The Tree

I just read this wonderful autobiographical book by John Fowles who perhaps might be better known for his novel The French Lieutenant’s Woman. It is essentially a series of his recollections of his childhood and his work as a writer. He also went at great lengths to discuss how nature, especially the tree, should be perceived from a human point of view. The language he uses here is brilliant and profound, yet precise enough for the reader to comprehend his points.

One thing that struck me most is how Fowles sees nature as a science as well as an art. He believes that the heart of nature lies in our personal nature and its relationship to other nature. Nature is never a collection of items outside us. He also points out that understanding nature cannot be done through painting, photography, words or even science which are inferior substitutes. He wrapped up his unique discussion quite aptly when he mentioned that the two natures, human and non-human, cannot be separated.

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Published in: on Friday, October 31, 2008 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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forget Bond, get Bourne!

took some time off in the afternoon to catch a movie with Jennifer after a major national oral examination. ever since Faith came to this world, both of us rarely have the chance to go to the cinemas, something we used to do a lot.

after watching Jason Bourne‘s first two stories, The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy, in 2002 and 2004 respectively, we had to catch only one movie this time round – The Bourne Ultimatum.

The Bourne Ultimatum

we are not suckers for sequels. in fact, we know that most sequels are badly done. but we both enjoyed Matt Damon‘s portrayal of an amnesiac killer thoroughly in the first two movies, and somehow had ‘fallen in love’ with this character and his story. we could have waited for the release of the dvd, but watching an action movie on a cinema screen is really different, as some of you might agree.

the result? this is probably the best Bourne movie thus far.

i used to like James Bond when i was a kid – i was impressed by the gadgets, the ladies and the suave and good looks of agent 007. but after a series of bad Bond movies the last ten years (i suspect a certain Mr Brosnan is to be blamed), i know i’ll never be foolish enough to fall for Mr Bond and his stories again. Comparing Bond with Bourne is a complete insult to the latter. Bourne is THE SPY!

for those of you who are familiar with Jason Bourne’s story, you would agree that he’s a much more likeable protagonist than 007. Bourne is more human than Bond. he gets hurt, he suffers much, he has emotions and he has feelings. Bond? nah. for those who are not in the know, here goes:

The Bourne Identity – Jason Bourne was a superspy sent to assassinate this African political figure. but he failed his mission and was shot before falling into the sea. he woke up and realised he couldn’t remember anything about himself. but he could still know how to fight and behave like a superspy. his nasty bosses tracked him down and wanted to terminate him. he ended up with a German girl somewhere in Greece after escaping from all the dangers.

The Bourne Supremacy – Jason was still having nightmares of who he really was. apparently he and his girlfriend had moved to India. but sadly, his nasty bosses were still after him. they got one guy to hunt him down. the killer failed, but not before he killed Jason’s girl. so Jason went all out to find out who he was and who the bad guys were. like the first movie, he managed to avoid being killed.

so now, The Bourne Ultimatum – Jason was set to track the real mastermind behind who he was and what he had been trained for. he……go watch it yourself.

what’s so good about the third one then? the fight scenes and the car-chasing and running sequences are all deliberately done with much choppiness. it might look confusing on screen, but i think there’s a sense of realism here. these intentional action sequences make the story so real, so personal. it’s like you can almost feel the pain when Bourne gets hit or when the car flips violently while he holds onto the seatbelt. though some would find it incredible that he can survive all these with relative ease.

this movie isn’t just about actions. you can see how intelligent people are here, especially Bourne. in fact he’s super intelligent. his quick thinking and instant solutions make you wonder why bother sending our kids to school – we should send them to NSA instead. there’s also the constant emotional struggle that Bourne faces. despite his invincibility, he’s not a happy man. he’s someone who’s confused and you can almost cry with him at times because you know his plight, empathise with him and hope that things would turn out well for him.

by the time the story folds at the end, you have this feeling that Jason Bourne could be a real person in this world. credit must go to the entire cast and crew of the movie, especially Paul Greengrass, whose directing blends in well with his storytelling, and Matt Damon, whose eyes and expressions speak much for the tortured soul of his character. for the record, Damon comes out tops in a Forbes list of the most bankable Hollywood actors. i think he’s been underrated for a while now. i’m happy for him.

and of course, there’s this classic Bourne movie track, Extreme Ways by Moby.

i’m a wee bit messy in my ranting here, but my ultimate point is that the Bourne movies are definitely way more meaningful than the Bond movies. go watch Jason then.

am i making sense? time for bed.

Published in: on Friday, August 17, 2007 at 1:08 am  Comments (3)  
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