As I was cruising through the book section of Felton’s local thrift store last week I came across Robert Ludlum’s “The Bourne Identity.” Being one of those people who like to read the book either before or after seeing the movie I decided to by it. I was a mere 100 pages into this 575 page novel when I concluded that the MOVIE IS NOTHING LIKE THE BOOK. Did the screenwriter read anything past the story synopsis on the first page?
I have this theory that some movies are “based on” books and some are “inspired by” books, or historical events. Movies based on books are defined as being relatively true to the plot and characters of the book, but do have changes deemed necessary by somebody. Movies inspired by the book retain the title and the main characters names, but not much else. The Matt Damon version of The Bourne Identity most definitely falls into the “inspired by” category.
For one thing, I’m 300 pages into the book and there has not been a single car chase. Granted, the car chases in the movie pretty much rock, but still. Also there are NO similarities to the movie Treadstone and the book Treadstone. Treadstone isn’t trying to kill Jason, they are trying to help him complete his mission which is to lay a trap for the world’s most notorious assassin, Carlos. In the movie Carlos is killed off in the first couple of minutes. In the books he continues into The Bourne Supremecy and his dearest desire is the kill Jason, aka Cain. And the character Marie in the movie has no comparison to the book Marie. Marie St. Jacques in the book has advanced degrees in economics from 3 universities including Oxford and works for the Canadian government. Her experience in the financial underworld of various governments and her connections are a great help to Jason.
It really annoys me when screenwriters and directors take an interesting and complex story and dumb it down until it is unrecognizable. It’s an insult the many hours that the author put in to create the story. Hopefully, Mr. Ludlum was paid well.