The Bourne Identity (Jason Bourne, #1) The Bourne Identity discussion


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Best Spy novel and worst film adaptation ever

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message 1: by Kenny (last edited Jan 17, 2008 08:20AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kenny Really, there is zero hyperbole in that statement. God watching that movie after reading that book was the worst f'ing experience. Why doesn't the director just remake the Godfather and have Fredo replace Vito and open up a dousche selling factory while Michael settles down to be a family man and a maytag repair man?


Shannon (Giraffe Days) You watched the movie first? It has little to do with the book, I agree, and the second and third have even less resemblance. I liked The Bourne Identity (read it years ago now), but the next one was pretty silly. I gave up on Ludlum in the second or third Bourne novel, when the police cars are descending on a suspect's house with sirens blaring and one of them says to Bourne that they're taking him (the suspect) by surprise. I was so disgusted I never picked it up again.

Try the older movie version, the one from the 80s I think it is, it's much more faithful to the book - I saw it before reading the book and it didn't ruin it for me at all, which is a nice change :)


Brian There's a reason why the movie was so different from the book: People don't like boring movies.

Could you imagine people sitting still for a 10-minute explanation on what a fiche is and how it works?

Ludlom's brilliance was in creating Jason Bourne, not writing about him.

The movies were directed better than the books were written, but they stayed true to the character of Jason Bourne even as they changed the story that he's immersed in. It was a smart Hollywood move, and it yielded a very good movie that laid the foundation for a great movie trilogy.





Walter Ramsay As the old saying goes, "the movie will never represent the book that well." With few exceptions, this is true. I LOVE all the Bourne books. Read them all as well as Ludlum's early works years ago. I was excited when I heard the movies where done. But alas, you can never match the book.
However, if any one remembers, about 25 years ago there was an early adoption of the Bourne Identity done with the actor Richard Chamberlain. Now that was GOOD.


Prerak Well, i go with the topic...the MOVIE adaptation was REALLY PATHETIC...but the other two parts...Supremacy and Ultimatum were really MARVELLOUS movie adaptations


Rene It is a shame that they did not follow the book. They do reasonably so in the beginning but then they spoil the whole story by replacing it with a cheap Hollywood plot.
The second and third movie have to do nothing whatsoever with the books with the same titles. Apart from that, the books are far superior.


Christian It really depends about which movie we take here. The crappy version with Matt Daman that had nothing to do with the book, or the very close adaption starring Richard Chamberlain?


Alice I read this book the year it came out. I was somewhere in my mid 20's and at that point in time, at that age, I was on the edge of my seat. Like the 'Eiger Sanction', it was gripping. I knew the movie wouldn't come close.


Rene @Christian: I only saw the one that had hardly anything to do with the book. Didn't even know there is a better one!


Christian Rene wrote: "@Christian: I only saw the one that had hardly anything to do with the book. Didn't even know there is a better one!"

It's not really better only true to the book. I think it was produced as a 2 part tv movie (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094791/).
When I saw the movie with Matt Damon I was furious and sick. Furious due to the liberties the screen writer took to the subject (there was honestly no reason to call this the Bourne Identity) and sick due to the fast camera cuts. I think the fast cuts ruined the excellent fight scenes, since I couldn't follow them at all.


message 11: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Silkstone I thought I was the only one that vomited when they saw these movies.

The Bourne movies are the loosest interpretation of the Ludlum books ever. I was mortified when they made the bad guy a Russian former FSB guy and then they killed his GF. It is sacrilege to even put the name Bourne on these movies.

Jack Silkstone

PRIMAL Origin by Jack Silkstone
PRIMAL Origin


message 12: by Adam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Adam Ziarnik I like the books and the films - they have so little in common that one can enjoy them as separate stories, practically unrelated to each other. All they have in common are the titles, Bourne/Webb/Delta, Marie (though 1 film & a few minutes of the second one), and Conklin (although he dies in the first film, he is very much alive in all 3 books).

Tell you what though - I'm reading Ultimatum right now, and I'm sick & tired of seeing how Ludlum cannot possibly refer to Carlos without having to make some reference to "The Jackal". If the moniker appeared in Identity, then it must have only been once or twice. In Ultimatum he can't NOT use it. Sheesh!


message 13: by Bj (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bj Barbosa @ Walter Yes! the first movie was much better than this one with Matt Damon - I enjoyed it much more! And yes was made for TV I do believe. You almost need 2 movies to do this book justice.


message 14: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Silkstone Adam makes a good point. If you take away the label of Bourne the Matt Damon movies are pretty fun. Good, clean spy thriller fun!


message 15: by Durand (last edited Aug 23, 2011 07:06PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Durand D'souza Totally agree with Adam, I love the movies (Matt Damon rocks) and the books are cool too. Still fighting my way through the second book but I do like it...I understand why people don't like book films as they are almost never like the books. A movie can never be as detailed as a book so why bother trying? I'm actually glad that the film is different and refreshing (sort of...)

Plus, they beat the hell out of James Bond movies ;)


Richard The book is an outstanding spy drama/action story.

The recent movies are good but they are only thinly based upon the Ludlum books. If you want a REALLY GOOD video representation of the first book, you should rent/buy the TV mini-series that came out in 1988; assuming you can find it. It's very faithful to the book and while it is more of a drama than the recent movie, there is a good deal of action in it.


message 17: by Laura (last edited Sep 26, 2011 11:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Laura I hate how they make Bourne out to be one of the bad guys in the movie. Spoiler alert: In the book, he never was a real assassin. In the movie, he somehow makes a conversion after he loses his memory.
And the old tv version of the movie was typical 80s cheesy, but still much truer to the book than the Matt Damon movies.


message 18: by Eric (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eric I thought it was a great adaptation. But I'm one of those who thinks that people who want to adapt a movie need to read the source material, then ditch it and write the movie in their own words. IMO, faithfulness to the source material should not be a requirement for it to be considered good.


message 19: by A.G. (new) - rated it 4 stars

A.G. Claymore I saw the movie first and then went out and bought the book (since the paperback was 60% the cost of the eBook - seriously how does that make any sense?).
I worked in the intelligence community for a decade and saw a lot of changes in that time.

Hollywood had to either set the movie in period or change it dramatically to adapt it for a modern setting. Let's face it, Carlos (a real-life character) has been off the scene for a long time now so a new antagonist was needed.

Also, a prominent Canadian government official would have been no challenge at all for a modern collection and analysis cell to track. The movie version of Marie was an excellent substitution. She needed to be an off -the-grid kind of character.


Christian Eric wrote: "I thought it was a great adaptation. But I'm one of those who thinks that people who want to adapt a movie need to read the source material, then ditch it and write the movie in their own words. ..."
And if they have gone so far why not give it a original title too? Honestly if I make a movie adaption of a book I want to cover the spirit and story of the book. Making a totally independent version only using a minimum of the content such as the names of the heroes, appear to me like "let's make a spy movie, and to save money on the PR let's name it after a fairly well known book".


Claire I loved the Bourne trilogy and they were my first venture in to Ludlum's library of novels. The creation of Jason Bourne was completely original and whilst they did drag in some parts, as spy novels/thrillers they will go down in history as some of the best.

As for the films, I can only think that Ludlum will be turning in his grave at how they have destroyed and decimated the plots and characters. The only saving grace about the films is Matt Damon who's fantastic, and not bad to look at either.


message 22: by Eric (new) - rated it 3 stars

Eric Christian wrote: And if they have gone so far why not give it a original title too? Honestly if I make a movie adaption of a book I want to cover the spirit and story of the book. Making a totally independent version only using a minimum of the content such as the names of the heroes, appear to me like "let's make a spy movie, and to save money on the PR let's name it after a fairly well known book".
They could have done that. Many Philip K Dick adaptations have different titles. It's a producer/marketing decision.

@Claire: Ludlum's corpse should be happy his work is getting attention after the Cold War. And it's not like the studio went back and had the books rewritten, which would be a tragedy. If you want to enjoy them again, they're there.


message 23: by Jack (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jack Silkstone I've released a short film adaption of my PRIMAL concept on you tube. Unfortunatly I don't have the budget of a Bourne flick. However, I think we did pretty good on a shoe string budget. Let me know what you think.

http://youtu.be/Cl9-HtQPwQw

Jack


Richard “I've released a short film adaption of my PRIMAL concept on YouTube.”

Pretty good movie short Jack and I would be interested in seeing a full length movie. But I have to ask what; if anything does this film have to do with the Bourne Identity book/movies?

If the answer is nothing, then you probably should have created a new discussion topic if you want to highlight your film as your comment will probably get lost in this topic.


Richard Eric wrote: "@Claire: Ludlum's corpse should be happy his work is getting attention after the Cold War. And it's not like the studio went back and had the books rewritten, which would be a tragedy. If you want to enjoy them again, they're there."

Eric, your comments about Ludlum's corpse are a bit cold as you have no idea if he would be happy or not about his work being changed by the studio. And while I don't believe the studio published the movies in book form; they did do a massive re-write of the story line.

This is why Claire, others and myself in many ways disliked the movies. They were good but they were the Bourne Identity in name only! BTW: Your end comment to Claire was a bit sarcastic.


message 26: by Thorson (last edited Oct 09, 2011 10:36AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Thorson May contain spoilers.
One thing I did not particular enjoy about the books vs. the movie was the vilification of the United States Government. Where as the books seemed to be altruistic in nature, Jason Bourne had 'stolen' the Carlos the Jackal kill credits in order to flush him out, the movie makes Jason into a cold blooded assassin. The movie version, he was a soldier who had the opportunity to become better at killing and he took it. The book version his motives in 'becoming' Bourne were based on the loss of his family and the desire to cease the operations of an assassination network.


Lewis Weinstein I think the opening of The Bourne Identity is one of the best first scenes I've ever read.


Emtee Brian wrote: "There's a reason why the movie was so different from the book: People don't like boring movies.

Could you imagine people sitting still for a 10-minute explanation on what a fiche is and how it wor..."


I have to agree with Lew. I watched the movies. I love them. Good clean fun.

And if I wanted to read a 10-minute explanation on what a fiche is... I'd read Anne Rice.


Keith just finished bourne supremacy found it hard going sometimes n about 100 pages to long , a bit of light reading i thgink now


Emtee I can get pretty ridiculous. Why watch movies at all? Like all those stars could actually do any of the crap they show on the big screen. But it's called acting. You do realize, don't you... that even the porn you watch is fake? AND they don't even care about accuracy? Yet, you probably watch that one movie over and over again. Ridiculous.


message 31: by David (new) - added it

David I realise I'm swimming against the tide here, but I actually preferred the movie over the book (which, for me, is pretty rare)


Emtee David wrote: "I realise I'm swimming against the tide here, but I actually preferred the movie over the book (which, for me, is pretty rare)"

Not at all. I find that as long as I hadn't read the book right before the movie came out, I can keep the book and movie separate and enjoy both for what they are. If I see the movie first and I enjoy it, I'll seek out the book to read. At this point, the book only adds to the movie experience because it can give you so much more in scenes or insight to a particular character.


message 33: by Roger (last edited Nov 14, 2011 05:05PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Roger Weston I read the book several years before the movie came out, and I thought it was excellent. Then I saw the old verion of the movie and liked it. When the new movie came out, I thought it was pretty good too. I don't think I compare the books and movies unless one of them is a disappointment. For me, they were all good and stood alone.

Roger Weston, author of The Golden Catch


Susie Bradley I'm of two minds on this one. I love the book series.
I also love the movies.
However, I have to tell myself that the movie is only LOOSELY based on the books.


SPOILER ALERT!

If you read the books, Marie doesn't die, but she does in the movies.

As long as I keep them separate, I love them both.


message 35: by Jim (last edited Nov 14, 2011 12:21PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jim O'brien Just gonna add my two cents here. The Bourne Identity is one of the best books I've ever read, period. Original, descriptive, great characters, and although somewhat of a complex plot, easy to follow. The fact that the movie, leaves out over 50% of the story line is rediculous. Ludlum's estate should sue who ever decided to destroy his his story, and ultimately the character of Jason Bourne by making such a shallow, crappy movie!!!


Emtee They always have to leave things out of the movies. There is no way they could put in everything... and sometimes, we are lucky if they are even close. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy left out quite a bit, but even long time Tolkien fans still loved those movies.

I enjoyed the movies.


Amicus (David Barnett) There was a more faithful TV version, starring Richard Chamberlain as Bourne. Only of the first novel, though.


Mhatchett No. The American was far worse. Far,far worse.


Amicus (David Barnett) Faithful to the book. More credible in every way.


Mhatchett Amicus wrote: "Faithful to the book. More credible in every way."

A Very Private Gentleman to the American faithful? Hmmmm. The book is poetry, the movie is boring, the character's interactions with the villagers, a cornerstone of the book, is completely ignored in the movie. But we're all entitled to our points of view.


Margaret Kenny wrote: "Really, there is zero hyperbole in that statement. God watching that movie after reading that book was the worst f'ing experience. Why doesn't the director just remake the Godfather and have Fred..."

agreed!


Margaret Alice wrote: "I read this book the year it came out. I was somewhere in my mid 20's and at that point in time, at that age, I was on the edge of my seat. Like the 'Eiger Sanction', it was gripping. I knew the mo..."

agreed


David Elkin The answer is the mini-series with Richard Chamberlain.

Amazon.com
Though not as briskly exciting as the 2002 theatrical release, this earlier TV adaptation of Robert Ludlum's bestseller has distinct advantages over its big-screen counterpart. It's far more loyal to Ludlum's serpentine plot, boasts greater latitude of geography and character development (allowing Richard Chamberlain's fine performance in the title role), and rises above TV limitations to achieve a big-budget look and feel. Suffering from amnesia and forced to piece together his past as a world-class assassin, Jason Bourne (Chamberlain) enlists the aid of a Canadian economist (Jaclyn Smith), and this pairing of '80s miniseries mainstays remains consistently intelligent, well paced, and altogether respectable. Chamberlain and Smith have adequate chemistry (albeit somewhat shallow), and their dangerous adventure--and eventual romance--is played out against a dozen European locations. Incorporating more of Ludlum's interwoven subplots, this ambitious Bourne is a globetrotter's delight, with a spy-thriller identity all its own. --Jeff Shannon

Pricey at $50 though


Richard David wrote: Though not as briskly exciting as the 2002 theatrical release, this earlier TV adaptation of Robert Ludlum's bestseller has distinct advantages over its big-screen counterpart...."

I completely agree with you David and you said it much better than I did in my September 5th posting.


David Elkin Though I would love to say I am a wordsmith, that was taken directly from the Amazon review. I thought Chamberlain did a super job in that and I loved him in Shogun. BTW, the series of books by Clavell ware just outstanding as well. I promise i won't mention Shogun again in this forum ;-)


Andrew Duff The Ludlum novels were superb but of their time; when adapting them twenty years on, the filmmakers faced a choice: either make a period piece or bring the story up to date. They took the character and the premise and the bones of the story, and went from there. Absolutely the right decision, in my opinion.

As to leaving stuff out - you can't tell the story of a 120,000 word novel in 100 minutes. That's what adaptation is all about - taking the best bits and fashioning something that will work in a different medium.

The Doug Liman/Tony Gilroy/Matt Damon take on The Bourne Identity is a pitch-perfect action thriller, one of the best of the last decade. The books should be considered as separate entities.


Richard Andrew wrote: "The Ludlum novels were superb but of their time; when adapting them twenty years on, the filmmakers faced a choice: either make a period piece or bring the story up to date."

I partially agree with your comments Andrew. It's rare for a movie to take a book of this size and not leave out parts of it when adapting it into a good film. I also have no problem in updating the story into present time.

However, this isn't what happens. Yes, the character name was used but the premise/bones of the story were vastly changed. It went from a drama/thriller of one man’s battle of wits, skill and courage against a terrorist to a standard action story of a highly skilled man versus the evil CIA. The supporting characters from the book are changed so much that they are not recognizable.

Of course this sort of adaption changes happens very often in Hollywood. They keep the book title as a hook to draw in the fan base but change the story to bring in the biggest crowd possible. From a bottom line money standpoint that’s fine and movies were good action films. But the story’s true integrity was lost and therefore ends being a poor adaption.


Lewis Weinstein Richard wrote: Of course this sort of adaption changes happens very often in Hollywood. They keep the book title as a hook to draw in the fan base but change the story

... think "To Have and Have Not."


Jenni I watched the movies first and really liked them, so I decided to read the books... The books were AMAZING! I loved them a lot, granted I think that once Ludlum died they ought to have ended. Although, Van Lustbader does a fine enough job. I think he's just milking them a bit too much considering Bourne is leaping from cars and doing all sorts of crazy stuff in his late fifties... he's getting old, Van Lustbader needs to let him retire for the sake of Ludlum's Bourne's memory. I got really peeved when I watched the movies again after reading the books because NOTHING was the same, even the villian and plot were different... :/


message 50: by Devan (last edited Feb 18, 2012 08:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Devan Sipher Andrew wrote: The Doug Liman/Tony Gilroy/Matt Damon take on The Bourne Identity is a pitch-perfect action thriller, one of the best of the last decade. The books should be considered as separate entities.

I completely agree. It's a little confusing and perhaps even disappointing. But they're two separate creations. The movie is a top-rate action film (which is unfortunately rare). However, the book may be the best spy thriller ever written. I read it years ago, and I'm still in awe.


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