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The Bourne Supremacy
Composed, Programmed, Arranged, and Produced by:
John Powell

Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
July 27th, 2004

Also See:
The Bourne Identity
The Bourne Ultimatum
The Bourne Legacy

Audio Clips:
1. Goa (0:34):
WMA (220K)  MP3 (274K)
Real Audio (171K)

2. The Drop (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

8. Berlin Foot Chase (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

12. Atonement (0:24):
WMA (159K)  MP3 (195K)
Real Audio (121K)

Regular U.S. release.


The Bourne Supremacy

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Buy it... if you seek a more focused and sophisticated version of John Powell's music for The Bourne Identity, with fewer erratic and obnoxious synthetic sequences distracting from the narrative flow.

Avoid it... if you appreciate the raw, slashing action tone of the preceding score in the franchise and find the hints of warmer character development in the sequel's music to distract from the mood that you seek from Powell's otherwise harsh ostinato motifs.

The Bourne Supremacy: (John Powell) The film adaptation of the Jason Bourne road to self-discovery does well in what it intends to do: show one ingenious character avoid death countless times in situations that defy every reasonable boundary of logic. Bourne does this in many of the similarly technically gifted ways as James Bond, and with the success of both The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy in the mainstream, the continuation of the franchise was ensured for at least one more picture. While the plotlines of the Jason Bourne films are, once again like the Bond films, ridiculous in their relentless attempts to produce convincing assassination scenarios, The Bourne Supremacy in particular played its hand quite well with critics and audiences. Viewers may still not have known the truth about the title character or why everyone in the known universe is trying to kill him, but he is at least consistently presented to the audience with enough precision by actor Matt Damon to elevate the film to the higher qualitative regions of its own genre. Along with much of the crew and cast, composer John Powell was re-hired to continue his services for the franchise, and he was likely asked to extend the general action and suspense material from the first film into the second. Despite the 2002 movie's success, Powell's score for The Bourne Identity alone did not break much new musical ground, often degenerating into mindless noise when accompanying one of the film's many action sequences. Much of the score's content seems like leftover scraps and samples that had fallen under the table at a Media Venture feast in the early 2000's, featuring little intriguing material to identify with the character's emotional plight. A distinct lack of style (as demanded by the concept's origins) was perhaps the most awkward aspect of the score's inability to generate genuine interest. Fortunately, The Bourne Supremacy offered up a second chance for Powell to further develop his music for the character in 2004, and he did so with a few impressive revisions. Interestingly, both the character development and concentration on suspense have largely overtaken the brash, keyboard-rendered action hits (despite some reversion to obnoxious slashing for a few sequences here), and it's much easier to follow Powell's overarching thought process as the score for The Bourne Supremacy progresses. On top of that, you begin to hear the seeds of resolution in the few moments of the sequel score that expand upon the character's developing theme of peace and reflection.

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A larger orchestral ensemble is heard in The Bourne Supremacy, with a nearly full brass section accompanying the strings, electronics, and solo bassoon once again performed by Michael O'Donovan. A band-oriented percussion section is similarly offered as well for contemporary appeal, but the most emphasis of any element in The Bourne Supremacy is strongly placed on the strings. Powell had created a choppy string motif to represent Bourne's endeavors in the first film, along with a staggered and non-heroic string theme over the top of that rhythm, but much of that material was overpowered by other elements in that score. The composer does not make the same mistake in The Bourne Supremacy, allowing the strings to really represent the sophisticated side of Bourne's capabilities; they are strictly business in a rhythmic sense, never making light of Bourne's recurring ostinato motif (finally re-asserting itself by "To the Roof" and "Berlin Foot Chase"), and never extending themselves to romanticism outside of, perhaps, the final, apologetic score cue. The solo bassoon is a curious sound to serve as the identity for Bourne's internal dilemma, but Powell does faithfully present it at moderate volumes in the more reflective cues (such as "New Memories"). The full-blown action music is surprisingly minimal in The Bourne Supremacy, resorting only twice to crashing electronic mayhem and instead marching with precision in cues such as "Berlin Foot Chase," which adds a sharp piano to that primary Bourne action motif. The electric guitar causes the score to devolve slightly in "Bim Bam Smash," although Powell decently avoids the temptation to present Bourne in a "cool" fashion, only dabbling on the edge of heroism or "coolness" in the slower rhythmic sections. Both the guitar performances on the Indian beach in "Goa" (a neat twist on the secondary reflection theme) and the aforementioned rhythms in "Nach Deutschland" are a pleasant turn of events for Powell's development in the Bourne franchise. On album, Powell's music for this entry is more enjoyable than its series peers in its clarity, and the final score cue, "Atonement," begins to show a more varied and interesting side of both the film and its music. This theme of reflection doesn't receive as much forward progress in The Bourne Ultimatum as one would hope, however. The Moby song "Extreme Ways" at the end, while unrelated to the score, is a good fit with the attitude of Powell's music, slightly pained and distorted in its mix but adequately defiant and determined in tone. While Powell's work for The Bourne Supremacy may not yield any truly exquisite moments, it has more focus and sophistication than its predecessor, and it suits the film and its album well enough to satisfyingly match the title character's continuing development. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For John Powell reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.1 (in 40 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.03 (in 45,173 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 3.45 Stars
Smart Average: 3.34 Stars*
***** 393 
**** 475 
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  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   Re: Bourne Supremacy: Classical Piano Piece...
  jason bourne -- 5/24/13 (3:37 p.m.)
   It's not that bad!
  Richard Kleiner -- 11/27/10 (11:04 a.m.)
   Re: Help Me Somebody! *NM*
  nobodynone -- 8/30/07 (4:10 p.m.)
   Help Me Somebody!
  nobodynone -- 8/30/07 (3:51 p.m.)
   Another missing song?
  Carl -- 7/16/06 (3:21 p.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings: Total Time: 48:28

• 1. Goa (2:59)
• 2. The Drop (3:42)
• 3. Funeral Pyre (2:21)
• 4. Gathering Data (1:54)
• 5. Nach Deutschland (2:40)
• 6. To the Roof (5:32)
• 7. New Memories (2:48)
• 8. Berlin Foot Chase (5:16)
• 9. Alexander Platz/Abbotts Confesses (3:35)
• 10. Moscow Wind Up (6:55)
• 11. Bim Bam Smash (5:09)
• 12. Atonement (1:32)
• 13. Extreme Ways - performed by Moby (3:56)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a list of performers but no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from The Bourne Supremacy are Copyright © 2004, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 8/27/04 and last updated 9/21/11. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2004-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.