DVD Review: Jumper
Release Date: June 10, 2008
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
· Doug Liman
· Hayden Christensen
· Samuel L. Jackson
· Jamie Bell
· Rachel Bilson
· IMDb: Jumper
by Alex Keen
Published: June 9, 2008
I popped in the DVD for "Jumper" expecting to be disappointed. Despite some flawed logic, problematic continuity, and non-existent resolution, I wound up entertained. This is a perfect example of a mid-budget sci-fi flick that should entertain teens and lazy TBS watchers on a Saturday afternoon.
Starring Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Bell, and Rachel Bilson, "Jumper" tells the story of a twenty-something with the ability to teleport. David Rice, played by Christensen, lives a lavish life sneaking into banks, borrowing their money, and eating food on top of the sphinx. Pretty cool life, huh? No worries, just spending someone's money, seeing the globe, and hitting on chicks. Too bad that a) he's not the only jumper and b) not everyone likes the jumpers. Samuel L. Jackson plays Roland, a jumper out to take down David like he's Darth Vader gone AWOL. Combat and teleportation ensues.
The concept for this story is an interesting one and was worth exploring. Special effects have progressed far enough that super hero like abilities are visually believable (as was proven in "X-Men"). The effects in "Jumper" are the biggest of deal in this movie and they work convincingly. While there are some interesting challenges when designing the physics of teleportation , "Jumper" does a good job of defining what is and isn't possible. There definitely are some problems if you want to delve that deep - for example, how come David never accidentally teleported into the same space as someone or something. However, this movie isn't really meant to be an intelligent discussion of the physics of the space-time continuum. Suspend your disbelief when watching.
Another one of the aspects that I really enjoyed was the appearance of actual places. For the most part, when the characters are in a specific location, they are there. I've never had the opportunity to see the Colosseum... and they jumped there. I've never seen the Sphinx or the Pyramids... and they jumped there. The actual places, not CGI (I'm looking at you, "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull").
Regarding the performances, "Jumper" is a mixed bag. Christensen is a decent lead and doesn't do much to hurt the movie. He is far from his excellent work in "Shattered Glass" but avoids the whiny crap he showed us in "Star Wars".
Sam Jackson doesn't seem to really care much. Either that, or he loves to overact so much that every role he has is an exercise in silliness. He is quickly becoming the second coming of Al Pacino. An actor who broke through with some incredible work and is pretty much coasting from pay check to pay check. Jackson portrays an adequate villain but not enough to really make David's life appear in jeopardy.
The best performance here is brought to life by Jamie Bell. Bell plays the sidekick to David, Griffin. He's smart, complex, and funny. Bell adds a lot of attitude and justifies being added to the original story (according to the DVD extras, Griffin was not originally in the book). Bell proves that he deserves more plum roles in Hollywood and provides just the right amount of spark to this effects-laden movie.
Rachel Bilson doesn't have a whole lot to do here. She has a couple moments of humor but not enough to really help. She's pretty much here for a momentary glimpse of skin and to attract fans of the O.C. Mentions in the extra features makes it sound like Bilson would have a bigger part in a sequel.
The big problem that "Jumper" suffers from is a lack of resolution. By making the movie the beginning of a series it has on a middling conclusion. I think that decision was the wrong one to make, especially considering that they weren't filming the second movie. Nor am I convinced that will ever happen. Perhaps it will be straight to video. The ending was a let down and brought a B+ piece of fluff down to high C. When none of the characters change, is it really worth watching?
Special features are above average with several decent featurettes, a bunch of interesting deleted scenes, and a commentary that was slightly repetitive. From the commentary you get the idea that the filmmakers spent more time figuring out how teleportation worked instead of how to make the story work. Still some fascinating stuff (hence the higher overall grade).