Saturday, June 07, 2008
Written by Pollo Misterioso
Like teleportation, we are thrown into Jumper with a “whoosh” of information and left a little bit shaken. Unfortunately, the rest of the film never really regains a firm footing.
Based on a novel by science-fiction writer Steven Gould, Jumper, directed by Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) introduces us to the life of David Rice (Hayden Christensen), a teleporter, or jumper, who must try to survive in a world where he is being hunted by paladins, i.e. people that kill jumpers.
Before credits are rolled, an older David tells us of his past and his first encounter with teleportation. During a near fatal accident, he teleports himself to his town library and realizes that this secret cannot be told to anyone, so he leaves. Years later, David is living in a beautiful apartment in New York City, where he can be anywhere in the world. When he journeys home and meets up with his childhood sweetheart Millie (Anna Sophia Robb) whom he takes on a trip to Rome, he gets himself in trouble with another jumper and the paladins, headed by Roland played by Samuel L. Jackson.
David is a stubborn and pompous young man. It is very hard to like a character that lives a life so privileged without consequences and who doesn’t seem to care about anyone else but himself. In fact, when Millie is re-introduced into his life, she asks no questions of where he has been, but falls in love with him anyway.
The fight becomes part of a war between good and evil, right and wrong. But Roland wants to kill David just for being different; David has only committed small crimes, not worthy of a death sentence. There is never an explanation of why he is being hunted. Roland has an intense hatred of jumpers and puts himself in a position to restore morality and normalcy to humanity. Apparently, jumpers take advantage of a normal society, but they have supernatural powers, why not use them?
The fantasy of this film is incredible. David moves from London to Rome to Egypt in a way that is pleasing and fun to watch. But these escapist moments are overdone and become meaningless once they are repeated so many times.
Even with beautiful CGI techniques and awesome action scenes, the story is so loosely put together that it becomes more unbelievable than its premise. There are holes in the back-stories and no development within the characters, so the jumping becomes the most interesting thing to watch. Whoosh.
With the idea of unlimited travel and hints of paranoia and discrimination Jumper should make for an awesome sci-fi action film, but it travels as fast as David, and not all of us can catch up.
The DVD extras on “Jumper” include commentary by the director and producers along with deleted scenes. But there are many extras that one should take a look at if they wanted more from the film. These include “Making an Actor Jump” which explains how they figured out to teleport someone. This is very helpful and interesting for anyone that wants to know more about the techniques used in action films.