Driver's EDitorial #12: Paul Greengrass Leaving Bourne is a Good Thing
by: Brad Sturdivant
Our Driver’s EDitorial is a weekly column designed to express our opinion on something going on in Hollywood today. Sometimes we whine and complain about something we wish was different, other times we heap praise on the system for getting it right.
When news broke that Paul Greengrass was leaving the fourth Bourne film, I let out a sigh of relief. I know I’m in the minority when it comes to Greengrass and his directing, but his departure from the franchise is a good thing for everyone involved. Bourne needs something new and the last thing we need is another I-can’t-remember-who-I-am spy movie with a director that can’t go two seconds without cutting.
With that said, let me also state that I actually really like all of the Bourne films. The first one is still my favorite, but two and three are great films as well. Greengrass’s directing was a welcomed addition to the franchise in the second one and gave the series a very cool style. The third one was also a good film (maybe even better), but the directing became more of a headache and the differences between two and three are very minimal. You could splice them together and most people couldn’t tell you where one started and the other began; which is exactly why we need something different.
Greengrass had his time and did wonders with the two films. But if he continues to direct these films, the Bourne franchise is going to get stale and boring. We already have a spy franchise that repeats the same thing over and over, Jason Bourne needs to be the spy that only appears in original, quality films. But there seems to be an overly dramatic outrage over Greengrass leaving the franchise and people have to understand that you can’t have the same director every time for a series of movies. Heck, even the Harry Potter films have different directors. All franchises need a jump start now and again and in this case, a new director is exactly what Bourne needs.
So if not Greengrass, who? I think Bourne needs to go darker and grittier than in previous films. I’m thinking someone like Joe Carnahan (NARC) would be a great fit. Send Bourne on some type of undercover mission and put him in some tough situations. He needs a purpose and a mission next time around. I’m sick of seeing him trying to find the people that “created” him and even more tired of seeing him try to run from those same people. That whole chapter should be over and now we need him to have some sort of purpose.
I don’t want this to sound like I’m bashing Paul Greengrass, because that’s definitely not what I’m trying to do. But I will say that he’s not universally loved to the degree that, say Christopher Nolan is with the Batman franchise. Switching directors after three movies would be a good thing in this case. A lot of people were turned off by Greengrass’s style and a new director could bring in some new fans. It’s tough to keep franchises going strong (as Sam Raimi is about to find out) and Bourne is one of my favorites. I just want to see them continue the story well and give it the creativity it deserves.