in the frame while actions moving, that cameras shaking violently, plus it goes into and out of focus. WTF is that? yeah as I said, i personally think the editing was more at fualt the the DP.
08-05-2004, 04:49 AM
What we are experiencing is those raised on MTV, now working in Hollywood.
To me, it is a sure sign of an amateur.
You can't shoot MTV style and put it on the big screen, you just can't. People's eyes and stomachs can't handle it, and those that think it will work, don't know what they are talking about.
Static, slow crane dolly/tracking/stedicam moves are all you can do on the big screen....period.
I remember watching the trailer and the wild camera work for THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT and thinking "Well, I won't be seeing that movie".
08-09-2004, 05:20 AM
I finally saw this yesterday and I loved it. All the handheld was a bit annoying at first, but I got used to it and in the end I think it worked for this movie. I wouldn't have chosen to shoot so much handheld, but for this story, where the lead character is involved in a lot of action, and is also somewhat disoriented from trying to piece together his past, it works for me.
I was surprised that Julia Stiles was barely in it though. I wonder if she had a bigger role and maybe a lot of her scenes were cut.
08-27-2004, 09:06 PM
I FINALLY saw this film!
and i have to say it was great.
i loved the first.
as far as the shaky handheld everyone is talking about, i think they are over reacting. yes you do notice the movement but it fits the films style.
the only time i found it a bit hard to follow was in the first fight scene.
although i liked the first WAY more than the second, i thought this was well done considering they switched directors.
oh, i also dont watch mtv ;)
08-27-2004, 10:07 PM
I stopped watching MTV when they took the M out. *:-/
08-28-2004, 08:34 AM
you all have to be kidding me....
you all hate the movie just because the cinematography wasn't to your tastes?
cinematography doesn't make a movie...the story does. *And the story is great.
Wait a sec. This is Ludlum, right? Great story? He used a ghostwriter? Wha'?