David Rice (Hayden Christensen) always believed he was perfectly ordinary --- until he accidentally discovered he possessed an extraordinary "talent". David is a "jumper" who can teleport himself to the streets of New York and Tokyo, the ruins of Rome, and the summit of Mt. Everest. He can see twenty sunsets in one night, whisk his girlfriend Millie (Rachel Bilson) around the world in the blink of an eye, and grab millions of dollars in a matter of minutes. But David's travels take a deadly turn when he finds himself relentlessly pursued by a secret organization led by Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) sworn to kill "jumpers". Forming an uneasy alliance with veteran Jumper Griffin (Jamie Bell), David becomes a key player in a war that has been raging for thousands of years.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Essentially a sci-fi chase movie, Jumper is burdened with a premise that seems silly - but I admit I haven't read the novel, which may better present the notion of Jumpers v Paladins locked in eternal combat. Jumpers are to all intents and purposes human but with the ability to instantly teleport to somewhere else. Paladins hate them and chase them; head Paladin Roland (Samuel L. Jackson) lugs around a large box of a gizmo that detects Jumpers and creates wormholes so he and his men can follow.
The film promises to at least deliver some eye candy in the SFX department, but what can you do with teleportation? One second he's here, next he's on the top of a pyramid. Just a sound FX and a little blur is all you need ... In the context of action, the SFX are equally underwhelming, with lots of noise and blur but little visual satisfaction. The plot is simply the chase, in which the essential element of a good, solid rationale is missing.
If it all seems rather pointless, it is made worse by a camera technique that supersedes hand-held; it's what I call hand-to-hand, in which a couple of cameramen throw the small camera back and forth in the midst of the action while it is recording. The result is a blurry patchwork of images that suggests that Something Bad is Happening. Excuse my sarcasm, but the effect is so un-cinematic as to invite ridicule.
Hayden Christensen is acceptable as the often hapless hero David, Rachel Bilson is fine in the frightened girlfriend role, Jackson is a bit clichéd as the baddie, but it's Jamie Bell who steals the film and makes it worth sitting through the boring bits. His characterisation is effortless, complex and entertaining.
The unedifying ending, involving David's mother (Diane Lane) doesn't add anything to the film's value, either.
DVD special features include director's commentary and a behind the scenes featurette.
Published July 3, 2008
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JUMPER: DVD (M)
CAST: Hayden Christensen, Rachel Bilson, Jamie Bell, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Lane
PRODUCER: Lucas Foster, Simon Kinberg, Jay Sanders
DIRECTOR: Doug Liman
SCRIPT: David Goyer, Jim Uhls, Simon Kinberg (novel by Steven Gould)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Barry Peterson
EDITOR: Saar Klein, Dean Zimmerman, Don Zimmerman
MUSIC: John Powell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Oliver Scholl
RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 14, 2008
SPECIAL FEATURES: Director's Commentary; behind the scenes
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
DVD RELEASE: July 2, 2008
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.