Movie Mind Says:  Add to Online Rental List

If You Like This You Should Watch:  The Bourne Identity, X-Men
Better Than:  Unbreakable
Worse Than:  The Matrix

Jumper

Starring: Hayden Christensen, Samuel L. Jackson, Rachel Bilson

The Movie Mind is by no stretch a Sci-Fi freak or any kind of superhero or comic book guru. What I do know is movies and whether or not they are entertaining. Jumper definitely fits the bill as worth your time and is an intriguing film that could have been a great one if not for some medium-sized defects. Nevertheless, it is a nice flick that should keep your attention from “jumping” all over the place.

An interesting concept that takes teleporting to the next level, there are some nice twists in this standard super-power adaptation. For once, the people with superpowers are not heroes and do not use these abilities to save the world. They are also not villains that try and take over the universe. Instead they walk a thin line between what any average person would do given this superhuman ability. We find the ability to imagine what their world is like, even if there are some perils that go along with it.

Hayden Christensen is David Rice, a kid who suddenly finds out he has an amazing power to teleport into any other place he has been to before. His mother left him and his dad doesn’t understand him but he now has this amazing ability to be anywhere and everywhere he wants. He takes uses these powers much the same as most normal people would: exploring the world, jumping all over the earth, and “borrowing” some money (technically he steals it but leaves I.O.U’s at each place) from a couple of banks to support his newfound lifestyle. He has everything: girls, money, the ability to see the whole world, yet he soon finds out that there are some out there who resent his powers.

The film does a great job of not turning this into a slick sci-fi very heavy on special effects. Obviously the “teleporting” needed to be done via CGI but other than that the film stayed fairly true to the natural elements. It definitely felt less computerized than The Matrix, but it also left out a few loops in the story which kept it from being on the same level.

We are introduced to Roland, played by Sammy L., who is a paladin and leader of a group whose intentions is to kill all jumpers. We are told that paladins are a religious fanatic group who believe that “only God should have the power to be everywhere at once”, but we are told little else about why they really want all the jumpers dead. Instead they chase them relentlessly and attempt to trap them with electricity since this is the only thing that removes the jumpers’ powers to teleport. However these paladins are mere humans so one has to wonder why the jumpers do not just eliminate them all with any conventional weapon of their choosing. When Rice is introduced to Griffin (Jamie Bell), a fellow jumper who has been fighting the paladins for his whole life, we are told there has been a war for centuries between these two groups. Unfortunately that is all the detail we get when it comes to this long-standing “war”. On top of that, it looks as if there are only the two jumpers fighting all these paladins. It would have been nice to have been introduced to some of the other members in this “war”. We are also told by Sammy L. that the reason he wants to kill all of the jumpers is because they all “go bad”. Once again there is nothing to show or back this up. We are left wondering who the bad guys really are in this ongoing battle.

Christensen’s performance is merely ok and at times he is statuesque. The film would have benefited from a more dynamic leading man. There is a plot background involving Rice’s mother which just serves as a distraction and could have been eliminated in favor of  deeper explanation of the fight between the paladins and jumpers. If the writers developed this conflict more the film could have been something special. Unfortunately, without that it just ends up as a nice twist on the traditional superhero movies. They missed a golden chance here which I find disappointing.
Submitted 7-2-08

Interesting Cameo Appearance:  Diane Lane (the Oscar nominated actress who has starred in Unfaithful and The Perfect Storm) as Mary Rice, mother of Jumper, David Rice, who is stuck in a moral conundrum due to her son’s life.

Memorable Quotes:
Roland:
Only God should have this power.

Millie: If you don’t want to tell me everything, that’s fine. Just don’t lie to me.

Griffin: Paladins kill Jumpers, I kill Paladins, class dismissed.

Roland: You think it could go on like this forever? Living like this with no consequences? There are always consequences!

Roland: What I’d like to know is how you rob a bank without opening any doors.

Davey: Why are you walking?
Griffin: I like to walk for a change. Makes me feel normal.

Davey: Let me tell you about my day so far. Coffee in Paris, surfed the Maldives. Took a little nap on Mount Kilimanjaro. Oh yeah, and I got digits from this Polish chick in Rijo. And then I jumped back for the final quarter of the NBA finals. Court side, of course. And all that was before lunch.

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