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Jumper (2008)

DVD Cover (Twentieth Century Fox)
Genres / Traits:
Sci-Fi Adventure, Science Fiction, 3-D
Director:
Doug Liman Doug Liman
Starring:
Hayden Christensen Hayden Christensen
Jamie Bell Jamie Bell
Rachel Bilson Rachel Bilson
Diane Lane Diane Lane
Samuel L. Jackson Samuel L. Jackson

5.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: February 21, 2008
You have to credit "Jumper" with being far more creative than it should have been. You also have to give it credit for being able to top the box office when just about everyone was predicting disaster. But, despite all the things "Jumper" got right - it got so much more wrong. While watching the film, I got the feeling that the idea probably worked a lot better on paper. "Hey - let's do a movie about teleporting!" Seems fun enough. And with a director like Doug Liman set to direct, it seems even better, right? Unfortunately, Doug Liman was not the man for this job. He did great with "The Bourne Identity" and "Mr. & Mrs. Smith", but he just doesn't know how to handle this material for some reason, and he's really the primary person to blame for the areas in which the film does not succeed. "Jumper" is obviously made for those audience members who don't want a single second to pass by without something happening. The film is directed at a kinetic pace, which might have worked better if it didn't seem so disjointed and uneven. It's like Doug Liman was trying to fit a three hour film into an eight-five minute film - and it shows. Everything is just a little too rushed.

The films stars Hayden Christensen as David Rice, who at an early age realizes he has the ability to teleport from one location to another, whether that be from the bedroom to the bathroom or from his backyard to the middle of the Egyptian desert. He can go anywhere and do anything he wants. He starts off robbing banks for funds and soon finds himself comfortable enough to settle down. As a young adult, he comes under the radar of a man named Roland (Samuel L. Jackson). Roland is a Paladin, and it is his sworn duty to kill any and all 'jumpers'. Thus begins the hunt for David, with Roland going about any means necessary to find him. Jamie Bell co-stars as Griffin, a fellow jumper who has been hunting Roland. Rachel Bilson co-stars as Millie, David's childhood sweetheart whom he tracks down years later. Most of the film deals with David on the run from Roland and trying to re-establish a relationship with the girl he left behind. Director Doug Liman uses as many exotic locations as possible for the film - some looking more authentic than others. With a budget of just at $75 million, I have a difficult time believing they found themselves in all of these locations. The teleporting comprises a good 30% of the entire film, so if that doesn't interest you, neither will the film.

What works for the film is the youthful energy with which is propels itself. Christensen hasn't been quite this likable in a while, and it goes a long way to remind us that has thrust to stardom was not undeserved. He helps to keep the film on the straight and narrow, as does a scene-chewing Samuel L. Jackson, getting to be as bad as he wants to be. The blonde hair is a bit ridiculous, but the film gives Jackson a chance to shoot some of the most insane eyebrow cocks in screen history. But, going into a film like this, you expect Jackson to be one of the high notes. Jamie Bell really is a ton of fun in his role and gets to rant and romp like never before. If there is anyone who seems a little stiff and wooden, it's Rachel Bilson as the love interest. She just seems out of place with everyone else in this picture. The teleport sequences are done rather well, and the editing techniques used in the film probably helped quite a bit with reducing the budget. The best sequence in the film would have to be the battle at Griffin's desert hide-out, with Jamie Bell's character teleporting an entire vehicle in an attempt to kill Jackson's character. Some of the battle sequences seemed too "Matrix" in nature, but most of them were entertaining enough to not slip into the realm entirely.

The biggest problem with the film is the pace. We don't get enough time to digest anything. Characters go through years in seconds, and we cut from one scene of Christensen and Bilson getting to know each other after a long hiatus to a shot of them flying through the air on their way to Europe. Not enough time is given to their relationship, most notably to the fact that no one seems even slightly bothered by the fact that this kid was perceived to be dead for all these years and then just turns up. Everyone has this, "Oh, there you are", attitude to the whole thing that I just didn't buy. I also found it implausible that, for as long as he had been jumping, no one ever saw him standing atop Big Ben and wondered, "How the hell'd he get up there?" Does no one notice a lawn chair sitting atop The Sphinx? I know this is a science fiction/fantasy picture, but you have to have some level of believability for the film to succeed, right? The most troubling aspect of the film, for me, was that the film didn't know what maturity level it was reaching. The film has a food and lighthearted surface that would easily appeal to young adults, but there is a lot of violence in the film that you don't expect, as when the Samuel L. Jackson character basically guts a jumper hanging from a tree. You don't expect something like that in a film that has been marketed to younger audiences. I guess I couldn't tell if the filmmakers were wanting to reach a youthful audience or an adult audience. They didn't toe the line correctly.

So, was I entertained by "Jumper"? Of course I was. It is an entertaining film. There's not much substance to it, but you don't really go in expecting that. Hayden Christensen entertained me far more than I expected him too, and it was quite nice to see him shirtless so much, I must say. I guess you're either going to love or hate a film like "Jumper". Most will probably hate it. I guess I was in a mood for mindless entertainment, and I expect little more than that in February anyways. My highest recommendation for the film would be that you get to see an insanely gorgeous Hayden Christensen shirtless and sweaty. Sometimes, that is enough. Most of the faults with the film can be credited to director Doug Liman. I consider this to be a miss for a director whose work has, for the most part, been above average. We all have bad days from time to time.

6/10.
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danimigra #1: danimigra - added 03/25/2008, 01:52 PM
i totally agree with you. i was expecting more than that with such a director.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 07/17/2009, 03:13 PM
6/10 is about where I would place it as well. It's a mindless, shallow flick, but entertaining enough.
Lucid Dreams #3: Lucid Dreams - added 07/11/2010, 02:31 AM
I've never really liked Darth Vader as an actor. This was pretty unique story wise, but overall it was just average. 5/10
AttnDefDis #4: AttnDefDis - added 08/04/2010, 11:02 PM
Hayden Christiansen is one of the worst actors ever. Why would anyone think to give him a lead in a movie? I guess the same person that would give Rachel Bilson a lead in a movie.
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