Movie Review: Jumper – Starring Hayden Christensen & Samuel L. Jackson

by Jason of New Movie Friday on February 15, 2008

in Movie Reviews

The Movie is Based on Jumper: A NovelMovie: Jumper (PG-13)
Released: February 14th, 2008
Watched: February 15th, 2008
Runtime: 1 hr. 30 min.
Ticket Price: $7.50 Matinee
Refreshments: None
Starring: Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Bilson & Diane Lane
Director: Doug Liman

Rating: Wait for the Rental, if Not Longer

Synopsis: A kid, whose mother left when he was five, grows up with an abusive father. One day during high school he gets trapped under the ice, when he falls through a frozen lake and teleports himself to the city library to escape. He decides to leave town and moves to New York. He grows up there thinking he is the only one that can do what he does, but there are people tracking his kind and he is not alone. Once he pops up on their radar, the girl he loves ends up in danger. He does whatever it takes to save her from those that will use anyone and anything to kill him for what he is.

Review: Jumper’s tagline says, “Anywhere is possible.” Too bad they didn’t go someplace then, as the film goes absolutely nowhere. Actually, there is just no there, there. It’s all sizzle, read special f/x, and no steak, read story. Given the 90-minute runtime, there was plenty of opportunity to add some heft, or some depth, to what is an interesting premise, without making the movie too long.

Jumper is based on the Steven Gould novel of the same name. Yet, the synopsis of the novel sounds infinitely better than what we get here. There is an actual story behind the coolness of being able to teleport wherever you want. Another character in the movie comes from his third book in this series, Jumper: Griffin’s Story, which seems to have been written especially as a prequel to the movie.

Director Doug Liman helmed the first and third movies in the Bourne Trilogy and has brought that style to Jumper, like the music at end of the movie sounds nearly the same. Unfortunately, he left all the substance behind. This movie ranks closer to Mr. & Mrs. Smith, also directed by Liman, on the lack of depth meter, but that movie shines brighter on its star power alone.

More time was needed to develop the main character of David Rice, played by Hayden Christensen (Factory Girl, Star Wars: Episode II & III). Why more movies can’t introduce the hero like was done in the first Spider-Man movie, I don’t know. Give us a character to care about, not a six-minute voiceover that rushes us into the action.

Speaking of needing more development, how about giving us a bit more about Griffin, played by Jaime Bell (Flags of Our Fathers, King Kong). What’s his story, I guess you have to read the book.

And, while we’re on the subject of needing more, how about a bit more of why there is a group tracking and killing their kind. How about something, anything, as to why Roland, a member of that group, played by Samuel L. Jackson (Snakes on a Plane, Coach Carter), is so hell bent on putting an end to them.

If this was an attempt at kicking off a new series of Jumper movies, it doesn’t do a very good job. In a movie series, each individual movie should be able to stand on its own, while moving the overall story along. Yet, so much is glossed over or left out of this possible first installment that it’s as wobbly as Bambi trying to walk on the frozen pond. Although, given that, maybe they should make a sequel, cause there sure is plenty of untold story left to fill it with.

At any rate, if you are thinking of going to see Jumper, you should probably just wait for the rental, if not longer. The special f/x are pretty good, but not good enough to overcome its other faults and make it a worthwhile experience to see it on the big screen.

What did you think of Jumper?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 patrick February 19, 2008 at 12:06 pm

The filming style of Jumper made me feel like i myself was jumping around, so that was good, also Christensen’s lines were as short as possible, which was ideal for the movie’s overall quality.

2 Hunnybee January 12, 2009 at 12:31 am

I loved this movie. I agree there could’ve been more character development. I’m hoping that with Griffin’s story, they will examine that more. It’s a cool concept if they elaborated on it more.

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